If you’re doing everything by the book to lose weight, but you feel like something is working behind the scenes to thwart your efforts, you might be right. Most people focus on calories in versus calories out when they’re trying to shed pounds, and they never consider the role of hormones.
Our team of physicians here at Balanced Medical Solutions understands this critical role, and we help many patients throughout the Hayward, California, area achieve weight loss breakthroughs. Our medical weight loss program gives you the advantage of our comprehensive look into all the factors that can influence your weight and your ability to lose it, including age, medical conditions, genetics, and yes, hormones.
If your hormones are out of balance, they can stymie your efforts to lose weight, no matter how diligent you are. Here are the main culprits.
Although women need testosterone, too, it’s primarily a male hormone that’s responsible for many masculine characteristics, such as the development of body and facial hair, a deep voice, and sperm cells. It also drives increased muscle mass and bone strength and may also suppress fat gain.
When testosterone wanes, so do your muscles, and that means weight gain, because lean muscle mass burns calories. Ironically, obesity may contribute to lower testosterone levels as well, so the cycle continues until you intervene.
Unbalanced estrogen is one of the primary culprits in weight gain in women, especially during menopause when estrogen levels plummet. Because estrogen also plays a role in your metabolism, many women notice weight gain during menopause, particularly in their belly.
Menopause isn’t the only thing that can drop your estrogen, it can also be the result of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), breastfeeding, pregnancy, removal of ovaries, anorexia, and excessive exercising. Getting your estrogen under control can benefit your overall health.
When you’re stressed — and who isn’t — you pump out the hormone cortisol. Too much cortisol over a period of time can deplete your body’s store of serotonin, which means you lose sleep, a problem that exacerbates weight loss.
But high cortisol levels also make you store fat in your belly — the stubborn kind of fat that won’t budge no matter how many crunches you do. It can also lead to depression and food cravings, like sugar.
Under normal circumstances, leptin tells your brain that you’re full and you don’t need to eat anymore. But if you’re overweight or obese, your fat cells overproduce leptin and bombard your brain with too many messages, so it just shuts down its leptin receptors.
Without all those receptors doing their job, you keep eating without feeling full. And if you’re in the habit of eating the wrong types of foods, you’ll just keep gaining weight.
Another fat-storing hormone is insulin. If you have type 2 diabetes, your body is insulin resistant, which means your cells won’t absorb the extra sugar in your blood, called blood glucose, when you eat. Instead, your liver converts that extra sugar into fat, and voila, weight gain.
Your thyroid is a gland that produces hormones used throughout your body to keep you warm and keep your organs working. It’s also responsible for your metabolism, or how quickly and efficiently you use energy.
If your thyroid is underactive, called hypothyroidism, your metabolism is sluggish, and you gain weight.
How to balance your hormones
At Balanced Medical Solutions, our team specializes in getting to the root cause of your condition, and if hormone imbalance is hindering your ability to lose weight, we can help.
Our treatments include bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to level out your estrogen and relieve your menopause symptoms and your weight loss frustration.
We also offer treatments to optimize your pituitary gland, which is responsible for hormone production. In particular, this treatment increases your production of human growth hormone to increase your stamina, boost your metabolism, and sharpen your focus.
If you’ve hit a wall in your diet and exercise routine, it might just be your hormones. Call us today to book an appointment and find out if hormones are keeping you from losing weight.