• Hormones and the Role They Play in Weight Loss

    on May 17th, 2018

If you’re one of the millions of Americans fighting the battle of the bulge, you’re not alone.

Over 70% of American adults are overweight or obese, and for some of these people’s diet and exercise are not enough to get the weight off.

The weight loss equation of eating less and exercising more only applies when everything else, including your hormones, is in balance. Many people who struggle with weight loss have some form of hormonal imbalance that may prove key to losing weight. If you’ve been struggling to shed extra pounds, read on to learn why your hormones -- not your willpower -- may be to blame.

Hypothyroidism

The thyroid is a small, powerful gland found at the base of your neck that controls how fast you burn calories, among other things. A healthy thyroid produces two hormones that primarily regulate energy balance. As with other hormones, you need the right balance for optimal health.

Unfortunately, an estimated 15 million Americans fail to make enough thyroid hormones, and women are more likely to have thyroid problems than men. Hypothyroidism, or too little thyroid hormones, can leave you feeling tired and can cause weight gain and make it difficult to lose weight.

Low estrogen

Women often joke that hormones make them moody, and it’s true, but estrogen influences more than mood and fertility. Estrogen influences many functions, including energy levels, and yes, even weight gain. When you think of weight loss and hormones, estrogen may not come to mind.

However, estrogen influences fat storage and carbohydrate metabolism. When levels are low, you’re less able to use carbohydrates for energy effectively, more likely to store fat, and more likely to put on weight.

When estrogen declines naturally during menopause, weight gain is a common complaint, but estrogen imbalance isn’t just a problem for women going through menopause. Levels can decline below normal during your child-bearing years as well.

Testosterone deficiency

In addition to its influence on male characteristics and fertility, testosterone affects muscle growth, energy levels, and fat storage. Overweight and obese men who have low testosterone levels can benefit from hormone replacement therapy. When levels dip, it’s no surprise that in addition to losing your vigor, you may experience weight gain or have trouble losing fat.

Replacing missing testosterone is shown to increase lean mass and reduce body fat, helping you to achieve and maintain a healthier weight.

Leptin resistance

Leptin is a helpful hormone on your weight loss journey, and certainly one you want to have on your side. It’s an appetite suppressor that helps you feel full and tells you when to stop eating. The trouble is, your body can become resistant to leptin, ignoring its signal to put down the fork.

Leptin resistance is common in people who are overweight, and the older you are, the more likely you are to have some form of resistance. Changes in diet and lifestyle factors can help improve sensitivity and rebalance leptin so that you avoid overeating and lose weight.

Elevated cortisol

Chronic stress is bad for your entire body. Not only does it wreak havoc on your immune system, it interferes with energy balance. Cortisol is a stress hormone meant to help you adapt to temporary stressors.

However, ongoing stress and a subsequent high cortisol level break down lean mass, causing your metabolism to slow down and increases fat storage, particularly in the abdominal area. High cortisol levels work against you when it comes to losing weight and make it challenging to slim down.

When you have trouble losing weight, sometimes it’s about more than dieting and exercise. Dr. Jay Amin offers a holistic approach to weight loss that takes physiological barriers to weight loss -- such as hormonal imbalance -- into consideration. He can help you lose weight through an individualized holistic plan that may include hormone replacement therapy.

For effective weight management, call our office or use our online booking form to schedule a consultation.

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