Are you having trouble with your weight, even though you’re eating healthy and exercising regularly? Your problem could be caused by a hormonal imbalance. Hormones are vital in regulating weight and are a major cause of weight gain. In this post, I’ll teach you about hormones and weight gain and describe your options, so you can decide what to do about it.
How Hormones Can Cause Weight Gain
Hormones do more than control our reproduction system or mood. They also regulate our metabolism, hunger, and control our weight. When our hormones are out of whack, it causes endless problems for us, so it’s good to keep them in check.
Hormone imbalances are often caused by certain illnesses, such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease. However, you can also have a hormone imbalance because of unhealthy lifestyle choices, genetics, and age. Hormone imbalances can cause cravings for more sugary and processed food, worsening the imbalances and increasing the chances of weight gain.
Women are more at risk for hormonal imbalances and have a greater risk of weight gain when hormone levels are off. For women, high or low estrogen and weight gain can be common. For men, low testosterone could be the problem. Sadly, there are many other hormones that give us trouble, so let’s go over a few of the more typical ones.
Insulin’s made in the pancreas and is responsible for keeping blood sugar levels regulated. When it’s released into the bloodstream, it signals the body to store sugar as fat. When your body grows resistant to insulin, you can have increased hunger and sugar cravings.
Many things can lead to insulin resistance, such as a poor diet, overconsumption of alcohol, and lack of exercise. Insulin resistance makes your body increase insulin production, leading to a rise in fat storage.
Estrogen and Weight Gain
Estrogen is commonly thought of as a female sex hormone, but it’s found in low amounts in men as well. We use it for many processes in the body, including female reproduction, maintaining bone health, and even blood sugar and circulation.
Too much estrogen, as well as too little estrogen, can cause weight gain. Estrogen and weight gain are closely linked, and improper estrogen levels have been connected to a lack of physical activity.
Progesterone helps regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle and maintain bodily functions. It balances out estrogen, helping women maintain their weight. When progesterone is low, women burn less fat, retain water, and experience more hunger and cravings. Low progesterone levels happen during menopause, times of stress, or while on birth control.
We release cortisol when we’re stressed in any way, including feeling angry or depressed, lacking sleep, or being injured. It gives us a spike in energy while also increasing food cravings. Chronic stress paired with a sedentary lifestyle can lead to excess cortisol production and weight gain.
Thyroid and Weight Gain
The thyroid is located at the base of the neck and releases the hormones, thyroxine, calcitonin, and triiodothyronine. These are responsible for body temperature and metabolism. A thyroid imbalance can cause weight gain as well as depression and fatigue.
Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, is when the thyroid doesn’t create enough hormones. An underactive thyroid can cause you to have a lower metabolism, hold onto water, and also gain weight.
Leptin and Ghrelin Hormones
Leptin tells the brain when we need to stop eating and controls our feeling of fullness. It also regulates our energy use and how much fat we store. Much like insulin, we can also develop a resistance to leptin. This can make us feel hungry all the time, even when we have enough fat stores. When leptin levels are low, our bodies will hold onto every ounce of fat, thinking it’s starving.
On the other hand, ghrelin signals when we’re hungry and increases our appetite and fat storage. When the stomach is empty, ghrelin is increased, then, after a meal is eaten, it gets reduced. Obese people reduce their ghrelin more slowly, leading to greater feelings of hunger and more weight gain.
Testosterone is generally viewed as a male sex hormone, but it’s present in women in small amounts. It helps with fat burning, muscle and bone growth, and sex drive. Insulin resistance and obesity can lead to low testosterone, which in time can increase fat storage.
Losing Weight Caused by Hormones
Hormones can have a terrible effect on our ability to lose or maintain our weight. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to treat hormonal imbalances, and some don’t even require a trip to the doctor.
Lifestyle changes you can make to help regulate your hormones include getting enough sleep, good nutrition, exercising, and reducing stress. Also, you can take steps to avoid eating too much processed food, alcohol, and sugar.
If you think hormones are the cause of your weight gain or making it harder to lose weight, talk to your doctor. They can get you tested to check your hormone levels and plan a course of action. They may prescribe you medication or hormone therapy to help you with your imbalance.
If you’re still struggling to lose weight, talking to a dietician to figure out your eating can be beneficial as well. Also, getting a routine hormone check is something worth looking into if your hormones often give you trouble.
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Hormones and Weight Gain: Summary
Hormones can cause a lot of trouble when it comes to regulating one’s weight. However, we can do a few things to help our bodies regulate themselves. The best way to treat hormonal imbalance is to lead a healthy lifestyle while paying extra attention to nutrition, stress levels, exercise, and sleep.
If you still think your hormones are wreaking havoc on your body, check with your doctor. They’ll help you find out if there’s anything wrong and what you can do to fix it.
Have you had trouble with hormones and weight gain? Were you able to find a solution? Let us know in the comments!
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