Healthy weight loss can be a challenge at the best of times. When you add in hormone imbalances – from stress, lack of sleep, poor diet, endocrine disrupting chemicals (to name just a few factors), or hormone fluctuations from the natural aging process, shedding extra pounds can become all the more difficult.
Diet and exercise are the go to variables we focus on for weight loss, but the third most overlooked variable is hormones. They regulate metabolism, energy levels, appetite, and fat storage.
Hormone Imbalances + Changes That Impact Weight Loss
Have you ever experienced stress eating? You can thank cortisol. Cortisol is not all bad, but when we are chronically stressed, with constantly elevated cortisol levels, the side effects include increased appetite, weight gain around the waist, and decreased muscle mass. Overtime, decrease in muscle mass also contributes to a slower metabolism.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome results in an imbalance of androgen hormones – higher testosterone and DHEA which signals the body to gain weight as a male would. Other symptoms include body hair growth, acne, irregular periods, and infertility. The elevated levels of androgens are due to insulin resistance. With PCOS, the body has a harder time using insulin to convert the sugars and starches from food into glucose (usable energy). The result is a build up of insulin in the bloodstream – which triggers androgen hormone production. PCOS is the most common hormone imbalance experienced by women during childbearing years.
Elevated estrogen levels are increasingly common because most endocrine disrupting chemicals we are exposed to exert estrogenic effects which create excess estrogen in the body. Regardless of why estrogen levels are high – estrogen dominance causes weight gain around the midsection of the body - thighs, butt, hips and belly. This becomes a vicious cycle – as fat cells from the weight gain then generate more estrogen.
Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid is not producing enough thyroid hormones to meet your body’s needs to function properly. Without sufficient thyroid hormone, metabolism and energy levels decline which can result in weight gain. Other side effects include slowed heart rate, fatigue, and depression – all of which can also contribute to difficulties losing weight – from being too tired or unmotivated to to exercise or regulate diet.
This is not an imbalance but a natural change! During peri/menopause estrogen drops because of progressive loss of ovarian function. Ovaries are one of the main places in the body where estrogen production takes place. Decrease in estrogen causes more fat to be stored in the body, especially around the waist. This is often coupled with a decrease in muscle mass – less muscle means lower metabolism and less energy burn. Emotional distress from hormone changes during peri/menopause can layer on additional factors that make weight loss difficult – from stress to depression, and lowered libido.
What You Can Do About It
If you feel like you may be experiencing a hormonal imbalance – test your hormones. Understanding the root cause of sudden weight gain, or reaching a plateau in your weight loss goals, can help you unlock the answers to getting back in balance, and functioning at your best.
Veracity’s Hormone Wellness Test measures five hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, and cortisol), but you can also test with a doctor, or take an at-home thyroid hormone test.
Depending on your symptoms, there are many natural supplements that can help with rebalancing hormones to help make weight loss less of a struggle. Veracity’s Metabolism Ignite supplement is designed to help with overcoming hormonal hurdles to weight loss by boosting metabolism, regulating hormones that govern appetite and satiety, and by improving cholesterol levels for better cardiovascular health.