Everyone knows the two important steps toward losing weight: eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly. By doing these things, you can trim the excess pounds and become overall healthier.
However, losing weight, to some people, is not as simple. There are those who, despite their best efforts, cannot slim down to their ideal weight. Usually, the inability to maintain a healthy weight is a sign that an unaddressed illness prevents their body from responding to efforts to slim down.
Several conditions lead to weight gain, including diabetes, cirrhosis, kidney problems, and certain cancers. Some medications also list weight gain as one of the side effects.
But, one common reason behind the inability to lose weight is hormone imbalance.
Your Hormones Control Your Body
Women are already well aware of how their hormones influence their life. Before their periods, many women experience mood swings, fatigue, food cravings, and bloating, among other symptoms. This is called premenstrual syndrome (PMS). An estimated 3 of every 4 menstruating women suffer from these symptoms regularly.
PMS occurs because, according to research, the levels of hormones in the body change. Serotonin, the hormone that plays a role in regulating a person’s moods, is involved in PMS. When there are insufficient amounts of serotonin in the brain, women experience symptoms of PMS.
However, everyone is at the mercy of their hormones. Men, too, have hormones, and the smallest fluctuations can lead to a variety of symptoms.
Hormones control almost all functions of your body, from your growth and development to moods and emotions. These hormones are released by the endocrine system’s glands, traveling through the blood to deliver commands to your skin, organs, muscles, and other tissues.
Sometimes, these glands do not function as they should. They can produce too much or too little of certain hormones that interfere with the regular activities of your body. Stress, certain illnesses, and some medications can lead to hormone imbalance.
Your Hormones and Your Weight
Hormones, too, control your weight. According to previous research, your hormones determine your appetite and how much fat your body stores. So, if you want to lose weight, you have to also monitor certain hormones.
Take leptin, for example. It is considered to be the “satiety hormone.” Its role is to tell the hypothalamus, the part of your brain responsible for appetite, that you are full and no longer need to eat. It prevents you from overeating.
People who are obese have a higher amount of leptin in their blood, but they are gaining more weight instead of eating less. Their bodies have grown resistant to the effects of leptin, and, therefore, no signal tells them they should stop eating.
On the other hand, hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. These hormones regulate the process of how cells use energy generated from food, also known as metabolism. When the thyroid glands underperform, your metabolism slows down. Your body lacks the energy to maintain regular functions, causing, among other symptoms, weight gain and difficulty losing weight.
It is a very common disorder that affects millions of people across the United States. When a person has extremely low amounts of thyroid hormones in their body, they are at risk of myxedema, a life-threatening condition. They may end up in a coma or die because of it.
Meanwhile, the role of ghrelin, known as the “hunger hormone,” is to tell the hypothalamus that it is time to eat. Its level is at its highest before a meal and lowest after a meal. In people who are overweight or obese, the levels of ghrelin only decrease slightly after a meal. As a result, the hypothalamus does not receive a strong signal that the person should stop eating. They overeat.
For women, the hormone estrogen could be the culprit behind weight gain. While estrogen regulates the reproductive system, too much or too little can make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight.
Women who are obese tend to have higher levels of estrogen in their bodies. However, during menopause, when the ovaries produce less estrogen, women may also experience weight gain and find it more challenging to lose weight.
Finding the Balance Again
If you are gaining weight or having difficulty losing weight, you should check with a doctor to see if the problem stems from hormonal imbalance. An underlying illness could be causing it and needs to be treated with medication.
Otherwise, you need to make major lifestyle changes. You need to change your diet, exercise regularly, sleep at least seven hours a day, get some sun, or find ways to better manage your stress levels.
Your hormones are behind almost every function in your body. It influences your actions and emotions. When they go uncontrolled, bad things happen. You will experience a variety of symptoms. You can restore the balance of hormones in your body by addressing an existing medical condition and making healthy lifestyle choices.