Women, Hormones, And Weight Loss

tape measure on scaleIs it possible you can't lose weight because hormones are imbalanced? Some research suggests this is the case. Women in particular have trouble losing weight and achieving balanced hormone levels, especially leptin, cortisol, and estrogen. While most of the problems connecting weight loss to hormone trouble are associated with what you eat, that's not all you have to be worried about.

Stressed Out and Fat

Why isn't stress helping you burn fat? I mean, you are exhausted all the time, thanks to the troubles you are dealing with. Surely this should mean something in the metabolic department. Actually, stress causes your cortisol levels to rise, leading to more fat storage. Stress is a scientifically proven contributor to diseases like heart attack and stroke. Now it turns out stress can make you fat too. As if you didn't feel anxious enough, add weight gain to your list of worries.

Leptin and Appetite Control

This is the appetite control hormone which tells your brain there's enough energy swimming around your blood, thanks very much. When you have too little, your body stores fat because, who knows, you might starve. The irony is that with such low leptin levels you feel hungry and eat too much. As a result, women develop leptin resistance. Men develop it too but women are more challenged than men on this front.

Sugar, Sugar

Too much sugar is to blame for not producing enough leptin, not that women are guiltier in this direction than men are. They are equally drawn to unhealthy food and alcohol. In fact, men drink more beer than women and they tend to be less concerned about healthy eating than women are.

Yet, women tend to love processed sugar in forms like chocolate and cookies so much that they will find ways to make it okay. High-sugar foods that don't contain a lot of fat seem alright until we understand that refined flour and sugar become stored fat if it isn't used as energy. "Fat-free" is ultimately a tempting lie. You're better off with complex carbohydrates containing nutrients which your body absorbs slowly, giving you prolonged energy instead of a sudden blast and crash.

Excess Estrogen

Women need enough estrogen to function properly, but too much makes them fat. If you have too much, this messes with insulin levels. Insulin is what takes glucose (sugar that has been turned into energy) all around the body so it can be used effectively. If estrogen is excessive, you could be struggling to lose the weight, and where does this bitter-sweet hormone come from? Some is produced naturally; some comes from hormones fed to animals. Even chemicals made to resemble human hormones behave similarly and lead to the same problems.

You could cut back on meat but be careful: there has to be some protein in your diet to lay down muscle mass. Muscle draw substance from amino and fatty acids which cause them to grow but also fosters tissue repair. Cut back on meat but replace it with salmon, quinoa, or protein shakes made from egg, whey, or plant-based sources.