Despite what you may hear otherwise, weight gain isn’t as simple as eating too much or not having enough willpower. Genetics, body type, stress levels, and sleep quality can all impact how quickly you gain or lose pounds. Hormones are another big factor to keep in mind as you embark on your weight loss journey.
Hormones are chemical messengers that are responsible for a wide range of bodily functions, including metabolism, fat storage, and appetite. Understanding how key hormones affect weight gain can help you tailor your weight loss plan to maximize results.
Let’s take a look at eight hormones that can impact your weight loss endeavors and how to regulate them to help you reach your goals faster.
This hormone regulates glucose (blood sugar) levels and plays a central role in fat storage. To help regulate insulin levels, lower your overall carb and sugar intake. Opt for complex carbs and whole grains, fatty fish, lean sources of protein, and vegetables.
If you’re taking insulin as part of a diabetes management plan, make sure to take any prescribed medications regularly. Counting calories and regularly being active can also help regulate healthy insulin levels.
2. Leptin and Ghrelin
Leptin and Ghrelin are responsible for your appetite, with ghrelin triggering hunger and leptin signaling feelings of fullness. Imbalanced levels of leptin and/or ghrelin can cause weight gain. These imbalances can be caused by endocrine disorders, obesity or overweight, eating disorders, and even genetics.
Getting enough sleep, managing your stress levels, and eating balanced meals can help keep these hormones in balance. Aim for 7-9 hours of restful, quality sleep per night to help your body repair and recover overnight. Practice stress-relieving activities like yoga, meditation, journaling, or regular exercise. Ensuring you get enough protein can also help curb your appetite while providing macronutrients that help nourish your body.
Also known as the “stress hormone,” excess levels of cortisol can cause fat storage – especially in the abdomen. Left unmanaged, chronic stress can contribute to weight gain.
Stress-reducing practices such as meditation, journaling, yoga, and exercise can help you regulate cortisol levels. Exercise can be especially valuable, as physical activity is a natural stress reducer. Staying active can help you maintain a healthy weight.
4. Thyroid Hormones
Among other responsibilities, your thyroid helps regulate your body’s metabolism. An imbalance of thyroid hormones can either cause hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, depending on whether levels are too low or too high. Hypothyroidism (low levels of thyroid hormones) can cause weight gain.
Increasing your intake of iodine, zinc, and selenium can help you increase your thyroid hormones naturally. You can find high sources of Iodine in seaweed, eggs, and yogurt, Selenium in Brazil nuts, brown rice, chicken, eggs, and beef, and Zinc in meats and seafood – especially oysters.
It’s important to remember that if you are experiencing low thyroid levels, you should speak to your doctor. They can recommend treatments to safely correct hypothyroidism and prevent potential complications of hypothyroidism.
5. Adiponectin and Resistin
These hormones are involved in regulating glucose metabolism and play a role in insulin sensitivity. Low levels of adiponectin are associated with obesity, while resistin levels may predict obesity in the future.
Physical activity can help increase adiponectin levels, while a balanced diet and weight exercise can positively influence resistin levels.
6. Dopamine and Serotonin
Dopamine and serotonin are neurotransmitters that also act as hormones. Although they are usually associated with rewarding “feel good” sensations, they can also affect how you feel, your cravings, the foods you choose to eat, and feelings of fullness.
Imbalanced levels of dopamine and serotonin can contribute to weight gain. Exercise, socializing, and engaging in hobbies can help support healthy levels of these hormones. Lifestyle adjustments such as stress management, physical activity, getting enough sleep, and eating a healthy diet can also help your body produce optimal levels of these hormones.
Concierge Medicine: Your Ally For Weight Loss That Lasts
Concierge medicine is making its debut in modern life with personalized, in-home care provided by licensed practitioners.
Unlike doctors in a brick-and-mortar practice, concierge physicians have fewer overall patients, enabling them to spend more time with you during your appointment. This dedicated time allows for closer doctor-patient relationships and a more comprehensive evaluation of your health profile, including underlying factors influencing weight management.
A concierge physician can work with you to help you reach your weight loss goals by:
- Performing lab tests to detect imbalanced hormone levels that may be contributing to unwanted weight gain
- Identifying any medical conditions or medications that could affect your weight loss goals
- Developing a custom weight loss and maintenance plan that takes into account your unique biology, lifestyle, and preferences
- Helping you not only lose weight but maintain your ideal weight with a customized weight maintenance plan
Your doctor may also prescribe weight loss medications if appropriate. If your doctor determines that you are eligible, they may recommend semaglutide weight loss injections which can help you not only lose weight but maintain your goal. These prescription medications are intended to be used alongside healthy lifestyle changes like diet adjustments and exercise.
The ongoing support and guidance your concierge physician provides is an essential part of long-term weight maintenance. Telemedicine services and in-home appointments provide easy accessibility, ongoing monitoring, and timely adjustments to weight loss and maintenance plans for optimal long-term outcomes.
Understanding the relationship between hormone levels and weight gain can help you make informed choices to reach your weight loss targets. By implementing these essential tips and working with your doctor or concierge physician, you can achieve balanced hormones, a healthy weight, and overall well-being in the long run.