It’s understood that a wholesome diet and regular exercise should lead to a healthy weight.
But for some, no matter how much time they put in at the gym and no matter how many brownies they turn down, the scale stays the same. In some cases, despite proper weight loss efforts, a person’s weight even increases.
For people living with hormonal imbalances, their body is working against them. The result is weight gain and other medical problems.
Hormonal imbalances and weight gain are a hot topic. Let’s dive into the relationship between hormones and weight gain to understand how these bodily functions affect the number on the scale.
Maintaining a healthy weight can feel like a Catch-22. Being overweight or underweight affects your hormones and can throw them out of whack. But hormone imbalances can be the reason your weight is fluctuating.
So, what are hormones, and why are they messing with your weight?
Hormones are chemical messengers in your body. They are messengers that travel through your bloodstream to reach tissues and organs. Hormones are essential in coordinating and controlling bodily activities.
Your body may accidentally over or underproduce hormones. When this happens, your endocrine system becomes unbalanced.
The most common complaint of hormonal imbalances is weight gain. Even when dieting and exercising regularly, people with hormonal issues continue to experience unexplained weight gain. Other warning signs of a hormonal imbalance include:
Hormone problems are very prevalent, especially in women. A survey found that out of 2,000 American women, 47% percent reported symptoms of hormonal imbalances.
Let’s explore the different hormones that affect our body weight.
Your thyroid is located in your neck. When secreted into the blood, the thyroid creates thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). The hormones help your body perform daily activities and function normally.
When it comes to weight gain and hormones, the thyroid plays a key role. The thyroid regulates metabolism, growth, and development. When thyroid hormone imbalances occur, people experience unexplained weight loss and weight gain.
Other symptoms of a thyroid disorder include:
The thyroid is responsible for two hormone disorders, hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism.
Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. When your thyroid doesn’t make enough hormones, it slows your metabolism and prevents you from burning calories. Hypothyroidism also causes joint pain, heart disease, skin problems, hair loss, and infertility.
An estimated five in every 100 U.S. adults have hypothyroidism.
On the other hand, hyperthyroidism results in unexplained weight loss. Hyperthyroidism is when your thyroid is so active, it produces too much thyroxine. Tremendous thyroxine levels increase your metabolism, resulting in weight loss and an irregular heartbeat.
Thyroid disorders can be managed through various treatments and medications. People living with thyroid disorders should watch the type of foods they eat and maintain a healthy exercise routine and sleep schedule to keep their hormones in check.
Leptin may be to blame for hormonal weight gain. Leptin is a hormone released from fat cells located in adipose tissue. It signals the brain to tell you to stop eating. Leptin regulates food intake, energy expenditure, and enables us to maintain healthy body weight.
Leptin is directly connected to a person’s body fat. When a person puts on weight, leptin levels increase. When a person loses weight and fat, leptin levels decrease.
When your body functions normally, leptin decreases appetite and allows the body to dip into fat stores for energy.
When you have too much leptin in your blood, your body becomes resistant to the hormone. Leptin resistance leads to overeating. Since the body doesn’t pick up on leptin levels, it produces even more leptin. Leptin resistance is believed to be the leading driver of fat gain in people.
Signs of leptin resistance include feeling hungry after meals, poor energy levels, and difficulty losing weight.
Cortisol is made through the body’s adrenal glands, which are located at the top of the kidneys. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone. It controls mood, energy, motivation, fear, and the sleep cycle. Cortisol plays a key role in managing inflammation, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure.
Another essential function of cortisol is that it manages how your body uses carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. When cortisol levels rise, so does your insulin rate. High cortisol can trigger thyroid functions, weight fluctuations, and lowered metabolism rates.
Cortisol imbalances occur from stress. Higher stress levels stimulate the adrenal gland to overproduce cortisol hormones.
Stressors that lead to greater cortisol levels include:
When cortisol rises, the bods become resistant to insulin. The result is unexplained weight gain, high blood sugar levels, and in severe cases, the development of type 2 diabetes.
Most women are aware of estrogen weight gain. Estrogen aids in regulating metabolism and body weight. During menopause, a woman’s estrogen levels decrease. A decrease in estrogen leads to weight gain.
Other conditions besides menopause contribute to low estrogen levels, such as:
Similar to the relationship between estrogen and weight gain, testosterone affects a man’s body fat levels.
Men with low testosterone report higher fat percentages compared to men with regular testosterone levels. Low testosterone is caused by medical conditions, age, injuries, alcohol abuse, and certain medications.
There is a strong connection between hormones and weight gain. When hormone levels increase or decrease, a chain of events occurs. Your body forgets its full, the metabolism slows, and your weight increases.
Thankfully, hormonal weight gain is treatable. Our team strives to assist men and women struggling with hormonal imbalances. Contact us to learn more about our hormone and weight loss treatments.