The 8 most common hormonal imbalances that drive weight gain
People experience symptoms of hormonal imbalance every day. It’s important to recognize and treat hormonal imbalance as soon as possible, because it can inflict damages to your entire body in the long run. It is hard to know what the “balanced” hormonal state looks like, especially for those who have been out of balance for long time. Hormonal imbalances lead to slower weight loss and increased risk of obesity. You cannot solve the majority of hormonal imbalances by dieting alone. They can even neutralize all the positive effects of the healthy diet, so if you have been unable to lose weight, even with your diet and hard workout sessions, it’s a sure sign that you have one or more hormonal imbalances.
Hypothyroidism is when you don’t have enough thyroid hormone, which causes every system in your body slows down. People who suffer from hypothyroidism feel tired, tend to sleep a lot, experience constipation, and usually experience weight gain. Other symptoms of hypothyroidism are: extremely dry skin, hair loss, slower mental processes, brittle hair, splitting nails, diminished ability to sweat during exercise, infertility, poor memory, depression, decreased libido, feeling cold, or an inability to lose weight. Even levels of TSH (an indicator of thyroid function) within the normal range have been proved to accelerate weight gain and to interfere with a healthy metabolic rate in both men and women.
2. Insulin excess
Main function of this essential hormone is to deliver sugar in the blood and further carry it into cells where it can be used as fuel or stored in our fat deposts. There are plenty of reasons for too much insulin, but the main are stress, unhealthy diet with too much nutrient-poor carbs (in processed foods, high-sugar drinks and sodas, packaged low-fat foods, and all kinds of artificial sweeteners), not enough protein intake, excessive fat intake, and deficient fiber consumption. Short-term side effects of high insulin that happen right away include heartthrob, intense sweating, difficulty in concentration, fatigue, anxiety, feeling dizzy, irritability, or unclear thinking. Our bodies typically respond to these unpleasant sensations by making us think we’re hungry, so we reach for more high-sugar foods and drinks. As a result, we wind up in an endless cycle of hormonal imbalance, metabolic syndrome, or a condition called insulin resistance, which only increases weight gain and our risk of diabetes and heart disease.
3. Serotonin imbalance
Serotonin powerfully affects our mood, emotions, memory, cravings (especially for carbs), self-esteem, pain tolerance, sleep habits, appetite, digestion and body temperature regulation. When we’re feeling blue or depressed, we tend to consume more sugars and starches to stimulate the production of serotonin. Plenty of sunlight, a healthy diet rich in protein, minerals and vitamins, regular exercise and good sleep are crucial for adequate serotonin production. While chronic stress and out-of-control multitasking are two of the main causes of serotonin depletion.
4. Too much cortisol
Under situations of chronic stress (physical, emotional, mental, environmental, real, or imagined) our bodies release high amounts of the hormone cortisol. If you suffer from a mood disorder such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or exhaustion, or if you have a digestive issue such as irritable bowel syndrome, you can be 100% sure that cortisol level in your body is very high. In turn, prolonged stress results in a raging appetite, metabolic decline, belly fat, and a loss of hard-won, metabolically active muscle tissue. In other words, chronic stress makes us soft, flabby, and much older than we truly are.
5. Imbalances from inflammation
Scientists consider chronic inflammation as the main cause of excessive weight and unhealthy aging. Practically all imaginable disorders are associated with inflammation, including digestive disorders, allergies, autoimmune disease, arthritis, asthma, eczema, acne, abdominal fat, headaches, depression – you name it! According to a research at Harvard University, inflammation and excess insulin can be the major contributors to rising rates of type 2 diabetes and the overall obesity growth in North America. Healthy or unhealthy diet can determine if you either cure yourself from inflammation or just worsen it even more.
6. Extra estrogen
Excess estrogen in female or male body can be as great a risk factor for obesity as unhealthy food habits and sedentary lifestyle. Accumulating of excess estrogen in the body happens only in two cases – it’s either being produced too much by our own body or we acquire it from our environment or diet. Toxic pesticides, herbicides, and growth hormones in our foods contain estrogen-like compounds. All this results in menopausal women and men possibility of having low sexual desire, memory loss, poor motivation, depression, loss of muscle mass, and increased belly fat.
7. Imbalances from menopause
Menopause is not simply a decline of estrogen. Many other hormones, such as progesterone and testosterone also tend to decrease. That also affects your skin, hair, eyes, and your sexual activity. Other common signs of menopause are hot flashes, insomnia, headaches, heart palpitations, memory loss and poor concentration, vaginal dryness, changes in the appearance of skin and hair, and emotional distress like depression, anxiety, and irritability.
8. Low testosterone
Testosterone is often associated with masculinity, aggression and physical power, but that’s not the whole story, because women benefit from it too. It also enhances sexual drive, bone strength, muscle mass, motivation, memory, fat burning, and skin tone in both men and women. Lack of testosterone can increase of body fat and reduce the muscle mass, even with healthy eating and exercise. Testosterone levels tend to reduce with aging, obesity, and stress. And low testosterone has been linked to depression, obesity, osteoporosis, heart disease, and in special cases – even death. The growth of estrogen-like compounds used in pesticides and other farming chemicals negatively affects testosterone levels in men and women.