Our hormones regulate functions throughout our bodies. Weight gain hormones may be overactive in our bodies if we’re having difficulty losing weight. To re-balance weight gain hormones, luckily there is much we can do.
Our habits are formed and influenced through imitation – of our peers, the media, and our upbringing. But we need not be stuck in habits that are unhealthy. We can choose healthier habits for ourselves each day.
Here are several that we can adopt to help with hormone re-balancing :
Take Time To Educate
Knowing which hormones can cause weight gain is a start. We can then ask for our levels to be checked by a specialist who cares about helping us lose weight.
A comprehensive list:
- Estrogen – Both high and low levels can cause weight gain.
- Cortisol – High levels can add weight.
- Progesterone – Must be in balance to avoid weight gain
- Testosterone – Women have smaller amounts than men. If lowered can cause an increase in fat accumulation. Weight gain can also be caused by a testosterone imbalance in men.
- The Thyroid – produces three hormones (T3, T4, and calcitonin). The wrong quantities can lead to hypothyroidism, related to weight gain.
- Growth Hormones – Levels in people who are obese are lower than in people of normal weight.
- Aldosterone – obesity, and aldosterone excess are common.
- DHEA – This natural steroid can cause weight gain if out of balance. (1,2,3,4)
After visiting a specialist we can re-balance weight gain hormones by visiting regularly for check-ins.
Commit To Balance Hormones
Hormones work together to increase or decrease appetite and fat storage. A commitment to ourselves and a determination to be more aware of what our bodies are trying to tell us is a great habit. We can be more aware of conditions such as amenorrhea (absence of menstruation,) PMS, perimenopause and menopause, irregular periods, or adrenal dysfunction. And we can make the commitment to take a whole-body approach to hormone health. (17)
There is evidence to suggest that exercise can retrain the body to shed body fat and keep it off. Studies have also shown that weight loss as a result of exercise leads to improved insulin resistance and beneficial modulation of obesity hormones (2).
Eating a Mediterranean diet can aid weight loss or a low-glycemic diet is a sensible approach to weight loss. The Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits and vegetables, which are high in vitamins and phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are compounds that influence hormone balance. (5,6)
Poor sleep can also throw hormones into an array, making it difficult to lose weight. Total or partial sleep deprivation results in increased sympathetic nervous activity, increased levels of cortisol in the evening, and increased levels of growth hormone (GH) in the daytime. This leads to increased insulin resistance, reduced glucose tolerance, and weight gain. Try to get 6-8 hours of sleep per day. (7)
Stress can cause us to produce too much cortisol. If we are constantly stressed, we may produce more or less estrogen or testosterone, causing an imbalance in our thyroid gland. Stress management is a critical part of weight loss. (8)
Meditation can help us realize that we are not our thoughts, urges, or food cravings, by allowing us to observe our minds without judgment. With mindfulness meditation in particular we can choose not to label our cravings as good or bad, but instead strip them of their power to control us. Meditation naturally floods our brain with pleasure hormone chemicals (Serotonin and norepinephrine,) eliminating the need for food as a pick-me-up. (9)
Many diets fail to work because they fail to address the hormonal root causes of weight loss resistance and issues with the adrenal system. Menopause is when a woman’s reproductive hormones decline. After menopause, women tend to gain weight around the midsection (visceral fat).
At this point in life, it’s important to control our diets, including cutting out processed foods and sodas. (11,12)
Gaining weight after quitting smoking is a concern. While most people do put on some weight when they quit, it is usually only a modest amount. Overall it is still worth it to quit cigarettes as Nicotine has complex effects on hormones, with smokers having a higher percentage of visceral fat than nonsmokers. (13,14)
Alcohol can cause weight gain by preventing our bodies from burning fat. It contains a lot of calories, makes us hungry, and can lead to poor food choices. Alcohol causes hormonal disturbances that can lead to endocrine and thyroid disruption and consequences at physiological and behavioral levels. (15,16)
Sugar impacts both blood sugar and hormone levels. Hyperglycemia, or persistently elevated blood sugar, can cause harm to our bodies, including weight gain. Similarly, high-carbohydrate diets are linked to leptin resistance, which increases appetite and contributes to weight gain and excess body fat. Sugar can negatively affect the hormone level of leptin, by decreasing it, in turn initiating and maintaining obesity. (20,21)
Increase Leptin Levels
Leptin is a hormone secreted by fat cells that regulate how our bodies store and burn energy. The higher our leptin levels, the better chance we have of avoiding and reversing hormonal weight gain. Eating foods like berries and leafy green vegetables raises leptin levels, making it easier for our bodies to burn fat. (22,24)
Leptin interacts with another hormone, ghrelin, which signals hunger. These are referred to as hunger hormones because they control how frequently and how much you want to eat. We can balance ghrelin by eating lots of protein and healthy fat. (22)
Listen To Music
Cortisol levels do not rise as much when soothing music is played according to researchers. We can keep our cortisol levels down by listening to some of our favorite tunes and listening to soothing music leads to better sleep habits. (18,19)
Fast For Shorter Periods
If you enjoy fasting to lose weight, make sure you don’t fast for too long. The longer you go without eating, the more fat the body stores for future energy. This may cause efforts to backfire. To make this weight loss method effective, keep fasting periods to 8 hours or less. Studies have demonstrated that fasts over 24 hours can dramatically increase NPY levels. Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is a hormone produced by cells in the brain and nervous system which stimulates appetite. It is highest during periods of food deprivation. (23,25)
Know About PCOS
If you’ve tried most of the above, to no avail, you may have an underlying condition such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). This condition is distinguished by cysts that form on the ovaries causing an increase in testosterone levels in women while causing estrogen and progesterone levels to fluctuate.
Balancing testosterone and insulin levels with dietary changes and supplements helps.
Weight gain can be caused by a variety of factors. However, if you haven’t considered that hormones may be the cause of some of your weight gain, now is the time to start thinking of that possibility, and to think about how you may rebalance weight gain hormones. Click here to learn more about balancing hormones to bring weight into balance.