Sometimes weight loss is not only a matter of limiting your food intake and exercising. You could be eating a low-calorie diet and spending all of your free time in the gym, but still suffering with unsatisfactory results. Admittedly, all of the above things will help a little but there is no way that you are going to meet your weight loss goals and targets that you have set for yourself in this way. If you think that there is a problem with your approach to weight loss, it could very well be your hormones that are causing all of the problems.
Having hormonal balance is actually the key to losing weight. There is no way that you are going to be able to achieve effective weight loss when your hormones are going a little crazy and are all out of balance. Within this article, we will explain to you how the hormones will affect your weight loss or gain, and also what you can do about it.
Of course, it is important to remember that weight gain relating to hormonal imbalances or changes is not just something that is going to affect the ladies out there – the men can suffer as well. For the latter, the hormone issues could be due to aging or stress. Once their hormones start to decline, they fall apart, just like us ladies do.
It makes sense to understand the hormones that can affect your weight loss or gain!
TSH, T3, and T4 – these are all hormones that can affect the way you lose or gain weight. Hypothyroidism is when your TSH, (thyroid stimulating hormone) is too high. It has been said, however, that it is possible to have it at the high end of the normal range, and still have difficulties with losing weight. At the other end, if your levels of T3 and T4 are too low, you will need to have the problems addressed immediately.
People that suffer with hypothyroidism do not metabolize their food effectively. The calories that they consume are turned into fat rather than being used as a form of energy. This means that the entire digestive system – from literally the bottom to the top, is slowed, leaving you sluggish and with that “spare tire” that so many people suffer with. You will find that constipation is a very common complaint.
The problem of hypothyroidism is actually characterized by slow and gradual weight gain, and also the complete inability to lose weight, despite healthy levels of exercise and a healthy and balanced diet. There are other symptoms however, and these include fatigue, dry skin, losing hair and also increased sensitivity to the cold. Luckily, this complaint is something that is easily regulated by the right medication, and you will usually find that with the right medication, the symptoms actually desist almost immediately.
Cortisol, or hydrocortisone as it is otherwise known, is another hormone that is important within weight loss. Released by the adrenal gland, it is a hormone that responds to stress, and is designed to help the body to metabolize protein, carbs and fat.
There are many things that could lead to an increase of cortisol – not sleeping enough, high stress levels, etc. This is actually a vicious circle – stress causes high levels of the hormone, and in turn the hormone prevents you from being able to sleep. High cortisol also promotes the formation of new fat cells from connective tissue cells; so obviously, you are going to be unable to lose the fat when the body is still fighting to store it.
It is important to mention that cortisol also rises during physical exercise, so if you are overdoing the exercise in a bid to lose weight, you could actually be achieving quite the opposite results without even realizing it. Exercise is important for weight loss, but there is no point in letting yourself become over-trained – keeping the cortisol levels high will make you heavier, not thinner!
Your cortisol levels may rise due to a drop in estrogen, (another hormone that is important in the fight against fat) and this is because estrogen inhibits the enzyme that transforms cortisone into active cortisol. Once this inhibiting effect is diminished due to the drop of estrogen, the cortisol levels will rise.
There are ways that you can help your body to reduce the cortisol levels – reducing physical and mental stress, sleeping well and enough each night, implementing relaxation techniques, and even massage therapy.
It has been noted that high levels of insulin in the body will lead to weight gain. If you are one of those unfortunate people that tend to put on weight and keep it, around your middle section of the body, you could be showing the classic signs of excess insulin production. This happens because the fat cells in the abdominal area are especially sensitive to insulin levels and any changes that may happen within them.
Insulin production may be over-stimulated by consumption of sugar and carbohydrates. Eating too much sugar just makes you hungrier and crave for even more of the sweet stuff, and thus a vicious cycle begins. Overabundance of sugary foods is often the main blame for insulin resistance and with this resistance comes a body that is going to be less efficient in controlling the blood sugar. In conclusion, insulin resistance encourages obesity.
Another cause of high insulin levels, especially in women, is the decline of estrogen and progesterone hormones within the body. By regulating these two hormones, you can help to control the insulin levels.
As you can probably tell from reading this article, excess weight or weight gain is not always within your control, especially when you take into consideration that your hormone levels have just as much of a part to play as exercising and eating the right foods. Of course, this is not to say that you can stop all efforts that you are taking in a bid to lose weight and sit, hoping for the best. It just means that you may have to do things a little differently in order for it all to be effective. You will find that by looking for solutions to the above hormone related medical problems, you will feel better overall which will greatly affect you when it comes to trying to lose weight.
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