One of the most common questions I receive here at Healthfundaa is that “I’m eating right and exercising, but I still can’t lose weight.” These questions are often asked by women who into their menopausal years (usually around the age 45+). Some of them say that the diet and fitness plan that they have been following from years and helped them keep their weight off has suddenly stopped working for them.
What might be the reason for this?
Have you got your hormones checked?
Yes you heard it right…..
Hormones and weight loss is deeply connected to each other.
Fluctuating hormones can be the cause of your weight gain. Women are more vulnerable to hormonal imbalance as compared to men. Hormonal imbalance has a great impact not only on their biological cycle but on their daily life as well. So balancing your hormones can help you lose weight at any age and even in the menopause stage.
If you are hearing this for the first time, then trust me you are not alone! Our hormones have a great impact on our mood, our appearance, and yes, above all on our weight. Our hormones keep fluctuating and the more we understand them, the more we can balance them to be happier and healthier. So let’s learn how hormonal imbalances can lead all your efforts to lose weight in vain and how you can balance your hormones naturally to maintain a healthier weight.
Balance these 5 Hormones to Lose Weight
Here are the top 5 annoying hormones that may be sabotaging your weight loss efforts and how you can balance them.
Estrogen is the female sex hormone and is responsible for the growth of female sexual characteristics but an imbalance of estrogen hormone (particularly estrogen dominance) in your body can lead to slower metabolism thus leading to more storage of fat in the body. As women have more estrogen than men, it is often difficult for them to lose weight than their male counterparts.
Now for those in menopause, it might come as confusing to think that you have estrogen dominance when you are told that your estrogen levels are declining. There are two things to understand. First, estrogen levels decrease after menopause but at the same time if your progesterone levels are very low, you can have estrogen dominance.
And second, according to the National Institute of Health Sciences, exposure to environmental estrogens (estrogen-like chemicals in our environment called xenoestrogens) can cause excess estrogen. Some of these xenoestrogens include pesticides, hormones in animal products, and plastics.
Cortisol is the stress hormone. It regulates the body’s response to stressful situations. The levels of Cortisol hormone increase in times of stress, and it also increases appetite. Due to our busy lives and work pressure we are constantly in stressful environments, and, even if we eat well and exercise regularly, high stress prevents us from losing weight – or worse, it adds a pound or two. According to lead cardiovascular researchers at the University Medical Center in the Netherlands, having excess cortisol increases risk of heart disease, and it also stores visceral fat around your internal organs, which often appears as excess belly fat.
So how will you balance this “hangry” hormone?
Leptin is produced by the body’s fat cells. Its primary function is to tell a part of our brain (the hypothalamus) that we are satiated, or full. But our modern diet is saturated with a type of sugar called fructose, found in many processed foods. Too much fructose is stored in the body as fat. This leads to an excess of leptin. If you have too much leptin then you become leptin resistant, meaning your body no longer tell if you are full or not—and you keep eating and gaining weight.
So how are you going to balance this pesky hormone?
Ghrelin works along with leptin. When your stomach is empty, it is ghrelin that tells your brain that you are hungry and that you need to eat. Nowadays, something is broken in the ghrelin mechanism, increasing your hunger while you rarely feel satisfied. Ghrelin is secreted primarily in the lining of the stomach. Your stomach produces ghrelin when it’s empty. Just like leptin, ghrelin goes into the blood, crosses the blood-brain barrier, and ends up at your hypothalamus, where it tells you you’re hungry. Essentially, ghrelin is high before you eat and low after you eat.
So how are you going to balance this craving hormone?
Insulin is created by pancreas and it helps regulate glucose (blood sugar) in the body. If you are overweight or even “skinny fat” (storing too much visceral fat around your organs) your body’s glucose regulator (insulin!) is out of balance and you have a tough time losing weight. Furthermore, if you tend to eat sugary foods throughout the day, your insulin keeps working trying to clear the sugar from your blood. What does insulin do with the extra sugar? It stores it as fat.
Related: 10 Diabetes Myths Busted!
If you are putting in all the efforts to lose weight but can’t figure out what is going wrong, your hormones may be to blame. Ask your doctor to test your hormones, as well as use the above information to try different techniques to get them in balance. It’s your body, and you should know everything you can to not only lose weight but feel happy and healthy.
Have you ever gained weight due to hormonal imbalance? What signs did you notice? Share your experience with us in the comments section.