Eating all the right things, exercising a ton but still can't lose weight? Maybe you have a hormonal imbalance and that's why you are gaining weight. Weight loss, fitness and diet experts have often underplayed the importance of hormones when it comes to weight reduction.
Whether you are slim or overweight, your hormones regulate your fat cells. So your hormones have a big part to play on your weight. For example, many women experience some weight gain when they are menstruating ~ because the regular hormone balance in their bodies has changed.
WHAT ARE HORMONES AND HOW DO THEY AFFECT MY WEIGHT?
Hormones are molecules that help control your metabolism, your energy level, your mood, the strength of your muscles and your appetite levels. For weight gain or loss, it's the role of hormones in regulating metabolism that has the most importance. This is explained in more detailed in Dr Scott Issac's pioneering book, Hormonal Balance: Understanding Hormones, Weight, and Your Metabolism.
WHEN YOU CAN'T LOSE WEIGHT NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO
If you have a hormone imbalance, you might find it difficult to lose weight - in fact, you might find yourself gaining weight. A fast metabolism helps you burn off calories and a slow metabolism means that you do not burn off calories fast enough. Some hormonal imbalance disorders affect metabolism.
It will thought that up to 10% of the population might be suffering from some degree of hypothyroidism, and less than one third of sufferers have been diagnosed or treated properly. Hypothyroidism is a deficiency of the thyroid hormone. They say that people whose thyroid blood tesets are in the lower third results i.e. the lower third of 'normal' thyroid function weigh about 12 pounds more than those in the upper third category. So even if your thyroid is only underperforming, but not completely deficient, you might find it hard to lose weight.
The other symptoms of hypothyroidism, aside from weight gain, includes fatigue, cold intolerance, a lower body temperature, aches and pains, brittle nails, and poor mental functions such as forgetfulness and short-term memory loss. It can also increase your risk of getting a stroke or heart attack.
You can be tested for hypothyroidism with a simple blood test. Ask your doctor about it. Once diagnosed, you can take pills to produce more of the thyroid hormone.
GROWTH HORMONE DEFICIENCY
You know the phrase 'getting your beauty sleep'? Deep sleep helps to trigger production of the growth hormone. The growth hormone helps stimulate production of muscle which burns fat and helps to improve insulin sensitivity which can reduce the tendency to create fat. Growth hormone deficiency in adults is rare, but it can lead to depression, poor memory, weakness and poor stamina. It's usually treated with a growth hormone replacement.
PCOS or POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME
Weight gain is one of the symptoms of PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome. It's more common in teenage girls and other symptoms include acne, greasy red skin or hair with possible scaly patches, irregular periods, excessive body hair, dandruff and high cholesterol levels. Treatments vary according to your age and symptoms, but birth control pills are one form of treatment.
HOW TO BALANCE YOUR HORMONE LEVELS
There is no answer to balancing your hormone levels. Much will depend on the type of hormone imbalance you have. A reference book such as Hormonal Balance: Understanding Hormones, Weight, and Your Metabolism will help you diagnose your hormone imbalance and suggest treatment options. Living a healthy life with sufficient exercise, sleep, stress reduction and a healthy, balanced diet will help make a start.
If you have tried many methods to lose weight (that means you have actually TRIED them, you haven't just started and given up after a couple of days or so) and the fat is shifting, ask your doctor about tests to check your hormone levels. Having your hormones working in good order will not only help you maintain a healthy weight, but it will increase your energy and sense of vitality too.