“If you just eat less and exercise more you will lose weight – it’s simple math.” How many times have you heard that and argued back that you ARE eating less and you ARE exercising more? While calorie intake contributes to weight loss, it turns out metabolism and hormones play a bigger role.
Energy loss that often comes with age-related hormonal imbalance contributes to weight gain in both men and women. Bioidentical hormone therapy can bring your hormones back into balance so that you can experience weight loss from the increase in energy, better sleep, and higher metabolism.
What is Metabolism?
Metabolism refers to the process where your body converts what you eat into energy. Even when you are resting your body requires energy for functions such as breathing and blood circulation. Your body size, sex, and age all contribute to the rate that you burn calories, or your metabolism rate. People with more muscle mass have a faster metabolic rate. Because men tend to have less body fat and more muscle mass their metabolism rate is typically higher. As we age, we lose muscle mass which then causes our metabolism rate to slow down.
Hormones Can Affect Weight Loss
The reason many diets don’t work, especially for women, is because they don’t address hormonal imbalances that can cause weight loss resistance. Several hormones have a role in dictating your metabolism rate, managing your energy, and regulating your sugar levels which all affect your ability to lose weight.
Cortisol is your body’s stress hormone that is best known for regulating your body’s “fight or flight” instinct. In addition to managing how your body uses carbohydrates, fats and proteins it also regulates your blood pressure and increases your blood sugar. Too much cortisol leads to weight gain, headaches and trouble sleeping. In the extreme, this develops into a syndrome called Cushing Syndrome that causes rapid weight gain, diabetes and muscle weakness.
Insulin is your hormone that regulates how your body uses sugar. Made by the pancreas, insulin allows your body to use sugar (glucose) from the carbohydrates you’ve eaten for energy or to store the glucose for future use. If the amount of insulin in your body isn’t converting food into energy properly then you may experience weight gain. Type 1 diabetes is the result of the body not being able to produce insulin.
Often called the “obesity hormone” and the “starvation hormone,” Leptin is produced by your fat cells and communicates to your brain that you have stored enough fat, which then curbs your appetite and tells you that you are no longer hungry. The primary function of leptin is to help your body maintain its weight. People with low leptin levels complain that they never feel satisfied after eating and feel hungry all the time. Obviously, this can lead to weight gain and difficulty losing weight.
Thyroid hormone is the regulator of your metabolism. This hormone works with the hypothalamus in your brain to help regulate your metabolism. Any unexplained weight gain or weight loss can be a symptom of a thyroid disorder. Low levels of thyroid hormones, a condition called hypothyroidism, causes weight gain. Conversely, elevated levels of a thyroid hormone is called hyperthyroidism and can cause weight loss.
Estrogen and Progesterone
In addition to causing water retention and low energy, estrogen and progesterone imbalances also contribute to weight gain and difficulty losing weight. When ovulation stops in women, a deficiency in progesterone can create a surplus of estrogen. This is called “estrogen dominance” and it leads to weight gain in the hips and thighs as well as slowing metabolism which makes it more difficult to lose weight. Estrogen dominance is the main reason women have a harder time losing weight than men. Even though women’s estrogen levels are the lowest during menopause, if progesterone levels are also low you can still experience estrogen dominance.
Low testosterone makes it difficult for men to build muscle mass which plays a notable role in helping regulate your weight. Higher muscle mass means you have a higher metabolism. When testosterone levels fall below normal it causes your metabolism to slow down and makes it harder to lose weight.
Bioidentical Hormone Therapy
Bioidentical hormone therapy can bring your hormones back into balance to give you a boost with your weight loss or weight maintenance goals. Bioidentical hormones are identical to the hormones which are produced naturally in your body. They are so identical, in fact, that your body can’t distinguish the difference. These hormones are easily assimilated into the body and your body recognizes them as their own which reduces side effects or potential risks.
The Riegel Center in Plano, Texas focuses on therapies for women and men who are 30+ years of age with symptoms of age-related hormonal changes. The Riegel Center of Plano offers exclusive therapies conceived of, developed and available only through Dr. Riegel. A recognized hormone expert who specializes in age management medicine, Dr. Riegel offers exclusive therapies that are customized for your exact hormone levels. Wondering if you can benefit from bioidentical hormone therapy? Take our Hormone Balance Quiz to find out!