Are you trying to lose weight? Have you been exercising non-stop, dieting and starving yourself and tried numerous weight loss programs with no results? If you are taking all the right steps and working hard to lose weight but you seem to be gaining weight instead, then you might be suffering from a hormonal imbalance. One of the most common imbalances occurs when estrogen levels are too high, which can increase the growth of fatty tissue and contribute to water retention and bloating. A few other hormones also influence our appetite, metabolism and body fat distribution and they include leptin, insulin and human growth hormone.
Estrogen is widely known as the female sex hormone as it is predominantly created in the ovaries, but a little-known fact is that your adrenal glands can also make this hormone. In women, estrogen is responsible for reproduction, menstruation, menopause and sex drive. In men, estrogen contributes to bone and blood health as well as their sex drive. Excess estrogen in a woman’s body can increase the risk of breast cancer, uterine cancer and depression. As it relates to exercise, estrogen may also play a significant role in muscle recovery and brain health. This hormone impacts how fat is stored in the body, which means that an excess of estrogen can lead to more fat storage in both males and females.
Insulin is a hormone that is produced in the pancreas and is responsible for the regulation of carbohydrates and the metabolism of fat. Insulin encourages the absorbance of glucose (sugar) into the blood stream, which ensures that you have energy available to go about your day. When there is too much insulin the body can become resistant and will no longer be able to control glucose levels, which can eventually lead to the development of type 2 diabetes.
So how do you know if you are overweight because of a hormone imbalance? Here are some symptoms to keep an eye out for and share with your healthcare provider to determine if a hormonal imbalance is the reason you are not losing weight:
- Extreme fatigue and very low energy levels
- Anxiety, irritability and depression
- Trouble sleeping or insomnia
- In women, heightened PMS symptoms like headaches, cramping and moodiness
- In women, heavy or irregular periods
- Weight gain
- Decreased sex drive and infertility
When you experience symptoms of a hormonal imbalance it can throw your whole routine for a loop – fatigue and moodiness can lead to insomnia and so on. This vicious cycle of not feeling well will ultimately contribute to even more weight gain because you won’t be motivated to eat healthy or exercise. So, what can you do to naturally balance your hormones and get back to feeling healthy so you can continue to lose weight? Here are a few tips:
- Avoid eating processed or sugary foods and make a conscious decision to drink water instead of sweetened drinks like soda and juice.
- Fill up on healthy, fresh and organic fruits and vegetables every day. There are many ways you can prepare and cook vegetables with delicious spices so that your meals are full of flavor and satisfying.
- Include plenty of whole grains and lean protein in your diet to feel full and energized.
- Stay active and engage in different forms of exercise often to keep your heart healthy and to avoid excess weight gain. In addition to regular cardio exercise like jogging, swimming or walking you should also include strength training into your routine so you can build muscle and promote healthy bones.
- Manage your stress levels by indulging in self-care, meditation, yoga and journaling.
- Try to get a good night of sleep every night! Shut off your electronics at least an hour before you go to bed, keep your bedroom cool and dark, use a sound machine if necessary and do what you need to feel calm before bed so you can have a restful night.
Hormones are responsible for many of the major processes that take place in our bodies, and when they get out of balance the symptoms can widely vary, but they are always unpleasant. If you are having a hard time losing weight and you are gaining weight instead, you may be experiencing a hormonal balance. A hormonal imbalance, if left untreated, can cause serious complications so it’s important to speak to your healthcare provider as soon as possible and seek treatment. If you are looking for ways to lose weight and meet your personal health goals follow our blog for interesting tips and tricks, learn about our clinic or contact us to see how we can help you.