Would you be surprised to know that the biggest obstacle to weight loss could be your hormones?
For me, what is always frustrating and depressing is following yet another weight loss or lifestyle plan, or adding a new supplement to the list and still not being able to shed those extra pounds.
I have discovered that I am not the only one with this issue, that it is a common trend especially for people over the age of 40. Endless streams of popular diets make well-meaning claims to entice us into trying their plan, investing our hopes, our time our energy and our dollars to try to achieve thinner versions of ourselves.
Many integrative practitioners are now finding that the culprits hampering our progress are not just poor diet and lack of exercise, although these certainly contribute to the problem. Often, the single biggest obstacle to weight loss may be our hormones, namely cortisol, insulin, vitamin d3 deficiency, thyroid, estrogen, and progesterone.
When our bodies are under stress, our adrenal glands produce hormones in order for us to respond to stress. The adrenal, or stress glands produce the hormones cortisol and DHEA, which create short- and long-term hormone responses. The adrenals also produce adrenalin, which stimulates the instant stress hormone response otherwise known as “fight or flight.”
Cortisol is produced in response to chronic stress. This is a major contributor to belly fat as it wreaks havoc on our insulin levels and sends messages to the body to store more fat around the midsection.
The job of insulin is to process sugar in the bloodstream and carry it into cells to be used. The sugar is then either used as an immediate fuel source, stored in the liver or muscles for a later energy source. If all the storage sites are already full, then it is stored as fat. Insulin resistance has become a major epidemic with more than 60 percent of the population facing this havoc on our metabolism.
Not only does too much insulin encourage your body to store unused glucose as fat, but it also blocks the use of stored fats as an energy source. For these reasons, an abnormally high insulin level makes losing fat, especially around the midsection, challenging.
An imbalanced thyroid is another major contributor to a sluggish metabolism. Responsible for regulating our metabolism, the thyroid is a common underlying cause of several annoying symptoms that can be easily regulated.
Symptoms such as weight gain, high cholesterol, cold intolerances, hair loss, dry skin, constipation, depression, menstrual irregularity, and much more can be an indication of a low functioning thyroid.
Of course, this journey would not be complete if we did not examine the effects of those female hormones on our metabolism. There is a dance that goes on between estrogen and progesterone throughout the cycle. One missed step and the body can dramatically falter.
A progesterone deficiency can cause a noticeable slowing of the metabolism and send the body into what is called “estrogen dominance.” Estrogen dominance simply means that you have too much estrogen in your system compared to the normal amounts of progesterone needed to oppose or balance. This is common in 30 to 40-year-old women and men. When estrogen is not balanced by progesterone, it can produce weight gain, headaches, moodiness, and a long list of symptoms that can be easily corrected.
To help find out if your hormones are barriers to weight loss and optimal health, consider getting our Weight Management Profile. If you suspect a thyroid imbalance you can include the thyroid panel for a special add-on price.