If you are doing everything right, sticking to your diet and workouts, and still not losing weight, it may not be your fault! Often, it means it’s time to see your doctor in order to find the reason your body doesn’t respond to your weight loss efforts. It is very possible that you have a hormonal imbalance, which may be impeding your ability to lose weight or shed fat. So, don’t panic, don’t stress, and don’t get down on yourself. It’s time to find out if your hormones are sabotaging your weight loss, so that you can carefully plan your next steps to a fitter, healthier you.
Are your hormones sabotaging your weight loss? It’s entirely possible, especially if you’ve been working out regularly and limiting your caloric intake, but still can’t seem to lose weight or get rid of stubborn belly fat. Only laboratory testing ordered by your doctor or healthcare provider can gauge your hormone levels and provide empirical data to help you decide on the next steps in your weight-loss journey.
What are Hormones?
Hormones are chemicals produced by your glands, and they are responsible for many of the processes that are happening inside your body. They actually tell your organs what to do, how to react and respond, trigger other chemical releases and processes as well. So, their balance is essential for your body to function correctly. Their role in the body includes regulating the digestion process, so weight loss resistance and hormones can be connected.
How Do Hormones Affect Your Weight Loss?
Just as hormones control most processes in your body, they are responsible for your digestive system as well. They tell the brain how much fat is stored in your cells or if you are hungry. Needless to say, if your hormones are not doing a good job, your body will end up working against you. That’s what is meant by your hormones sabotaging your weight loss efforts. If this is the case for you, you will need to take steps to get your fat loss and metabolic hormones under control.
There are many hormones capable of altering your appetite, weight loss, and metabolism, so this is a battle you cannot fight by yourself – you need medical assistance. This is a sensible and complex problem. For instance, there are different men’s and women’s hormones and weight gain issues at play. So, you need to clearly identify the cause and get the right treatment, which requires a doctor or healthcare professional, and often lab testing to determine hormone levels.
What are the Main Hormones that Affect Your Weight?
Weight loss would become so much easier if we could directly influence our hormones to send certain messages to the brain. We could eliminate cravings, enjoy healthy foods more, and have a faster metabolism. While that may sound like a fantasy, and isn’t currently a reality, it has given rise to much research and development. With that in mind, scientists have conducted studies to better understand how our hormones work and respond. They have identified the ones that matter the most in the digestive process. You probably haven’t heard of all of them, but they have a huge impact on your body, weight, fat, and metabolism.
|Hormone||Function||Influence on Weight Loss|
|Ghrelin||Responsible for appetite level||It makes you hungry for foods with high calories|
|Leptin||Tells the brain about your body fat percentage||It can change your metabolism due to external influences|
|Adiponectin||Controls body fat percentage, without influencing appetite||It can help boost your appetite without increasing food intake|
|Insulin||Controls how you process sugar||Insulin level can decrease body fat|
|Cortisol||Stress hormone that influences metabolism rate||High levels of cortisol can lead to excess abdominal fat|
Is It Easier for Men to Lose Weight?
It is a popular opinion that men lose weight more easily than women. We’ve all heard of women complaining that they must follow a strict diet and have frequent workouts to get results, while their husbands don’t have to make the same effort. Although that isn’t entirely true, and there’s a lot of individual variation regardless of biological sex, there is a difference between the way men and women lose weight. Therefore, it is reasonable to say there is a certain connection between female hormones and weight loss.
Men are lucky from a hormonal point of view, because they have the advantage of testosterone. Women’s bodies are adapted to sustain a pregnancy, so they have more body fat than men to begin with. Then there is the influence of estrogen, which is more inclined to help store fat than burn it, as is the case with testosterone. In general, the hormonal balance is disrupted more often in women, too. All of these factors can add up to seem like biological sex and hormones conspire against women to make it harder to lose weight.
However, while men lose weight with more ease, that’s only in the beginning. The reason is that men have more muscle tissue than women, and that helps them burn calories more easily. But after the first pounds they drop, they will face the largely the same struggles as women.
Because of this different pace of how weight loss works, weight loss programs tend to be different for men and women. Diet and workouts need to target their specific needs to get the best results. But serious, long-term weight loss is not necessarily easier or harder, overall, for men vs. women.
Can Testosterone Affect Women as Well?
When you hear the word ‘testosterone,’ the images that come to your mind are probably masculine. But this hormone is very important for women, too. Among other functions, it regulates the metabolism, so its balance is very important. In fact, it’s just as important as the estrogen level, in both sexes. Both hormones are more difficult to handle with age, and their levels naturally decrease in the body with aging. This is one of the reasons weight loss becomes more difficult as you get older.
How Can You Lose Weight with Hormone Imbalance?
If you notice that counting calories, doing frequent workouts, and overall persistence don’t help, you need to find out which of your hormones is the cause. That means laboratory testing ordered by your doctor or healthcare professional. This will help identify the levels of the various relevant hormones in your system, and allow for comparison to standard baselines, to see which are under- or over-produced and causing the problems.
Once you’ve done that, it will be easier to move forward with a weight loss plan. You may discover you need to eat fewer proteins, for instance. Or you may need medication if your problem is caused by a thyroid imbalance. It’s possible you may have to keep your insulin under control with supplements or treatments. There are a range of possibilities, and many of them can be quite minor and easy to address. In any case, you will likely need to be referred to a specialist. They will help you understand the specific way your body works and what the adjustments are you need to make.
Does Stress Cause You to Gain Weight?
In a word, yes! It’s not just an excuse for poor weight loss results. Stress and weight loss are closely related. It all comes back to hormones sabotaging your weight loss efforts. Cortisol-related weight gain problems are more common than you may think. But why does stress cause weight gain?
Stress-inducing situations will affect your hormone balance. The ‘stress hormone’ cortisol also has positive effects and important roles in your body, but the main problem is the connection between cortisol and weight gain. This hormone also affects the way your weight is distributed all over your body. In fact, people who have more abdominal fat seem to have higher levels of cortisol when they are experiencing stress. But there is no need to panic, as cortisol levels can be balanced using calming methods like mindfulness and meditation. Granted that may be easier said than done, but solutions do exist. Some medication options are also available in extreme cases.
How Can You Lose Weight When You Are Depressed?
Stress is a part of everyone’s life, and it affects each of us in different ways. But for many people, the problem is even deeper, and they face depression-related weight gain. Depression is a very serious condition, so gaining weight may not be the biggest problem that you are facing when experiencing it. However, it’s still an important aspect of depression, and plays a self-reinforcing role in a lot of people’s mental health issues. When we gain weight, our self-esteem usually suffers, and for a depressed mind that can have serious consequences.
Anxiety is another serious problem for your whole self and all aspects of your body, including your weight. Its impact can go both ways. It can lead to anxiety-related weight loss, which can trigger many health issues if it’s not resolved. There is also a strong link between anxiety and weight gain.
Depression and anxiety can make us either refuse food or have too much of it. In all cases, the solution is to find the cause for that emotional state and to try and solve it. But at the same time, fresh air and exercise are definitely going to help you feel better. Your body may fight it first, but once you get used to it, you will feel a general improvement.
Of course, all of these methods won’t resolve an underlying hormone problem, either. That’s why it’s so important to understand if hormones are sabotaging your weight loss efforts, and to seek proper medical evaluation so you can be more effective in reaching your weight loss, fitness, and health goals.
Why do I keep gaining weight?
It could be because your hormones are creating a strong resistance to weight loss. You may be doing everything right, but a hormonal imbalance is not something you can fight by yourself. So, you need to see a doctor to find out more.
Can stress make you gain weight?
It’s possible. Stress can affect your body in more ways than you realize, and your weight is one of its targets. Weight gain and weight loss from stress and related conditions are both possible, though weight gain is most common.
If you have discovered that the extra weight around your waist is linked to stress, your doctor will give you the best choices for balancing your cortisol levels. That will help you not only to lose weight, but also feel better in general.
Does growth hormone influence weight?
Yes, growth hormone is another hormone that can impact weight – specifically, it can help you to lose weight. It affects your fat cells and it boosts the fat-burning process. However, most doctors do not recommend human growth hormone injections or supplements for weight loss. What you need to do is get plenty of sleep and exercise intensely to naturally increase the level of this important hormone.
Many of us cheat during the weight loss process. Maybe we skip a workout or have one or more cheat meals and then complain we aren’t getting in shape fast enough. That’s normal, and setbacks are to be expected. But sometimes despite our efforts, the pounds just won’t go away. That is a sign that something inside our body is working against us. More often than not, that means our hormones are sabotaging our weight loss.
There are many hormones that can cause problems, and their imbalance can be caused by different things. Sex differences, diet and exercise methods, and other factors can also play a role. The bottom line is that solutions to these problems do exist, so there’s no need to get disappointed. Just find a doctor or specialist who can help you to gauge and balance your hormone levels, and you’ll be on the right track to more effective weight loss.
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