What’s The Connection Between Hormones & Weight Loss?

Hormones & Weight Loss:   What the Pros Are Saying

medical weight loss denverIt seems every day now that a new diet is introduced to the market. Many people are turning to extreme dieting and exercising to answer their weight loss prayers and aren’t seeing results. They should know, however, there are real solutions out there. Top medical professionals believe that hormones do indeed affect weight loss, and that a combination of monitored weight loss medication, such as Phentermine, and proper hormonal balance is the solution many wish they would have found years ago.

The Problematic Hormones:

Insulin: The glucose regulator. However, if your body isn’t regulating glucose the way it should be (due to extra fat around your organs) your body will have to work twice as hard just to keep the excess sugar from your blood. And when it can’t? The extra sugar will be stored as fat.

Leptin:  Leptin helps the brain know when you’re full. Because many things in our diet contain fructose, your body will store the fructose as fat and as a result produce too much leptin. Leptin resistant bodies will not be able to properly tell when you are full and when you are just “fake full,” which will quickly lead to weight gain.

Cortisol: Yes, stress levels really are a huge factor in weight loss. Your stress hormone, or Cortisol, is supposed to be a response to fear, or stress. When we are constantly put into stressful situations, your body begins to miscommunicate and produce too much Cortisol. Again, a hormone your body doesn’t need needs to be stored somewhere, namely as fat around your organs.

Estrogen: Even though both men and women have Estrogen, women really struggle with the hormone when it comes to weight loss. Because estrogen is responsible for developing the female make up, any sort of imbalance will slow down your metabolism and your body will end up storing more fat than it needs to.

Unfortunately, the perfect weight loss equation isn’t the same for everyone. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t always possible to lose weight by counting calories or even surgery. Sometimes, weight loss struggles stem much deeper, and it’s likely that those reasons have to do with hormone imbalance.

The good news is that there are top of the line teams comprised of nurses, doctors and PA’s, and coaches and consultants, who you can entrust to help you stay on track with your goals. With proper knowledge about hormone imbalance and the right team behind you, you can be on the road to a healthier life in no time at all.


What’s really holding you back from losing weight?

What’s really holding you back from losing weight?  You hormones may be the answer.

When you walk in our doors, you’re surrounded by people who have felt similar things to you:  something has held them back from losing weight.  We’ve all felt frustrated from time to time about our weight loss not going as fast as we’d like.  But, the truth is, there’s a lot that goes into weight loss and there really can be a variety of things that might be holding you back.

  1. Mindset.  Positive attitudes go a long way when you’re doing any sort of weight loss plan.  You have to shift your focus from quick, lightning results, to steady, health-focused results.  You may have setbacks, which is completely normal.  But whenever we have setbacks or things go a little slower than we’d hoped, we can find ourselves thinking all is lost!  No!  This is normal.  You just have to shift your mindset to give yourself a little bit of grace and keep pushing ahead.
  2. Skipping Meals.  We know…it seems a little opposite of what conventional thought tells you, but skipping meals is actually hurting your metabolic rate more than helping it.  At the beginning you may feel like you’re eating all the time, even when you’re not hungry.  The difference is that you’ll be eating foods that will keep your metabolism firing regularly, rather than stopping and starting at different points in the day.
  3. Putting Life On Hold.  You don’t necessarily have to restrict your entire lifestyle to change your diet, but many feel they have to set hard boundaries.  The truth is that family will come into town and want to eat out, or you’ll have to travel for work, or some other situation will come up where you are in a situation of temptation or difficulty.  But, there ARE ways to eat out and stick with your nutrition plans.  There ARE ways to handle the temptations of the birthday treats brought into your break room.  We’re not asking you to escape everyday life in order to eat healthy, but it will take a few extra seconds to figure out how you will respond.  Our goal is not make you put your life on hold, but to really be able to live your life the way you dream of.
  4. Isolation.  If you’re trying to lose significant weight on your own, we know you’ll struggle…a lot!  Accountability and encouragement are two key parts to losing weight.  You simply need other people cheering you on and helping your strategize the next phase of your weight loss.
  5. Hormones.  Your hormones play a huge role in how your body will react to nutrition changes or exercise.  Hormonal imbalances often “trick” your body into thinking certain things, which cause the body to continue to store fat.  We often see people who have tried all sorts of things and are eating well and exercising, but STILL haven’t lost the weight they need.  When we look at their hormone levels, often we see that there is something off there that is blocking them from being fully successful.  When we get the hormones treated, we can have more effective weight loss.

We all have different things that hold us back.  For you, it might be one of these things we listed out; for others it might be all.  That’s why a custom plan that has a comprehensive approach is key for successful weight loss.  You’re unique.  Shouldn’t your weight loss strategy be unique as well?


What’s So Bad About Fad Diets?

Why fad diets are not doing you any favors

Oh, fad diets! We have people asking us about these all the time, and every few years it’s a different one (hence the “fad”).  Fad diets are trendy because this famous person is doing it, or that famous person is doing it, or there’s gobs of advertising dollars behind it to shove it in your face.  The reality is that fad diets often have some element of truth behind them, but they go to extremes and really aren’t good for your weight loss in the long run.

What makes a fad diet?

Fad diets are often known for restricting or eliminating certain foods or food groups, and often make claims for significant weight loss in short periods of time.  For example, “Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution” made claims for specific food requirements and claimed to help people lose up to 5 pounds in the first two weeks.  Other fad diets make similar, if not more outrageous claims.  Eventually people fizzle out on these plans and you hear less and less of them.  But, rest assured, there WILL always be a new fad diet to consider.

So, why are fad diets not doing you any favors?

Fad diets sound amazing, right?  But, we know that anything in life worth having comes with a little bit of hard work.  And so, we’ve found that a comprehensive plan toward weight loss works better and really needs to be focused on your specific health concerns and goals.

Fad Diets Are Short-Term

Most fad diets will focus on the short term results of their program.  Mainly because their way of living is not sustainable, or because they know that most people will fizzle out after a few weeks anyway.  Unless you have a long term focus and a team to help you stay accountable to your program, odds are, you will fall off a program.  That’s why the support you get from a weight loss team is so crucial.

Missing Key Nutrients

Often fad diets will eliminate key food groups or foods that are actually really healthy for you.  We’ve all heard the wacky diets where you eat only two or three foods and nothing else.  The problem is that you can’t get all of your nutrients from just a handful of foods.  Instead, you need to be focusing on a comprehensive approach with whole foods (less processed) that will help you set your body’s metabolic rate to a healthy spot.  Fad diets can actually do you more harm than good if you are depleting your body of valuable nutrients you get from key foods and food groups.

They Make Assumptions

Fad diets make blanket assumptions that this one food type is bad for ALL people.  That’s simply not how we work.  A body that is dealing with hormonal imbalance may need certain food types or not need others.  While someone dealing with diabetes may need the opposite plan.  Fad diets sound pretty and fun, but they don’t take into account YOUR specific situation.

Here’s the skinny…

If a diet sounds too good to be true, odds are it is.  We all know the story of the tortoise and the hare, and often slow and steady wins the race in weight loss.  For results that last a lifetime, you need to focus on not only resetting your metabolism, but resetting your mindset and approach toward food.  That simply doesn’t happen in two weeks or with a fad diet!


What Does COMPREHENSIVE Weight Loss Actually Look Like?

The first thing we think about with losing weight is blood, right?  Odds are, you think of starving yourself and only eating ‘rabbit food’, going to the gym, boring old protein shakes, or running.  You probably don’t think immediately about your blood, but we’re such big believers in that life-giving red stuff that that’s where we start.  Bloodwork is the foundation of our practice.

Blood Is The Map

Your blood can tell a lot about you.  We can find out medically why you either can’t lose weight or keep gaining weight.  Your blood will tell us about  all sorts of things like how your body uses the  nutrients you eat. It will tell us about your  hormone levels, how well your thyroid is or is not functioning, and what your vitamin D levels are, just to name a few things we look at.  Once we have all of this good information, we will have a roadmap showing us which biomarkers to focus on as we create a weight loss plan.  However, without doing bloodwork, we are ‘flying blind’ as they say, simply guessing and doing a trial-based approach to weight loss.  Your time and your life are too precious to just guess at!

Blood Revels Other Issues

You may have underlying issues like hormone imbalances, insulin resistance of PCOS, , digestive issues, and more.  Your bloodwork will give our medical team insights into your unique makeup.  If you do have any underlying condition, we can address it, as well as factor it into our planEach person is unique, and when you have other medical factors in play, it CAN affect weight loss!

Regular Tests

When you’re doing medical weight loss, it’s important to run blood work at various point within the timeline.  We’ve seen clients that were type 2 Diabetic when we started that nine months into the process no longer fell into that diagnosis.  When you’re cleaning up your diet and losing weight, your body WILL change.  This means your blood work will show different things as we move through the process.  Just as the original blood work gave us a roadmap to show us where the main areas of concern were, updated tests will help us have a good measuring stick to measure progress that you may not be able to see in the fit of a pair of jeans.

Types of Blood Tests

Not all blood tests need to be done every single time, but they do provide different insights.  When we first start working with a patient, we may recommend a comprehensive blood workup so that we know the full picture.  However, we always craft a plan that is unique to each patient.

Here is a list of some of the tests we look at, this isn’t all, but it is a good start:

  • A Metabolic Chemistry Panel that includes lipids (cholesterol & triglycerides)
  • A Complete Blood Count (CBC)
  • 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D
  • Hemoglobin A1c
  • hsCRP (high sensitivity or Cardiac CRP)
  • Homocysteine
  • Insulin
  • Four different thyroid markers
  • Hormones

Your blood does a lot for you, but it can tell a lot about you too.  Blood is where we start and where we continue to look to see how our patients are progressing and improving.  Blood tests are  a vital part of a comprehensive weight loss plan.


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.