What Role Do Hormones Play In Weight Loss?

Women often joke about hormones affecting their mood at that special time of the month, but hormones do a whole lot more than just make you moody, and hormone levels can affect men too!  Hormones play a huge role in how your body functions, and can affect weight loss efforts in a big way as well.

What are hormones?

Hormones are like chemical messengers to the rest of the body and are created in the endocrine glands.  They control most major bodily functions, from things like signaling hunger, reproduction, and even emotions.  They’re a little part of the body that make a BIG impact!

When they are in proper balance, hormones help the body thrive, but small problems with hormones can cause serious symptoms.

Hormones and Weight Gain

So, what happens if you’re eating right and exercising, but you still can’t seem to lose the weight?  Boy, we know that can be extremely frustrating and most of our patients have fallen in this camp at one time or another.  The truth is, you may be doing everything that you should, but hormonal imbalances are preventing your body from responding the way it should.  If you’ve been trying to lose weight for years and continue to be unsuccessful, a look at your hormones is probably the best place to start.

That’s why hormone treatment is often a method we use at our office. If your hormones are off, then you may be making life much harder on yourself than you need to. If your hormones are off balance, then through no fault of your own, your own body is fighting your best efforts at weight loss.  When we work together to manage your hormones, we can then focus on the weight loss.

What are the main hormones that affect weight gain?

Estrogen

Estrogen is one of the more commonly known hormones and plays a huge role in female sexual characteristic.  However, an estrogen imbalance can cause a slower metabolism, which results in the body storing more fat.

Testosterone

Women need testosterone just as much as men do, they just don’t need as much.  When this hormone is at low levels women can experience weight gain and poor muscle tone, even with regular exercise.

Insulin

Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate glucose, or blood sugar, in the body.  If you are overweight, your insulin can get thrown off balance and you will have a harder time losing weight.  If you tend to eat sugary foods, you actually are keeping your insulin working overtime to clear the sugar from your blood.  What does your body do with all this extra sugar?  Stores it as fat.

Cortisol

Cortisol is known as your body’s stress hormone, and it helps your body respond to stressful situations.  However, having excess cortisol puts you at risk of heart disease, and causes you to store visceral fat around your internal organs, which often presents itself as excess belly fat.

Leptin

Leptin is produced by our body’s fat cells and it’s job is to tell the hypothalamus in the brain that we’re full.  However, if you have too much leptin in the body, you can become leptin resistant, making it difficult to tell when you’re full.  Our modern diet is full of fructose, which can lead to an increase of fat and therefore leptin.  It’s a vicious cycle!

So what does this mean when you work with someone like us?

Well, for starters, you may start off feeling like we’re doing a lot of other stuff that no trainer or diet coach has ever done.  But, let me tell you… This is the most important part!  We start with extensive blood tests based on your specific situation.  The blood tests can tell us valuable information about hormone levels and deficiencies, among other things.  Once we know if we’re working with any hormone imbalances, we can formulate a game plan.  It’s not worth your time, or ours, to focus on weight loss if your hormones are out of balance.