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Are Your Hormones Making You Fat?

We tend to compartmentalize our hormones and our diet into separate areas of health. But did you know they actually work together? And in some cases, can actually work against each other! If you feel you’re doing everything right with your diet and exercise routine, but still aren’t shedding the pounds, your hormones could be the cause.

Hormones are important to all body functions and play a significant role in your ability to lose and maintain a healthy weight. There are many hormonal imbalances that can occur in the body such as: elevated insulin, elevated cortisol, elevated or decreased estrogen, low testosterone, low DHEA, and hypothyroidism.
It is important to recognize possible imbalances that may be occurring in the body and correct them in order to reach your weight loss goals.

Elevated Insulin
Insulin, or the fat storage hormone, has a very important job. It processes sugar in the bloodstream and carries it to your cells where it’s either used for energy or stored. Elevated levels of insulin can be caused by excess consumption of carbohydrates.

A diet high in carbohydrates, such as processed foods and sugary beverages, in combination with a low protein and low fiber intake, can lead to fat storage, weight gain, and high insulin levels.

Poor diet along with lack of exercise, alcohol consumption, stress, and high blood pressure can lead to chronically high levels of insulin and the development of Type 2 diabetes.

Chronic Cortisol
High levels of cortisol can be harmful to your health. Studies indicate that a high stress level can contribute to the accumulation of belly fat. Cortisol levels are higher in people who suffer from conditions such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, and excessive fatigue.

Not only does elevated cortisol lead to belly fat, it also increases appetite and cravings. This is why people turn to “comfort foods” when feeling significant amounts of stress!

What is the best way to combat high cortisol? Get some sleep! At least 7 hours a night. It is also important to eat a high protein breakfast and find an outlet for all that stress. Activities such as yoga, meditation or even taking a long walk can help decrease stress.

Estrogen
Both men and women naturally produce estrogen. In men, an excess of belly fat can cause testosterone to be converted to estrogen.

As a man’s estrogen level rises so does the fat accumulation. In women, both excess estrogen and low estrogen can contribute to weight gain and difficulty maintaining a healthy weight. Estrogen levels fluctuate as a woman goes through phases of her reproductive life.

What can be done if you suspect an estrogen imbalance? Get your hormones tested. Testing can identify if an estrogen imbalance exists and what methods of treatment would be best. Also it is important to eat a healthy diet including green tea, flax seed, and chia seeds. All of these products can assist the body in processing extra estrogen.

Low Testosterone
Aging, increased stress and abdominal fat can all contribute to low testosterone levels. This decrease can lead to conditions such as depression, obesity, decreased sex drive, heart disease and loss of muscle tone.
Simple hormone testing can identify a low level of testosterone. When levels are corrected, it has been shown to decrease body fat and improve stamina, muscle mass, and libido. A healthy diet high in lean protein, plus weight-bearing exercise can help naturally increase testosterone levels.

Missing DHEA
There is much talk these days about DHEA, but what exactly is it? DHEA is a precursor hormone secreted by the adrenal glands that can be converted into testosterone or estrogen in the body. DHEA levels typically hit their peak in our 20’s and then naturally decline as we age.

DHEA is responsible for many important functions including the body’s ability to burn fat and keep it off. Low DHEA levels can be detected in hormone testing. Correcting an imbalance can improve libido, energy, and weight loss.

Thyroid Gland
The thyroid gland is responsible for producing hormones that regulate the body’s metabolic rate, heart and digestive function, muscle control, brain development, and bone maintenance. The thyroid gland can become overactive (hyperthyroidism) or underactive (hypothyroidism).

These conditions can be quite dangerous and cause many unpleasant symptoms. For patients suffering from hypothyroidism, weight gain is a common side effect. Thyroid conditions can be safely treated with medication.

Get Yourself Checked
At Victory Weight Loss and Wellness, we can help you better understand your current hormone levels and identify problem areas with a simple blood test. Our Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy programs are customized for your individual goals and needs. If you or someone you know is suffering from hormonal imbalance, contact our office today for more information.