For anybody who has struggled with weight loss it can be frustrating. Even when you eat the right things and do the right things to help lose weight, the weight either stubbornly stays on or worse, you gain weight? When you exercise self-control and skip having seconds and you skimp on the sweets and treats, shouldn’t your weight be going down and not up? The truth is that your body can actually be working against you.
There is a link between gaining weight and hormones. This is why it can be such a struggle for some people to maintain or to lose weight. It is not that they lack self-control, the hormones that their body is producing is causing them to gain weight. You might hear people say that they cannot help that they gain weight easily or that they are heavy and it is true; for some this is a viable reason and not an excuses.
When there is an imbalance in your hormones, it can contribute to weight gain. If you are not have any success with losing weight or are gaining weight when you know that you should not, you could very well have a hormonal imbalance that is contributing to your weight problem. Considering that obesity cares significant health risk, and that some types of fat, such as belly fat, carries more of a risk factor than others, getting to the cause of the problem is necessary. You might need to see a doctor so that they can run blood work to see if your hormones levels are normal or not. Once you have discovered that you have a hormonal imbalance, you can begin to treat it.
Hormones that Contribute to Weight Gain
There have been several studies over the years that have proven that there is a clear link to certain hormones and weight gain. Our bodies produce hormones through the pancreas, thyroid gland, adrenal glands and the pituitary glands. One of the reasons that it is necessary to see a doctor if you are gaining weight, despite diet and exercise is that you could have something wrong with one of your glands, which is the cause of the imbalance.
Our bodies naturally secrete hormones and they each have a role to play, but when our hormone levels become unbalanced, it puts us at risk and weight gain is one side effect. Not every hormone produced by our body causes weight gain, but below is a brief rundown on what hormones can cause weight gain when their levels are not balanced.
Our adrenal glands produce cortisol and it is an important hormone that helps use maintain our blood pressure, stimulate the release of insulin in our bodies to help us keep blood sugar levels maintained and to help our metabolism quickly metabolize carbohydrates to give our bodies energy. When we are stressed, either mentally or physically, cortisol is released. It is released because of the ability of cortisol to break down carbs for energy because during the flight or fight response, that extra energy is necessary. The problem is that it does not have to be a physical danger that triggers the release of cortisol, any stress, including long-term daily stress will cause your body to produce cortisol.
Cortisol is not meant to be produced for extended periods of time, when the danger is over, production of cortisol should stop. However, if you are under chronic, daily stress then your body will continue to produce this and a side effect of elevated cortisol levels is weight gain. Cortisol especially causes fat to build up around the belly area and excess belly fat is a serious factor in having an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
If you are under a lot of stress, you need to find ways to manage your stress in order to get your body to stop producing cortisol. Stress management is not only good for your waistline, but for your overall health as well.
Progesterone, although primary produced by women, is also produced in small amounts in males. One of the roles the progesterone plays is that it increases the appetite, which in turn, results in weight gain.
The female sex hormone estrogen is also produced in smaller amounts in males. For women, estrogen is vital for the development of secondary sexual characteristics, ovulation and the menstrual cycle. In men, estrogen is important for sperm to mature and to be viable. In both sexes estrogen effects lipid metabolism and when there is an imbalance, it causes weight gain.
Estrogen imbalances can contribute to weight gain in the abdominal area and for men and women who are middle-aged; their bodies will naturally produce less estrogen, which is why weight gain is common for people who are entering middle age.
Testosterone is a male sex hormone but it is also produced in small amounts by females. Testosterone influences weight because it affects muscle density and bone density. With less testosterone, the body will lose muscle mass. To make up for this, the body slows down its own metabolism, which causes weight gain.
Hormones Produced by the Thyroid
The thyroid produces many hormones, many of which all contribute to weight gain. It is common for people who have thyroid disease to gain weight.
Insulin is vital to metabolizing fats and carbohydrates. If the insulin levels are disrupted, our fat cells begin to store more lipids, which causes weight gain. This is a leading cause of obesity and a major concern.
If you are concerned about your hormone levels, you should see a medical professional for blood work. However, you can do some things at home. Since many hormonal imbalances causes fat building up in the abdominal region, have a daily exercise routine that targets this area. Add omega-3 essential fatty acids to your diet by eating tuna or salmon or, if you prefer, you can take fish oil supplements. Adding flax seed to your diet is a good idea as well because it is a source of natural hormones, as is soy.