Wednesday, July 17, 2024

How To Lose Weight With Hormones

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You Cannot Lose Weight

The Easy Way to Lose Weight – Hormonal Balance

Now, I am not talking about downing four chocolate biscuits each night and then not knowing why the scales wont budge… But rather the scenario in which you are eating fewer calories, exercising more, and yet nothing changes on the scales.

While this may also be explained by issues with calorie intake or training inefficiently, if you consistently consume fewer calories than you burn, it is worth exploring if there’s any medical explanation as to why the weight won’t move.

Not only can fluctuations in oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels impact weight, but gradual increases in insulin levels over time too can block fat metabolism. To explore these hormone levels in more detail, seek the advice of a GP who specialises in womens health. Or even better, an endocrinologist.

Working out but not seeing results? Image: iStock.

Leptin Your Fullness Hormone

If ghrelin is the hunger hormone, then leptin is the satiety hormone because of the role it plays in regulating fullness.

Leptin is produced by your fat cells.

Under normal circumstances, leptin travels through your bloodstream to your brain, where it basically says: Put down the fork. Youre full!

People who are overweight or obese may have as much as four times the amount of leptin in their blood versus their normal weight peers.

You might be wondering:

Leptin is responsible for reducing appetite. Overweight and obese people tend to have far higher levels of leptin in their blood.

Doesnt that mean it should be easier for them to avoid overeating?

Not exactly.

Anytime you have too much of a hormone circulating in your system, your brain tends to tune it out.

So even though obese people have a relatively high amount of leptin in their bloodstream, their brain doesnt recognize it. This is known as leptin resistance.

When your brain doesnt receive a signal from leptin, it immediately thinks youre starving.

And as a result your brain quite literally COMMANDS you to eat and eat and eat and eat.

Leptin resistance helps to explain why it can be so difficult to lose weight.

Its NOT because you dont have the willpower to control your eating habits.

Its NOT because you dont exercise.

Its NOT because you have bad genes.

If you struggle to lose weight its very likely because leptin resistance has caused your brain to believe youre starving to death.

It All Starts With Detox

There is a lot to consider when addressing your hormonal imbalances: sleep, exercise, meal frequency, etc. The first thing you should focus on, however, is eating the right foods to flush your body of toxins.

Particular foods cause the digestive tract to become irritated, which in turn sets the balance of your hormones off. When this happens, it encourages random food cravings, even when your body doesnt need the fuel. If youre eating when you shouldnt be and your hormones are already unbalanced, youll be accumulating fat and preventing it from leaving.

A proper diet can help detox your body with foods that have beneficial anti inflammatory properties. You can find plenty of more information on how to naturally detox your body in my e-book The Detox Guide.

Food to Avoid

Dr. Turner recommends that if you are allergic to any type of food, even on a relatively harmless level, cut it from your diet. You should also keep away from foods that have a high glycemic index, as they will encourage the food cravings described above. These include foods that are rich in carbs and sugar like white bread, soda, baked goods, pasta and most processed foods.

Food to Eat

A rule of thumb, according to Dr. Turner, is to eat food with low glycemic index to keep hormones balanced. Foods that are high in fiber such as bananas, artichokes, raisins, oatmeal, beans and nuts will help keep your digestive tract from irritation.

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Address The Cause Not The Symptoms

When your clients ask you about hormones and weight loss, help them understand the difference between symptoms and causes.

Many hormone imbalances are symptoms of weight gain, which triggers proinflammatory responses that affect the bodys output of insulin, cortisol, thyroid hormones, estrogen, testosterone and many other hormones. To lose weight, your clients dont need to balance their hormones with fancy supplements, detox diets or medication.

They can achieve success by adopting an integrated wellness plan and addressing lifestyle factors such as lack of sleep and chronic stress. At the end of the day, compliance is king. Ultimately, as clients move along in their weight loss journey, finding a fitness strategy they can maintain over the long term is the key.

Hormone Balance For Weight Loss: Fact Or Fiction

Outsmarting Your Hungry Hormones

Originally appeared in the spring 2019 issue of the American Fitness Magazine.

A quick online search for weight loss strategies reveals a plethora of hormone-balancing diets, supplements and medications. The premise behind these products is that hormonestiny chemical messengers that regulate physiological processesget out of balance, causing weight gain or foiling attempts to lose weight.

That seems like a reasonable claim, but is it true? What should you say when clients ask about hormones and weight management? In this article, well provide answers on the links between body weight and five of the most talked about hormone imbalances: those relating to insulin, cortisol, the thyroid hormones, testosterone and estrogen. Ill review the science and outline nutrition and exercise strategies to help your clients overcome weight loss plateaus and succeed at long-term weight loss.

The hormone issues discussed below often fade away with proper diet, exercise, sleep and stress management. Supplements and specialized diets typically address the symptoms of hormone imbalances, not the causes. Your clients may get better results if they understand the difference between the two.

Lets dive in!

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Targeting Specific Fat Areas

Sometimes people have fat deposits that are more problematic than others. Stubborn areas might seem to always remain chubby because of biological misfortunes. There are certain types of supplements and food that you can use to target individual fat areas. And here is what Dr. Turner recommends:

The Belly

We all have ab muscles, its the fat on the stomach that keeps them from showing. Studies have suggested that too much cortisol could be a major factor behind the accumulation of stomach fat. Holy basil is an Indian herb that helps maintain healthy cortisol levels and is commonly taken in capsule form. Foods for reducing cortisol include spinach, citrus, nuts, beans and barley.

Further reading: read my previous article about 10 warning signs you have high cortisol level and how to lower it. Also find here exercises to get a flat tummy that you can easily do at home.

The Back

Fat on the back and upper trunk is less common than stomach fat but equally as challenging to take on. Its also a likely indication that you have high insulin levels. Foods containing conjugated linoleic acid such as milk, yogurt, cheese and beef will help. You should also lean toward whole-grain options and green vegetables.

The Butt

Some people like big butts, but everyone has a limit. If you have excess body fat on your bottom, it could be due to high levels of estrogen. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are high in estrogen-blocking phytochemicals.

How Bodily Hormones Can Affect Weight Loss

The endocrine system is a collection of organs that produce and regulate hormones in the body. There are several conditions that result from chemical imbalances in the body, whether thats over- or under-production.

Whatever the case may be, its essential to know how bodily chemicals can affect weight loss, as they can significantly reduce the effectiveness of regular exercising and stunt progress. Whether the effects are significant or subtle, its best to know how the body works and what you can do to mitigate any adverse effects.

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Balancing Hormones For Weight Loss

Insulin, leptin, cortisol, and insulin are all hormones involved in metabolic rates and appetite control. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, your lifestyle choices, including your food habits, exercise routines, sleep patterns, and stress levels, can heavily influence these hormones.

Here are the top hormones that affect your weight loss journey and the different ways to balance each one.

The Bottom Line: You Have To To Address Your Hormone Imbalances

Balance hormones to lose weight – how to get weight gain hormones in women under control

Now you know the “whys” of your broken metabolism, these are reasons regular diets don’t address the root cause of your weight gain. Hormones dictate what your body does with food. Talk to a doctor about fixing your hormones, and your body will slim down without any extra effort from you.

From the book The Hormone Reset Diet: Balance Your Hormones and Lose Up to 15 Pounds in Just 3 Weeks!

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Hormones Matter: Doctor Shares Weight

A new strategy for weight loss doesn’t focus on working out more or limiting your portions: Instead, the method revolves around making sure you’re eating the right food for your hormones.

Special anchor Maria Shriver spoke to physician and author Dr. Sara Gottfried about the tactic, which she says works especially well for women who are trying to lose weight for good.

“Your food actually regulates your hormones,” Gottfried said. “So if you’re trying to reduce calories, as an example, to manage your weight, that is a course of failure. Calories matter, but hormones matter more.”

Gottfried said that instead of first thinking about hormones in their 50s and 60s, women should start thinking about them, especially in relation to their diet, at a much younger age. In her new book “Women, Food and Hormones,” Gottfried laid out a four-week plan that can help women achieve hormonal balance, based on her own experience trying to lose weight.

Eat Smaller More Frequent Meals

Hypothyroidism often slows digestive function, causing your body to hang on to fat instead of burning it for energy. Changing the standard three meals a day into smaller, more frequent meals can support your metabolism and balance blood sugar levels. Eating later in the day, when your metabolism is naturally slower, can impede your weight loss efforts, too.

Keeping a food diary or journal can help you remember exactly what you ate and when. Journaling allows you to go back to see what foods you ate on days you felt unwell. Working with a registered dietitian or nutritionist can help you best figure out how to make each of your smaller meals as impactful as possible.

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Hormones That Lower Appetite And Cravings

Leptin is a fascinating hormone that was only discovered in 1994 and since then has generated much interest in the area of weight loss. Leptin is made by fat cells and will signal the brain to lower our appetite and increase metabolism. Leptin increases with weight gain, which sounds good, but similar to insulin, as we gain weight and make more leptin, we become more and more resistant to its beneficial effects. When I treat someone with insulin resistance I just assume they have leptin resistance as well and treat both.

Several hormones affect our mood, sleep, and appetite. The key players are melatonin , serotonin , dopamine , and GABA . Melatonin is our main nighttime hormone, helping to promote restful sleep and the production of other hormones such as thyroid and growth hormone. Melatonin levels decline by age 45-50 and many people start having sleep disturbances around this age.

Serotonin deficiency is the cause of low mood and certain foods such as sugar and high-glycemic foods will temporarily stimulate serotonin. Dopamine is our pleasure hormone being associated with cravings, appetite and activities such as sex. Stimulant drugs increase dopamine and lead to the high associated with them. GABA influences mood by calming the brain, balancing the effects of dopamine and serotonin, thus promoting restful sleep and a calm controlled mood. Proper support of this family of hormones will support controlled appetite and cravings.

Think Seriously About Your Hormones


Many of us dont even think about our hormones not giving them a second thought with us putting on weight. And yet, these chemical messengers feature high on the list for how our body works and our general health. When our hormones are upset, they can cause chaos in the body. Women will know all about this chaos when they ride the hormonal roller coaster every month, experiencing PMS, heavy periods, mood swings, and even missing periods. Some women have had babies and their hormones have left them feeling depressed. And what about the symptoms that come along with menopause? Lots of women dont even want to talk about those symptoms!

Actually, there is very little that our amazing hormones dont do for us. The shape of our bodies, the quality of our sleep, how our digestive system serves us they involve our hormones. But we are also quick to use the excuse when someone is suffering from some malady, to say, Its just their hormones. But modern living today can lead to a lot of this hormonal chaos, throwing these precious workers in our body out of sync out of harmony.

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What Causes An Underactive Thyroid

This is a tough one to answer. An underactive thyroid can occur when your immune system attacks the thyroid gland and damages it , or when the gland is damaged in another way for example, as a result of certain medical treatments.

And, because symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, feeling cold, weight gain, depression and brain fog, its perhaps not surprising to hear that the condition can easily go undiagnosed.

Around 6-8% of women will experience subclinical hypothyroidism, says Lyn Mynott, chief executive of Thyroid UK. This is where they demonstrate symptoms of the condition but their levels of TSH have not gone out of range. Two percent, however, will have overt hypothyroidism. The truth is, though, because hypothyroidism is a slow burner, it is often misdiagnosed as depression. Although a womans risk increases with age, we are seeing the condition in all age groups.

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Midlife Fitness For Women

Your female clients have a lot of questions, and AFAAs Midlife Fitness for Women has the answers. In this online course, youll focus on the physiology of women during and past midlife, including the stages and symptoms associated with menopause and the potential long-term effects of estrogen deficiency . In addition, you will learn programming strategies for this population.


Agnihothri, R.V., et al. 2014. Moderate weight loss is sufficient to affect thyroid hormone homeostasis and inhibit its peripheral conversion. Thyroid, 24 , 1926.

Arent, S. 2018. Assessing body composition, performance metrics & biomarkers. Dr. Bubbs Performance Podcast, Season 2, Episode 12. Accessed Jan. 4, 2019:

Belfort, R., et al. 2005. Dose-response effect of elevated plasma free fatty acid on insulin signaling. Diabetes, 54 , 164048.

Boden, G., et al. 1991. Effects of fat on insulin-stimulated carbohydrate metabolism in normal men. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 88 , 96066.

Chao, A.M., et al. 2017. Stress, cortisol, and other appetite-related hormones: Prospective prediction of 6-month changes in food cravings and weight. Obesity , 25 , 71320.

Ferrannini, E., et al. 1983. Effect of fatty acids on glucose production and utilization in man. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 72 , 173747.

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Are There Preventative Steps Or Measures To Avoid Hormonal Weight Gain

Seeking early evaluation with an endocrinologist so the appropriate interventions can be started sooner will help with minimizing and possibly reversing hormonal weight gain. Additionally, improving dietary choices, increasing physical activity, getting more sleep, managing stress levels effectively, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol are all ways to decrease and avoid hormonal weight gain.

First Things First: Youve Gotta Get It Diagnosed

Girl Talk: How I Balanced My Hormones To Start Losing Weight Naturally!

If youre experiencing symptoms of hypothyroidismfatigue, unexplained weight gain, increased sensitivity to cold, constipation, and dry skinits time to see your doctor, who will do a blood test to determine your TSH levels.

After a diagnosis, youll likely start treatment for hypothyroidismand its a pretty straightforward approach: Youll be prescribed a cheap, safe, and effective synthetic hormone that replaces the one your body should be making on its own. The medication will restore normal levels of TSH.

Something to be wary of, though: at-home thyroid testing. Even if the results are reliable, it will likely be difficult for you to understand how to interpret the lab, or what action should be taken if you see an abnormal result, Dr. Isaacs adds.

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Whats The Best Way To Lose Belly Fat

Belly fat can accumulate due to a few reasons, including menopause-related hormonal changes in women. Dr. Maria Anton, an Endocrinologist cautions, We typically see that as a part of metabolic syndrome an increase in belly girth and we understand that insulin resistance is a key part of metabolic syndrome. Patients that might be struggling with belly fat would particularly benefit from learning about lifestyle changes that would potentially reducing their risk of cardiovascular disease, just based on their risk factor of having belly fat.

How Do I Balance My Hormonal Fluctuations To Lose Weight

There are several ways to balance your hormones to help you lose weight. The best way to pick a treatment plan for this is to have your hormone levels tested and talk to your doctor about hormone therapy. The best way to lose weight with a hormonal imbalance is to provide yourself with the best possible nutrition and daily activity. Depending on your unique hormone levels some vitamins and minerals may have a better effect on you than others.

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