Weight loss and hormones: Are hormones the cause of your excess weight?
It can be really frustrating when you’re "being good" - eating right and exercising - but the scale still doesn’t budge. However, sometimes, it doesn’t matter how much you exercise or how healthy your diet is, your body just won’t let go of the weight. The reason: hormones.
Everyone knows that hormones play an important part in the body’s health and well-being. We’re probably most familiar with the sex hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, which regulate sex drive, and, in women, pregnancy and menopause. But there’s a lot more to hormones than that.
When certain hormones aren’t produced in the right amount, or when they become out of balance with each other, it can affect your weight. If you just can’t seem to drop the weight, or if you’ve been eating well and exercising but are still gaining weight, then it’s time to look into whether imbalanced hormones are the culprit. Here are three hormones known to affect weight.
Hormones That Can Cause Weight Gain (Or Prevent Weight Loss) When Out of Balance
Weight gain or inability to lose weight is one of the hallmark symptoms of low thyroid. Thyroid hormone regulates your metabolism and energy production, so when you have low thyroid function, or hypothyroidism, your metabolism slows down and it becomes more difficult to lose those extra pounds. Other symptoms include being cold all the time, general fatigue, brain fog, joint and muscle pain, hair loss, depressed moods, difficulty sleeping, brittle fingernails and losing the outer third of the eyebrow.
Testosterone levels decline in men starting in their thirties and continue dropping steadily throughout their lives. Weight may creep up during that time, too, as low testosterone levels can lead to weight gain. Other symptoms of low testosterone in men are low libido, loss of energy and confidence, loss of muscle tone and moodiness.
Estrogen and progesterone
Women experience a natural shift in hormones in mid-life during perimenopause and menopause. Both progesterone and estrogen decrease, but because progesterone decreases faster, it means that there’s more estrogen. This imbalance is called “estrogen dominance” and it can lead to weight gain. Other symptoms to watch out for: lower sex drive, breast tenderness, headaches, mood swings and irregular periods.
How to Know if Hormones Are Causing Your Weight Gain and What to Do About It
You shouldn’t have to resort to weight loss drugs, surgery, starvation or long, daily intense workouts to lose weight. When your hormones are in balance, it is much easier to maintain your ideal body weight.
The best way to figure out whether hormones are responsible for your current weight is to look at your symptoms. Work with a doctor who specializes in bioidentical hormones and takes a natural approach to hormone balance and weight loss. By looking at your combination of symptoms, as well as your clinical history and body temperature, your doctor should be able to figure out which hormones are out of balance and causing your weight gain.
For example, if you’re gaining weight and also experiencing irregular periods, then it’s possible that estrogen and progesterone are out of balance. If instead you’re experiencing fatigue and coldness then it’s more likely to be low thyroid. When testing for low thyroid function, make sure your doctor does not rely solely on the TSH blood test. The lab range for this test is so wide that the majority of patients fall “within the normal range” and fail to get properly diagnosed with hypothyroidism.
Work closely with your doctor to create a treatment plan for you. Monitor your health closely to see if symptoms decrease and if you’re able to start losing weight again.
Besides restoring and balancing your hormones, it is still very important to eat a healthy diet and stay active. Stay away from fast food, processed food and avoid sugar. Incorporate organic fruits and vegetables into your daily meals.
Taking Charge of Your Health
The bottom line is that you don’t have to live with excess weight due to hormone imbalances. By treating the imbalance with bioidentical hormones, and restoring your body to health, you’ll find it easier to return to a weight that’s healthy for you. Good luck!
Steven F. Hotze, M.D. is the founder and CEO of the Hotze Health & Wellness Center in Houston, TX. He and his team focus on natural approaches to a wide range of health issues, including hormone imbalance and unexplained weight gain. Many people come to him after finding no relief from their symptoms through approaches of conventional medicine. He helps them get their lives back.
Please visit www.hotzehwc.com to learn more about what Dr. Hotze and his team at the Hotze Health & Wellness Center, or to schedule a complimentary phone consultation with a Wellness Consultant.