Balancing Your Hormones For Weight Loss
Understanding how your hormones work can be an incredibly empowering experience. Hormones are chemical messengers that control and regulate every system in your body, including your metabolism, growth, sexuality and reproduction. When your hormones are out of balance... your body will also feel out of balance, which can contribute to unwanted symptoms including weight gain! If you are having problems loosing weight, even though you are eating a healthy diet and exercising, your hormones may be to blame.
Symptoms of Hormone Imbalances
Hormonal imbalances can occur at any time in your life, not just menopause. Hormone disruptors called xenoestrogens (man-made chemicals that mimic estrogens) may be one of the causes of why hormone imbalances occur. Examples of xenoestrogens include BPA, phalates, parabens, nonylphenol and octylphenyl. Unfortunately these compounds can be found in everyday household items including plastics, cosmetics, cleaning supplies and laundry detergent. Pesticides and herbicides are other common sources of xenoestrogens.
Eating organic foods, and checking cosmetic and household product ingredients will help minimize xenoestrogen exposure.
Symptoms of hormone imbalance may include:
- Anxiety or depression
- Foggy thinking
- Inability to handle stress
- Metabolic disorders (insulin resistance & pre-diabetes)
- Memory Loss
- Weight Gain
Hormones That Effect Weight
There are 4 main hormones that effect weight gain, and could be a potential reason why your body is holding onto unwanted weight.
The Estrogen hormone increases weight gain in the buttocks and upper thigh area. Women who have had children are actually designed to store more weight in those areas to provide energy for breastfeeding!! If you are Estrogen dominant, you may have challenge losing weight in those areas.
Having low Progesterone is what can cause sugar cravings and PMS in the week prior to your period as well as slight weight gain and water retention during that time. This can cause you to feel sluggish and your clothes to fit a little tighter.
An under-active thyroid gland slows metabolic rate, which can cause weight gain, and make you feel tired & sluggish or depressed & unmotivated to do anything.
Every individual deals with stress differently. Some deal with it by eating more (ie. emotional eating), while others notice their appetite slows down. A hormone called Cortisol is one of our main stress hormones. Elevated Cortisol levels can disturb blood sugar regulation and contribute to weight gain, especially around the midsection.
How A Naturopath Approaches Hormone Balance
If you suspect that your hormones are out of balance, a Naturopath can help you determine whether or not this is the case. Naturopathic doctors regularly treat hormone imbalances, through diet and lifestyle modifications, vitamin and mineral supplementation, herbal medicines, acupuncture and bioidentical hormone therapy. Before treatment is recommended, a Naturopath will take your medical history, and will often recommend hormone testing. Once all the information is gathered the Naturopath will prescribe a detailed plan to help get your hormones back into balance once again.
Having a healthy weight not only improves self esteem, but it also helps prevent against chronic disease. Understanding how hormones influence weight gain is one step to regaining a healthy weight once again.