Losing weight is almost never easy, but it can be a lot more difficult when your body is actually working against you. That’s essentially what’s happening when we have certain types of hormone imbalances that can wind up “sabotaging” our best efforts at eating less, shedding excess pounds, and maintaining a healthy weight. Some hormone imbalances, like decreases in estrogen and testosterone, become a lot more common as we get older. But other hormone imbalances can occur no matter what age we are, and unless we treat those imbalances and normalize our hormones, our weight loss efforts will probably never be as successful as we want them to be.
Hormones and weight loss
Estrogen and testosterone can both interfere directly with metabolism, and so can hormones produced by the thyroid and adrenal glands. When any hormone is out of balance — which can mean either you’re producing too much of a hormone or too little — it doesn’t matter how good you are at dieting and exercise. You’re still going to have a lot of trouble losing and maintaining your weight.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in your neck. Hormones produced here affect just about every part of your body. If your thyroid produces too few hormones, your metabolism can slow down significantly, resulting in weight gain in many areas of your body. Thyroid dysfunction becomes more common with age, but it can also occur when we’re younger. When the condition is chronic, it’s called hypothyroidism, and it can cause other symptoms, like fatigue, depressed moods, cold hands and feet, thinning hair, and “brain fog.”
Your adrenal glands are located just on top of your kidneys. You’re probably familiar with adrenaline, the so-called “fight-or-flight” hormone we produce in times of extreme stress. But there’s another hormone produced by these glands — cortisol, sometimes called the stress hormone. Cortisol is excreted over a longer period of time than adrenaline, and it can have far greater effects on our overall health and wellness. When we produce too much cortisol (as a result of being continually stressed out), it has a direct impact on our blood sugar levels, making it harder for our body to metabolize certain foods. Plus, it signals our bodies to consume more calories and to store more fat, typically around the midsection.
Estrogen and testosterone
When estrogen levels are low, insulin sensitivity can also decrease, which means your body is more likely to store carbs as fat instead of burning them off. Usually, this fat is stored in the midsection and the hips. Similarly, an imbalance between estrogen and the other “main” female hormone, progesterone, can result in excess fat storage around the hips and buttocks. For men, the decline in testosterone that begins at around age 30 results in a loss of muscle mass as well as an increase in fat production and storage, usually around the belly.
Treating hormone imbalance
Fortunately, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can be very helpful in rebalancing your body’s hormones so you can finally be successful in your weight loss journey. But before any treatment can begin, you need to be tested to determine which hormones are out of balance and by how much.
At Vital Wellness and Weight Loss, we perform salivary hormone testing and analysis to identify hormone deficiencies and imbalances that could be interfering with weight loss and with your health overall. Then our team will partner with you to develop a solution that’s based on your needs and designed for optimal success. In addition to HRT, we can help you identify unhealthy habits that could be contributing to your hormone imbalance, creating a comprehensive treatment plan so you can feel confident in your results.
If you’re having trouble losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight, having a salivary hormone testing panel is the first step toward identifying hormone-related problems that may be standing in the way of your success. To learn more about hormone testing or to schedule your own evaluation at Vital Wellness and Weight Loss, book an appointment online today.