Medical Reasons For Weight Gain
Several conditions can cause weight gain or hinder weight loss, says Rebecca Kurth, MD, director of PrimeCare at Columbia-Presbyterian Eastside and associate professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University.
Among them, Kurth says, are:
Two other considerations: people tend to gain weight with age for unknown reasons, and though it’s not a medical condition, drinking alcohol in moderate to excessive amounts can sabotage your efforts to lose weight. Alcohol is a refined carbohydrate, similar to sugar, candy, and white flour. Besides adding calories, alcohol may raise blood sugar and insulin levels, which can contribute to weight gain.
How Does Estrogen Impact Weight Gain
Produced within the ovaries, estrogen is responsible for optimal functioning of all female reproductive organs. Estrogen promotes the storage of fat for healthy reproductive years. When estrogen is balanced, the right amount of fat helps carry out female reproductive functions. However, when theres too little or too much estrogen, weight gain often results.
Overweight women typically have high amounts of estrogen, as do women in the first half of pregnancy. Then theres perimenopause and menopause, which are characterized by a notable decrease in estrogen. Its during this time that some women opt for hormone replacement therapy to replace declining estrogen levels.
Excessive Hair Growth In Women
Excessive and coarse hair growth is a hormonal issue faced specifically by women. It occurs when there are high levels of androgens in the body. Even though women naturally produce androgens, as men do estrogen, the amounts are much lower.
PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome is a hormonal imbalance condition that causes womens bodies to produce far too many androgens. Fluctuating hormones during menopause can also trigger hirsutism and hormonal weight gain.
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Why Are You Gaining Weight Hormones Might Be The Problem
If youre gaining weight, chances are poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle are the reasons. But thats not always the case. A hormonal imbalance also can cause you to pack on the pounds.
Obesity continues to be an issue in the United States, bringing with it an increase in chronic health issues such as coronary heart disease and many forms of cancer.
When hormones are the culprit, losing weight poses additional challenges.
Youre Not Eating Whole Foods
Food quality is just as important as quantity.
Eating whole foods can improve your well-being and help regulate your appetite. These foods tend to be much more filling than their highly processed counterparts.
Make sure to base your diet on whole foods. Eating too much processed food could negatively affect your weight loss success.
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Maybe You Are Losing Without Realizing It
If you think you are experiencing a weight loss plateau, you shouldnt fret just yet.
It is incredibly common for the scale not to budge for a few days at a time. This does not mean that you are not losing fat.
Body weight tends to fluctuate by a few pounds. It depends on the foods you are eating, and hormones can also have a major effect on how much water your body retains .
Also, it is possible to gain muscle at the same time as you lose fat. This is particularly common if you recently started exercising.
This is a good thing, as what you really want to lose is body fat, not just weight.
It is a good idea to use something other than the scale to gauge your progress. For example, measure your waist circumference and body fat percentage once per month.
Also, how well your clothes fit and how you look in the mirror can be very telling.
Unless your weight has been stuck at the same point for more than 12 weeks, you probably dont need to worry about anything.
A weight loss plateau may be explained by muscle gain, undigested food, and fluctuations in body water. If the scale doesnt budge, you might still be losing fat.
Can An Endocrinologist Help With Weight Loss
An endocrinologist can very often help you reverse weight gain that is associated with hormonal imbalances. Potentially useful interventions include lifestyle changes such as exercise, diet modification, or stress management, as well as treatments such as testosterone or thyroid hormone replacement. Medications may be able to help with weight gain-related symptoms such as increased appetite, or to moderate excessive hormone levels.
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Obesity: More Than Just Extra Body Fat
According to the World Health Organization , obesity is defined as having a body mass index greater than 30. BMI is calculated by dividing the body weight in kilograms by the square of height in meters. Other methods such as waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio are also used to measure abdominal obesity.
According to the latest estimates, more than 80 crore people all over the world are believed to be living with obesity. The global prevalence of obesity has tripled since 1975. In 2016, 13% of the adults in the world were obese and the numbers have been continuously rising since then. Obesity is also one of the leading risk factors for premature deaths across the globe. In 2017, 8% of the global deaths were attributed to obesity.
Resistance Training & Hormones
Metabolism is a word that gets thrown around a lot. You hear about a lot of different ways to increase your metabolism. But, the most effective way to increase your metabolism is to build muscle.
Maintaining muscle is a very calorically expensive process. It burns many more calories to maintain muscle than it does to maintain fat. So, if you’re looking to increase your metabolism and thus, your fat-loss efforts, adding a little bit of muscle would be a great idea.
Don’t feel like you have to add slabs of muscle to increase your metabolic rate. You’d probably be surprised what adding just a little bit of muscle could do to enhance your metabolism and physique.
Both men and women have testosterone, insulin-like growth factor , growth hormone, among others. These hormones affect the muscle building process. It’s important to take the necessary steps to regulate these muscle building/maintaining hormones.
Women have lower levels, than men, of testosterone and other muscle building hormones. It’s imperative that women incorporate a resistance/ strength training routine to help set their body’s up, hormonally, to build muscle.
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When Should I See An Endocrinologist For Weight Gain
There are a wide range of hormonal issues that may cause sudden, unexplained weight gain. These include thyroid deficiency, declining estrogen , and polycystic ovary syndrome . Weight gain may also be accompanied by other symptoms, such as headaches, insomnia, mood swings, and heavy or painful periods. If you find yourself gaining weight with no apparent explanation or changes in diet or exercise, you should discuss this with your doctor. An endocrinologist can help identify hormonal imbalances by reviewing your symptoms and performing laboratory tests when necessary.
Obesity Hormones As A Risk Factor For Disease
Obesity is associated with an increased risk of a number of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, stroke and several types of cancer, and with decreased longevity and lower quality of life. For example, the increased production of oestrogens in the fat of older women who are obese is associated with an increase in breast cancer risk, indicating that the source of oestrogen production is important.
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Do You Suspect That Your Hormones Are Preventing You From Losing Weight If So You Are Onto Something
Your hormones play quite a big role in weight loss .
Here are 4 major hormonal issues that I see again and again with my female clients:
High Cortisol Often caused by stress and correlates with blood sugar dysregulation. High cortisol can resolve by reducing stress and prioritizing macro-friendly meals. Managing stress is easier said that done: Delegate, say no, ask for help, plan for self-care activities you enjoy.
Estrogen Dominance Once again, a result of high stress as well as wonky liver and gut function. Excess caffeine, alcohol, sugar, exposure to toxins and processed foods also dont help. Getting enough sleep as well as eating cruciferous veggies and proper supplementation can help balance you out.
Low Thyroid Frequently overlooked by most General Practitioners as it is not typically checked unless they run a full panel. Your thyroid health is key to a well-functioning metabolism and fat loss. Ask your doctor for a full panel and if they wont do it, contact me!
Insulin Resistance Caused by poor diet, hormonal imbalances, lack of exercise, and high stress. I often see insulin resistance go hand-in-hand with stubborn belly fat. Get proper hormonal testing and balance your nutrition with protein, fat, and low glycemic carbs. Intermittent Fasting may help in certain situations as well.
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Why Aren’t You Losing Weight
Could a medical problem or medication be to blame?
You’re following a weight-loss eating plan. You’re exercising almost every day. You’re proud of the new healthy habits you’ve learned. Yet week after week, the scale barely seems to budge. What gives?
Chances are your food portion sizes have crept up . Or your workouts may not be quite as intense as you think .
But if you know you’ve followed your reducing plan religiously, there’s another possibility: A medical condition — or medication — may be to blame.
“If you haven’t been able to lose weight and you can’t understand why, you need to determine whether there’s a medical condition underlying your weight problem,” says Peter LePort, MD, director of the Smart Dimensions Bariatric Program at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in California. “You need to cure that problem first before you can address the weight issue.”
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Free Phone Consultation With Our New Patient Coordinator
The health and safety of our staff and patients is a top priority for all of us at the office of Leigh Ann Scott, M.D. We are offering both virtual appointments and in-clinic appointments, whichever you prefer. If you are coming in to see us in person, keep in mind that we main the highest of standards when it comes to the safety of our patients. We sanitize rooms between patients and shared surfaces such as door handles, etc., throughout the day.
Should you choose to have a telemedicine appointment, you will still be able to see your provider, just as if she were standing in front of you in the office so that youll still get the same connection as if your appointment was in the clinic. Additionally, we have mobile phlebotomy services available if you do not want to go to a public lab.
Our providers at Leigh Ann Scott, M.D. are devoted to understanding our patients health concerns and symptoms. We use scientific-based protocols to find the root cause of hormonal imbalances, thyroid dysfunction, nutritional deficiencies, and more. We believe that spending quality, personalized time with each patient provides the necessary foundation to help you achieve optimal health and wellness. Our system incorporates provider consultation, comprehensive health assessment, and laboratory testing in a warm and caring environment.
Get Your Hormones Checked And Lose Weight
Before we get started, heres a short recap of the tips so far: The first and most crucial piece of advice was to choose a low-carb diet. The next were eating when hungry, eating real food, measuring progress wisely, thinking long-term, limiting fruit, alcohol and artificial sweeteners, reviewing your medications, stressing less and sleeping more, eating less dairy and nut products, stocking up on vitamins and minerals, exercising and finally, getting into ketosis.
This is number fifteen:
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What You Can Do About Your Hormonal Imbalance
Dr. Gottfried believes that some of the best ways to restart your hormonal system and balance your body chemistry are to eat right, exercise, and be more objective about stressors. This multi-pronged approach helps to stabilize your hormonal balance, increase your metabolic rate, and help you mentally cope with stressors while changing the way you think about weight loss.
Change the Way You Eat and DrinkDr. Gottfried is adamant that roughly 90% of weight loss resistance is related to hormone imbalances. According to her, the biggest single cause of these imbalances is improper dietthe food we put in our body determines how our body reacts. When we feed it high-calorie, fatty foods that are over-processed and contain junk ingredients our body destabilizes its own chemical balance.
These poor diets:
How Is Hormonal Weight Gain Diagnosed
An evaluation with an endocrinologist can help determine if a hormonal condition is the underlying cause of weight gain. Declining estrogen, adrenal disorders, hormonal resistance, thyroid imbalance, and several other hormonal imbalances can lead to weight gain. Laboratory tests give endocrinologists insight to hormonal imbalances when combined with your symptoms and presentation, but it doesnt always tell the whole story. Blood and urine results can be influenced by many things. For this reason, we suggest special evaluations to see how metabolic information relates to the lab data.
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Your Low Testosterone Levels Are Slowing Down Your Metabolism
You are confronted with an astounding number of toxins each day, including pesticides, herbicides, genetically modified foods, and about six different synthetic hormones in meat. Toxins are lurking in face creams, prescription drugs, processed foods, your lipstick, the linings of tuna fish cans, the fire-retardant materials in couches, and even the air you breathe. The list goes on.
Many types of these toxins, such as pesticides, plastics, and industrial chemicals, behave like estrogen when absorbed in the body. Experts believe that our increasing exposure to toxins helps explain why so many girls are entering puberty earlier and why many boys exhibit feminine characteristics such as developing breasts. Xeno-estrogens, as these particular toxins are called, have been associated with an elevated risk of estrogen-driven diseases like breast and ovarian cancers and endometriosis.
HOW TO LOSE BELLY FAT
All this fake estrogen overwhelms your body’s testosteronewhich is vital for hormone balanceand contributes to estrogen overload. Testosterone contributes to muscle growth, which in turn supports metabolism. And, as we already know, estrogen overload raises insulin insensitivity. The combination adds pounds to your frame: A study from Sweden published in the journal Chemosphere showed that exposure to a particular type of pesticide called organochloride was linked to a weight gain of 9½ pounds over 50 years.
Youre Not Keeping Track Of What Youre Eating
Awareness is incredibly important if you are trying to lose weight. Many people dont have a clue how much theyre really eating.
Studies show that keeping track of your food intake helps with weight loss. People who use food diaries or photograph their meals consistently lose more weight than people who dont .
At the same time, there is a potential downside to food tracking, especially when its used for the purpose of weight loss. For people with eating disorders, calorie counting and food tracking has been shown to aggravate potentially harmful side effects (
If you are not losing weight, you should try weighing your foods and tracking your calories for a while.
Here are some helpful resources:
- Calorie calculator. Use a calorie calculator to figure out how many calories to eat.
- Calorie counters. This is a list of five free websites and apps that can help you keep track of your calorie and nutrient intake.
Tracking is also important if youre trying to reach a certain nutrient goal, such as getting 30% of your calories from protein. This can be impossible to achieve if youre not tracking things properly.
It is generally not necessary to count calories and weigh everything for the rest of your life. Instead, try out these techniques for a few days every few months to get a feel for how much youre eating.
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Reseting Leptin & Ghrelin
Implement these three steps for the next few weeks. It may be a tough transition, at first, but don’t give in to the immediate pain. Keep the big picture in mind and know that you’ll be better for it in the long run. Getting leptin and ghrelin under control will be greatly beneficial to achieving and sustaining your fat loss.
Do You Need To Count Calories
Many people believe that if you eat fewer calories than you burn each day, youll lose weight, and if you eat the same number of calories that youll burn, youll maintain a healthy weight. This plan works for many people, but not all.
If youre counting calories, its important to think about what youre eating. Say Jane eats 1,200 calories a day of cake, cookies and white bread. Shes probably not going to lose any weight. Betty eats 1,200 calories a day of fresh vegetables and fruit and lean protein. Shes probably going to lose some weight and get a lot more nutrients from her food. Counting calories is only part of the weight loss equation.
And counting calories is only one way to lose weight. Because the hormone insulin plays a major role in how your body uses and stores fat, some research suggests that eating foods that keep insulin levels steady throughout the day lean meat and fish, poultry, vegetables, and fruit rather than foods like sugar, candy, white bread, and crackers can help you maintain a healthy weight.
The first thing to do if you want to lose weight is to talk to your doctors and a registered dietitian about a safe and sensible plan designed specifically for you and your needs. Your doctors may want you to wait until you have completely recovered from treatment or any other health issues you may have.
These steps can help you lose weight after treatment:
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