Weight Loss AND Hormones
What happens when you feel as if you’re doing everything right! You eat right, get regular exercise, you get enough sleep. But the weight won’t come off? Well, a potentially missing piece could be your hormones?
Hormones function as messengers between body systems to regulate your physiology and behavior, such as digestion, metabolism (weight loss/gain), respiration, tissue function, sleep, stress, growth, movement, reproduction, and mood.
Hormonal disproportions happen when there is too much or too little of a hormone in the circulation. Due to the vital role in the body, even small hormonal imbalances can cause side effects throughout the body.
Hormones help to regulate:
metabolism and appetite
reproductive cycles and sexual function
general growth and development
mood and stress levels
A hormonal imbalance comes from extended stress. Even though the demanding period is over, your body doesn’t essentially repair itself without extra care. if you’re under constant stress and the alarm button stays on? It can derail your body’s most important functions, that’s where a problem arises.
When your cortisol (stress hormone) is out of balance, symptoms that you experience might be something like this:
A tired feeling BUT– you know you need to sleep but you’re WIDE awake
A loss of stamina – getting through the regular things like making dinner, or going to the gym has now become a struggle
Mental “cloudiness” not thinking with clarity
Crazy cravings – like…GET ME A BAG OF CHIPS, NOW.
A lacking sex drive – you’d rather do dishes or clean the house
That belly fat that just won’t go away – no matter what
The extra cortisol that your body is releasing in response to the stress your body to store fat, lose muscle and slow your metabolism. But ironically, cortisol regulates the levels of other hormones such as your thyroid (which keeps you slim) and your estrogen (which also keeps you slim, happy and clear headed). So, if left unmanaged for a while, your thyroid and sex hormones also become out of balance, and excess estrogen is a ticket to weight-gain especially in the hips, butt and thigh area.
If you’ve put on excess weight (especially the hips, butt and thighs) estrogen and progesterone may be to blame. A potential cause is that your estrogen is higher than it should be in relation to progesterone –estrogen dominance.
Other common signs of estrogen dominance:
Water retention around your ankles or knees
increased symptoms of PMS
Very heavy periods – you’re going through a super tampon/pad in <2-3 hours
If your thyroid isn't functioning optimally, you may feel tired, no matter how much sleep you get. You may also notice a sluggish digestion. It may seem like no matter how little you eat nothing changes OR you may notice an increase in weight.
Interestingly the thyroid is often the second hormone to get out of balance after cortisol. So, typically a cortisol imbalance exists in combination with the thyroid.
Common scenario: You go to your doctor and complain of feeling tired or experiencing excess weight. They typically decide to run a thyroid test, they usually only check the TSH. The problem with just the TSH is that, that is only one of four hormones that we like to see to understand if your thyroid is working properly. Your TSH could come back normal, you're told it's not thyroid related, but your T3 could be low (for example) and then you will still be experiencing symptoms.
Therefore, we like to test your hormones more thoroughly. Hormones are individual. If you want to balance your hormones to help lose weight, please set up a free 15 minute consult to learn more about how we work with you for weight loss.
By: Carol Aguirre MS, RD/LDN