Youre Losing Your Hair
If your increased abdominal weight gain is coinciding with an accelerated rate of hair loss, your hormones might be to blame. Specifically, thyroid hormones help to regulate your body weight as well as your hair growth so an underactive thyroid could be the culprit of hormonal belly if youre experiencing issues with both simultaneously.
Because the relationship between metabolism, thyroid hormones, and weight is complex, the exact mechanism by which thyroid hormones cause weight changes isnt entirely understood. The most simple explanation is that when your thyroid isnt producing enough hormones, your metabolic rate slows down, reducing the number of calories your body burns on a daily basis, and often contributing to weight gain, particularly around your midsection.
However, it isnt thyroid hormones alone that play a role in how much energy your body uses. Thyroid hormones work synergistically with a number of other hormones, proteins, receptors, and chemical messengers in the body making it a layered process with other downstream effects on inadequate thyroid levels such as fatigue, hair loss, constipation, and low libido.
/6you Crave Sweets All The Time
If you are craving sugar all the time, there is a high chance that your body is struggling with insulin resistance. In case of insulin resistance, your body is unable to absorb sugar from the bloodstream, which leaves your cells starved for carbs.
This can have a negative impact on leptin levels. With decreased sensitivity to leptin and insulin, you will keep eating sweets and don’t know when to stop, which leads to hormonal belly fat.
Take Steps To Reduce Stress
Research shows that stress can take a toll on your hormones, primarily the stress hormone cortisol, and taking steps to reduce your stress levels can help you balance your hormones. Stress-reducing activities such as yoga, meditation, exercise and listening to relaxing music are all great ways to help manage stress.
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Youve Got Sugar On The Brain
Were not talking about wanting a cookie now and then. But if you cant deal without your sugar top-up each day, step back and ask yourself why. Cravings are often an early clue to hormone issues.
You may have leptin resistance. Remember, leptin is the hormone that helps regulate your appetite. It tells your brain when your belly is full. If your body starts ignoring leptins messages, thats called leptin resistance.
Researchers know that leptin resistance leads to weight gain. Talk to your doctor if you dont feel full even after big meals. Leptin resistance could be a problem, and it could be leading to overeating.
It could be an insulin issue. Another hormonal cause of belly fat? Insulin imbalance. Wild sugar cravings, sudden weight gain, and lack of focus could all indicate insulin issues. There are natural ways to lower insulin, but its also a concern you should bring up with your doctor.
Theres no magic fix for hormonal weight gain. Your game plan depends on which hormones are wonky and why. But these five tactics are a good place to start.
Focus On Lean Muscle Mass
As we age, many of us focus on cardiovascular physical activity, such as walking or running. However, its critically important we retain our lean muscle mass, as the more muscle mass we have, the more effective we are at burning calories, as well as burning fat, Carol explains. The most effective and lasting results for improved body composition come from regular strength training and a cardio strategy that includes both steady state-exercise and high-intensity interval training . Put all of this together on a regular basis, and youll set yourself up for long term success and sustained longevity.
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Avoid Hormone Disrupting Chemicals
The first step is to avoid exposure to any and all chemicals that are known hormone disruptors. Avoid using plastics whenever possible, stay away from junk foods that have chemical additives and other toxins in them, and buy organic produce exclusively, as many pesticides used to grow conventional crops contain hormone-disrupting chemicals. Take an honest look at what you consume on a daily basisboth in your mouth and on your skinand eliminate all unnatural products and foods that may contain hormone-disrupting toxins.
Find A Friend Or A Group To Exercise With
To attack belly fat and any other menopause weight gain, youll need to burn between 400 and 500 calories most days of the week from cardiovascular exercise, such as walking briskly, jogging, bicycling, dancing, or swimming, Peeke says. Need motivation? Find a friend who needs to exercise as much as you do, and set a date to work out together. Research published in April 2015 in the British Journal of Health Psychology found that actively looking for a new workout partner and exercising together is beneficial for both exercise and emotional support.
If you dont have a buddy to join you on your weight loss mission, it may be time to try a group fitness class at your local gym or community center. Data published in November 2017 in the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine found that participating in regular group fitness classes resulted in a significant decrease in stress and a rise in physical, mental, and emotional quality of life compared with exercising regularly on your own or not engaging in regular exercise at all.
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Reducing Stressed Belly Fat
Its clear that its a bad thing to have chronically elevated cortisol. Even professional athletes and fitness models can develop a stress belly if they have elevated cortisol all the time. Those who suffer from anxiety and depression generally have higher amounts of cortisol . If you suffer from either of these mental health disorders it may be a good idea to seek professional help.
But there are some simple proven strategies you can use to lower your stress, anxiety, and depression. Eating healthier foods plays a big role in the health of your brain . Constantly eating bad foods wreaks havoc on your mental biochemistry promoting anxiety and depression . Cut out the junk like processed foods, sugar, artificial sweeteners, refined carbs, excess alcohol, and bad vegetable oils.
Working out and exercising has been proven again and again to improve mood . Exercise and other physical activity done daily is a smart way to lower your stress, anxiety and depression. It might be a better idea to stay away from intense exercise since it can temporarily boost cortisol . Also, be sure youre not overtraining as this can lead to more cortisol in your body .
I know its easier said than done but staying away from stressful situations is key. Its not always practical but it can go a long way to lowering your stress and stubborn stomach fat.
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What Hormonal Imbalances Can Cause Belly Fat
- Thyroid: The thyroid gland secretes hormones that control metabolism, a process by which the body consumes energy. When your thyroid doesnt produce enough thyroid hormones , most body processes slow down, which leads to weight gain, especially around the abdomen. According to the American Thyroid Association, weight gain due to hypothyroidism may be caused by a buildup of salt and water as opposed to a buildup of fat.
- Cortisol: Cortisol is released in response to stressful situations. When you are agitated, your body goes into flight-or-fight or survival mode, triggered by the secretion of cortisol by the adrenal gland. Increased cortisol can lead to the accumulation of fat around the abdomen.
- Leptin: Leptin helps you feel full after a meal. However, when leptin levels increase and lead to leptin resistance, this can cause increased food intake and fat accumulation in the abdomen.
- Estrogen: Low testosterone levels may reduce libido and increase abdominal fat in both men and women.
- Testosterone: Low testosterone levels in males decrease growth and increase fat accumulation in the body. Increased testosterone levels in females increase insulin resistance, which leads to the accumulation of abdominal fat.
What Causes Hormonal Belly Fat
Your body attempts to maintain a very delicate hormonal balance to make sure everything is running optimally. But for one reason or another, your hormones can get out of sync due to your diet, lack of activity, or lifestyle factors. Plus as you age your belly fat-burning hormones will also gradually go downhill.
Middle age women notoriously suffer from hormonal belly fat. Perimenopause, menopause, birth control and PCOS can all go off hormone levels leading to excess weight gain in the stomach.
Having stomach fat might not only be physically unsightly but it could very well lead to serious health problems like heart disease, fatty liver disease, and metabolic syndrome . High blood pressure and diabetes are also linked to the hormone cortisol .
Abdominal visceral fat is the worse as it surrounds and places pressure on your organs. Subcutaneous belly fat isnt that bad for your health as it lies right underneath your skin. But its safe to say that losing belly fat will improve your appearance and your health.
What does hormonal belly fat look like?
There are a few common characteristics that indicate you might be dealing with hormonal belly fat. If you have any of the following, then its time to take a closer look at your hormone levels.
Some hormonal belly symptoms include:
- still feeling hungry after eating
- majority of hormonal weight gain is in the belly
- cravings for sugar, starches, and high glycemic carbohydrates
- high hunger levels throughout the day
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Hormones That Cause Belly Fat
Having a stressed out hormonal belly can seem super complicated. Its not going to be as simple as counting your calories and exercising more. Your hormones play a vital role in your metabolism and how much weight youre able to lose . If your hormones are out of control then you could be doing everything else right but not getting the results you want.
Ive seen bodybuilders and professional athletes who were unable to get rid of the last of their stomach fat because of hormonal issues. They worked out for hours every day and ate super healthy but their stubborn stress belly refused to go away.
Here are the hormones you should be aware of that can cause abdominal fat
Leptin is known as the anti-starvation hormone and its probably the hormone that plays the biggest role in fat loss . Its released from your fat cells that signal for your brain to start burning or store more fat. In general, the more leptin you have then the faster youre going to lose fat . And since leptin is produced in your fat cells those who are overweight tend to have more of it.
But another problem with having high cortisol levels is it produces leptin resistance . This keeps leptin from doing its job at signaling for your body to burn more fat. And if youre severely cutting calories then your body will release less leptin . This is a survival mechanism that keeps you from losing more weight to keep you alive until you can eat food again.
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You Dont Feel Satiated After Eating
If you now feel like a meal that used to fill you up isnt doing the job and is leaving you wanting more, it could be a sign that your sex hormones are indirectly impacting your main metabolism-regulating hormones. Estrogen and testosterone are the two main hormones at play here.
If your estrogen levels are low, you may not feel as satisfied after a meal. This is because of the impact estrogen has on leptin, your satiety hormone. Leptin is the hormone that tells your brain you are full. The more leptin you have circulating in your system, the more satiated youll feel after your meal, and the less likely youll feel the urge to reach for seconds.
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Cutting Out Unhealthy Fats
Another step you should take towards rebalancing your hormones is limiting or cutting out all types of unhealthy fats. This means that highly processed foods and other sources of trans fats should be avoided as much as possible. Sources of saturated fat like fatty meats and high fat dairy should be limited, and most of your fat should come from heart-healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, and oily fish.
Simple Ways To Effectively Lose Hormonal Belly Fat Backed By Science
Around menopause most women experience a frustrating accumulation of belly fat but, you dont have to keep it!
Science shows you can effectively lose hormonal belly fat with a healthy lifestyle. Here are the details on what exactly a healthy lifestyle to lose belly fat looks like in fact, its used by some of the countrys leading expert Dieticians and Exercise Physiologists. Are you ready to get rid of that belly fat? Lets start your journey to better health. Here are 3 simple ways to effectively lose hormonal belly fat, that are backed by science.
Exercise Physiologist, Carol Espel explains that Things shift when you start to go through menopause, but your ability to shape that is in your hands. Theres something you can do about it! Carol is the Fitness and Program Director at Pritikin Longevity Center who works with many guests struggling with belly fat. She knows exactly what works.
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Change Your Lifestyle And Combine Different Methods
Just doing one of the items on this list wont have a big effect on its own.
If you want good results, you need to combine different methods that have been shown to be effective.
Interestingly, many of these methods are things generally associated with healthy eating and an overall healthy lifestyle.
Therefore, changing your lifestyle for the long term is the key to losing your belly fat and keeping it off.
When you have healthy habits and eat real food, fat loss tends to follow as a natural side effect.
Losing weight and keeping it off is difficult unless you permanently change your dietary habits and lifestyle.
What Causes A Stressed
Even though stress plays a major role in the buildup of stubborn belly fat that doesnt mean its everything. Your diet and exercise usually have the biggest impact on the size of your lower stomach fat. Then genetics is also a factor as many people have a natural pear-shaped body. Those with an apple-shaped body tend to have worse heart health .
As you age your muscle mass decreases causing your body fat to increase . Having a higher body fat will cause you to quickly store excess fat in places your genetics predisposed to . Since many people tend to gain weight as they age this will also contribute to increases in abdominal fat .
Is belly fat caused by stress?
But with that said your stress also can have a hidden role in the build-up of stomach fat. Constant stress releases the fight or flight response hormone called cortisol . Cortisol is a well-known stress hormone that your body releases when you feel threatened .
With this cortisol pumping through your body youll be better adapted to escape an emergency or fight off a threat. Now its fine if cortisol is going through your body once in a while but when its constant then it becomes a problem. Cortisol can signal for your body to start storing fat in your abdominal area even if youre skinny .
Another problem that arises from having stomach fat is it causes an increase in cortisol . Having visceral fat creates an unhealthy cycle of constant cortisol that especially affects women.
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Limit Added Sugar And High
Consuming too much added sugar is associated with excess weight thats likely to accumulate around your waist. Sugar-sweetened beverages and drinking too much fruit juice can be particularly harmful.
When we drink our calories, especially with soda or juice, we dont feel as full or satisfied compared to chewing those calories, notes Dr. Creel. For instance, you may eat three oranges for the same amount of calories as a large glass of orange juice and feel much fuller for a longer period of time.
Watch how much of these liquid calories you consume and try to cut back where you can.
Exercise And Strength Training
Exercises that increase your heart rate and make you sweat help you lose weight in general both visceral fat and the fat under your skin. Aerobic exercise burns overall calories and helps you reduce total body fat, especially if you make changes in your diet at the same time.
Dr. Creel says the key to losing visceral fat seems to lie in a combination approach. He suggests building a cardio routine of at least 150 minutes per week while adding two to three days per week of whole-body strength training.
Any added muscle will increase our calorie burn at rest, whereas cardiovascular exercise will give our metabolism a boost during and for a short time after exercise, Dr. Creel explains. Exercise may also have indirect positive benefits on weight by helping us sleep better and manage emotional eating.
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Keep Emotional Eating In Check
Its tempting to want to deal with changing hormones through emotional eating. Fluctuating emotions make that late-night nosedive into the ice cream even more appealing than normal.
Trying to shed extra weight in menopause doesnt mean you have to deprive yourself of everything, but you should monitor when you get the urge to binge on junk food and try to regulate your emotions in healthier ways.
Distract yourself, practice self-care, and become aware of whether or not your body is actually hungry.