Hormonal changes both in men and women influence the appetite, including how much you eat and what you’re craving.
Weight gain isn’t just an issue associated with the food you eat or how much you exercise. It can also be affected by your hormones — and vice versa. If you’ve noticed that you’re experiencing hormonal changes and/or weight fluctuations, it might help you to discuss these issues with a doctor.
We want you to feel comfortable and confident in your body. One of the best ways to get there is to understand how your body works, especially how many of its functions, which may seem independent of one another, are actually linked.
The link between your weight and your hormones
Many times, a person’s weight loss or gain is immediately chalked up to a change in diet or exercise habits. If you notice you might have gained a few pounds, you might become frustrated with yourself and start exercising more.
Conversely, if the scale says you’re lighter than normal, you might congratulate yourself for eating better. Often, however, larger weight fluctuations are due to a hormonal change or imbalance, which is something many people don’t even think about.
According to studies, hormonal changes can influence your appetite, including how much you eat and what you’re craving. They can also even cause you to store more or less fat in your body, depending on their balance.
As such, simply saying one must “exercise and eat right” isn’t always enough to create a real difference in your life, especially if your hormones are involved in your weight loss or gain.
Hormones that affect your weight
A large number of hormones important to your body can significantly affect your weight. It can help to talk to a doctor about your weight concerns and to find out if, perhaps, your hormone levels may be imbalanced enough to lead to the problem. Below, you’ll find some of the most common hormones that can cause weight fluctuations.
Insulin is the hormone that tells your body to store fat. Sometimes, your insulin stores can spike, even if you’re not battling diabetes. Avoiding sugary foods and not overeating are great ways to help keep your insulin in check. You can also eat more protein and drink green tea to achieve similar effects.
Leptin is the hormone that makes you feel full. Unfortunately, those who are already obese sometimes experience problems with leptin not working the way it should. This can make it hard to lose weight, even if you’re doing what a doctor tells you, such as eating right and exercising.
Ways you can improve your body’s leptin sensitivity are to avoid inflammatory foods, eat more fatty fish, and sleep at least seven hours a night.
Cortisol is often known as your stress hormone because it’s released when your body is under stress. If your cortisol levels are chronically high, it can be hard to minimize overeating habits. Even those who are able to avoid this issue may still have trouble losing weight.
To bring cortisol levels down, it’s important to practice mindfulness, avoid stress, eat a balanced diet that does not involve cutting calories in an extreme way, and sleep at least seven hours a night.
Estrogen, the female sex hormone, can cause weight gain whether it’s extremely high or extremely low. Some ways to manage your estrogen are to get plenty of fiber in your diet, eat more cruciferous vegetables, exercise more frequently, and add flaxseeds to your diet.
Hormonal imbalances you can’t control
Again, even if you’re doing everything right and utilizing these tips to try to keep your hormones in balance, you may still require some help from a doctor.
Checking your hormone levels in order to find out which of these are higher or lower and which may require more balance can help. This way, you will know what is creating your weight gain or loss and how you can better manage the issue at home and with a doctor’s help.
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