Get rid of hormonal weight – because controlling your hormones is controlling your life
To put it simply, hormonal fat on our bodies is when the hormones inside the body, such as insulin, androgen, growth hormones, and estrogens affect our appetite, our metabolism, as well as the distribution of our body fat.
People become obese when they eat too much. Hormonal weight can occur despite people carefully watching what they eat and doing their exercises diligently.
It is highly likely they have what is known as a hormonal imbalance; too much estrogen in the body.
For both men and women, estrogen dominance is just a never-ending cycle of weight gain. When it is not being broken down and got rid of by the liver, it is actually programming the fat cells to store more fat.
The more fat the cells store, the more estrogen is being given out. See the vicious cycle?
Bottom line: The hormonal fat that you are trying so hard to get rid of is a symptom of a hormonal imbalance.
What is hormonal imbalance?
Even if you are eating right and exercising regularly as mentioned above, there’s a piece of the puzzle missing – you have estrogen dominance and it’s stalling your weight loss efforts. You probably have noticed water retention and bloating as well, plus a host of other health issues.
Estrogen is not a word that we connect only to women – excess body fat in men spurs on the rise of estrogen levels because it is the fat cells that are involved in converting testosterone to estrogen.
And in women, as they age, a natural decline in testosterone and progesterone levels takes place, leaving them with excess estrogen.
What causes estrogen dominance?
We get excess estrogen in the body either from our diet and environment, or we produce too much of it on our own.
We are constantly being exposed to compounds that contain estrogen in them such as herbicides, toxic pesticides, and growth hormones; many of which cause weight gain. This, in turn, fuels the production of more estrogen from our fat cells.
What about pharmaceutical hormones, hormone-replacement therapy pills, and birth control pills?
All these increase the estrogen – and if we are not taking these in actively, they find their way into our drinking water in any case.
We have to face the fact that we are living in a sea of harmful estrogens today. Researchers are only starting to realize the extent of all this bad exposure on our health as well as that of animals.
Women with estrogen dominance will probably notice fat accumulating on the hips; they will notice varicose veins, gallstones, uterine fibroids, cervical dysplasia, ovarian cysts, or endometriosis. When estrogen levels change in a woman, she might find herself being less active, having less muscle mass, burning fewer calories.
All these factors increase her risk of gaining weight as she moves into menopause. But menopause is not the only reason why hormonal imbalances can occur. Here are some more:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
This is a condition where a woman discovers cysts on her ovaries, all due to hormonal imbalances. Women tend to pick up weight, become insulin resistant and could develop heart disease.
When a woman gives birth, her estrogen levels will be low while she breastfeeds. These hormonal changes are what help to produce milk and to prevent ovulation and further pregnancy straight away.
- Ovary removal
Women who have had their ovaries removed are prone to go suddenly through to menopause. This means they will no longer be releasing eggs or producing progesterone and estrogen.
Anorexia is an eating disorder, a serious one. It is not taking in sufficient calories. The body goes into a state of starvation, automatically reducing the amount of estrogen the body produces.
- Vigorous exercise
Sometimes vigorous exercises decrease estrogen production due to low body fat levels.
You can see what an important role the estrogen hormone plays in a women’s life cycle – from the onset of puberty, to her menstrual cycles, and to menopause, amongst many other essential functions.
When the estrogen levels are low or irregular, a woman will experience missed periods, hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, insomnia, low libido, moodiness, headaches, dry, wrinkly skin.
And men are not exempt, they will experience low libido, depression, low motivation, muscle mass loss, and increased belly fat, even some breast development. In both males and females, estrogen dominance is thought to be the cause of a lot of cancers!
Consider this; that this particular hormone imbalance is estimated as a leading cause of breast, uterine and prostate cancer today. Many men believe that the paunch they get around the middle is an inevitable part of getting old, even when they’ve been careful not to put on a lot of weight before they hit the 40s.
They’ve cut back on calories, they’ve done all the necessary workouts at the gym, and still, they notice the extra padding creeping up. Scientists say the answer lies with estrogen, the same hormone usually associated with women.
The Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, says that estrogen might well have a huge influence on the weight that men often put on as they reach the middle years.
They say that the changes that occur such as loss of muscle mass, a dampening in a man’s libido and the start of the dreaded ‘spare tire’ are linked to a man’s testosterone levels declining – not only testosterone but estrogen too!
Think seriously about your hormones
Heaps of us don’t even think about our hormones; not giving them a second thought when it comes to us putting on weight. And yet, these chemical messengers feature high on the list when it comes to how our body works and our general health.
When our hormones are ‘upset’, they can cause chaos in the body. Women will know all about this chaos when they ride the hormonal roller coaster every month, experiencing PMS, heavy periods, mood swings, and even missing periods.
Some women have had babies and their hormones have left them feeling depressed. And what about the symptoms that comes along with menopause? Lots of women don’t even want to talk about those symptoms!
Actually, there is very little that our amazing hormones don’t do for us. The shape of our bodies, the quality of our sleep, how our digestive system serves us; our hormones are involved in so much.
But we are also quick to use the excuse when someone is suffering from some malady, to say, “It’s just their hormones”. But modern living today can lead to a lot of this hormonal chaos, throwing these precious workers in our body out of sync; out of harmony.
There are different types of hormones
Each second of the day, our hormones are speeding through our bloodstream, traveling all over to the various organs to receive orders for work to be done in the bodies. Some hormones you might not even be aware of.
Let’s look at some top ones:
- Oxytocin, (the love hormone). It responds to touch
- Cortisol (the stress hormone), letting us know when we are in danger
- Thyroid (our metabolism regulator)
- Melatonin (to induce sleep)
- Estrogen, progesterone, testosterone (the sex hormones)
- Serotonin (the mood-boosting hormone)
- Leptin (the hunger hormone)
- Insulin (stores and uses glucose)
These are important ones, but there is a hormone for everything!
We have seen how important the hormone, estrogen, is in our body, regulating metabolism and body weight. Naturally, when it decreases, there will be weight gain. In both men and women, the fat builds up around the abdomen and around the bodily organs. You might have heard of this type of fat – called visceral fat. And visceral fat can be pretty dangerous, being linked to some medical conditions such as
- Heart disease
- Even some cancers
It is important to maintain a healthy weight, even if it is related to an estrogen imbalance.
People, both men and women, need to talk to their doctors about this hormonal fat caused from hormonal imbalances because many of them reach a stubborn weight loss plateau, where they think they are doing everything right, eating the right foods, exercising – it never occurs to them that their weight problems have anything to do with hormonal imbalances.
They little realize that many of the obstacles they are facing with regards to their hormonal fat have nothing to do with how they are eating or what exercises they are doing.
Some people would never imagine that their excess weight has everything to do with nutritional imbalances, metabolic challenges, chronic inflammation, leaky gut, environmental toxins, and changes in the microbiome, even their genes.
Other hormones that can cause hormonal imbalance
Another monster hormone, insulin, is what also causes weight gain, chronic disease, and inflammation. It is possible though to naturally regulate insulin so instead of storing fat, you can burn the fat. Other hormones, as listed above, are also responsible for hormonal weight gain. Let’s look at some more of these hormones:
Hypothyroidism, or low thyroid function, affects more women than men but unfortunately, in many cases, the condition does not get diagnosed. It’s diet, nutrient deficiencies, environmental stress and toxins that impact greatly on the thyroid. Another cause of hypothyroidism is gluten intolerance. Other culprits are heavy metals and pesticides, etc.
The thyroid needs certain nutrients to run smoothly and optimally and these include zinc, selenium iodine and healthy essential fatty acids such as omega-3. Many doctors don’t even test correctly for thyroid function and when they do correctly diagnose it, they don’t treat it effectively by means of dietary changes, supplements, and the right thyroid hormone replacement therapy. And that’s really unfortunate because the thyroid plays a very key role in maintaining a healthy weight.
This is the stress hormone. When you have stressful thoughts, your metabolic pathways gets activated, causing weight gain and insulin resistance. We carry stress around with us all the time without knowing how to reset our mindset.
Even though cortisol is the stress hormone that helps us pump fuel into our bloodstream to get that quick energy, it is also the hormone that slows our metabolism and shuts down our digestion. This is all normal in the short-term, but if left unchecked, high levels of cortisol will cause high blood sugar, which means increased belly fat, loss of muscle, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
- Sex Hormone Imbalances
The sex hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, can all cause weight problems. When you have too much estrogen, as mentioned above, you gain weight, no matter if you are a man or women. Too much sugar, alcohol, and refined carbs spikes estrogen. It is very important to eat a hormone balancing diet, a diet that is low in sugar and high in the good fats and fiber.
When the hormones are not in harmony
As we have seen above, there are plenty of reasons why our bodies can be thrown into hormonal disarray. Poor diet and a lifestyle where we don’t get much sleep or exercise are top reasons, let alone stress and all those toxins entering our bodies. When our bodies are in this state, look what we end up having:
- Mood swings
- Depression and lack-luster life
- Irritability, angry, aggressive
- A libido that could be non-existent
- Periods that are heavy and painful or none at all
- Migraines and headaches and other bodily aches
- Excess, flabby weight around your belly
- Skin breaks out from toxins entering
- Vaginal dryness
- Feet and hands that are always cold
- Sleep problems
- Constant tiredness with brain fog
- Your stomach is always unsettled with indigestion and cramps
- The hair on your face and thinning hair on your head
- Food cravings for alcohol, sugars, carbs, and other processed foods
Can you lose hormonal weight?
Do you fit into any of the above toxic conditions?
Fortunately, there is light at the end of the tunnel and it’s this – hormonal weight gain needn’t be. You can change it, and lead a healthy, happy, hormonally balanced life.
When your body is out of balance, your health is not only affected but your lifestyle too at the office, at university, at school. If you are prepared to make changes and work hard at it, you can climb off the hormonal roller coaster.
When you see the results, it will inspire you to carry on. Look at it like this: Balanced hormones create a synchronized, beautiful dance in your body, not like a crazy body-jerking, tripping over feet hokey-pokey dance that makes you feel like you are falling from some dizzy height!
Be in tune with your body, looking out for the typical clues that your hormones are unhappy. Start making them happy with these tips from today and see the difference it makes:
1. Nourish your body
You need the right food, building blocks, such as proteins and healthy fats to make healthy, happy, hormones. It is vital to ditch all the processed foods and refined sugars. Food forms the building blocks for our hormones and that means eating protein and healthy fats so that healthy hormones are produced.
2. Manage stress
This isn’t always easy with our hectic lifestyles, but thing is, when we are constantly in stress mode, always wired up, our bodies are constantly producing the stress hormone, cortisol. It becomes too much, and strains the body, throwing the other hormones complete out of sync. There are many ways to de-stress, a must for balancing hormones.
3. Put more greens into your body
Why? Because these are detoxifiers! Chard, spinach, kale, these are plants that do wonders for the body, cleansing it and supporting the liver, which in itself plays a huge role in balancing the hormones. Here’s a green smoothie to try for starters!
4. Hold back on coffee
While some of the more high-quality coffees aren’t too bad, a lot of us overdo it and drink coffee around the hour, exacerbating things like PMS, etc. There are alternatives, such as matcha tea, which is high in antioxidants, and low in caffeine.
5. A healthy gut is a top priority
When your gut is unhealthy, you wreak havoc on your body and your digestive system. You don’t even feel well, and you wouldn’t because an unhealthy gut impacts on hormonal balance as well. It is so vital to clean up your gut, starting by avoiding processed foods, hydrogenated oils, and added sugars. Eat the foods that restore gut balance. Excellent ones are fermented foods like sauerkraut and kefir, probiotics, bone broth (try this one from a nutritionist and specialist in hormonal health) and high fiber foods.
More foods, habits, and treatments to decrease harmful estrogen so you can get rid of that hormonal fat
Some foods are specifically beneficial in decreasing harmful estrogen dominance that is responsible for ‘immovable’ hormonal fat:
- Keep your alcohol consumption down. But if you do every now and then consume alcohol, always take a vitamin B-complex tablet and 1 mg folic acid tablet to reduce the negative effects of the alcohol.
- A probiotic is essential; take 1-2 capsules twice a day daily on an empty stomach.
- Insoluble fibers help to bind the excess estrogen in the digestive tract. Your body then excretes the excess estrogen with the fiber, preventing estrogen from being reabsorbed into the body. Excellent fibers are wheat bran, rice bran, corn bran, the skins of veggies and fruits, nuts (particularly almonds), seeds (particularly sunflower seeds), dried bean, soybeans, and whole-grain foods.
- Use only organic dairy and grass-fed meat products to reduce your exposure to hormone additives.
- Eat weak phytoestrogen foods. These can be flax seeds, pomegranate, pears, berries, apples, organic non-GMO fermented soy, oats, wheat germ, and barley.
- Get in plenty of minerals and vitamins as well such as magnesium, zinc, vitamin B6 and other essential nutrients. These help in supporting the breakdown and elimination of estrogen. They also help in the function of enzymes responsible for converting of testosterone to estrogen.
- Try and avoid exposure to xenoestrogens from plastics, birth control pills, and some cosmetics because they irritate estrogen.
- Try and avoid unfermented soy products like soy milk and tofu.
- Try infrared sauna treatments as they really do an excellent job of ridding your body of excess estrogen.
- When you maintain poor sleeping habits, you cause a reduction in the melatonin hormone melatonin, and it is a hormone which helps to protect you against estrogen dominance. Try and aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night in a room that is airy, cool, and dark.
For goodness sake
Whilst there are many things that are responsible for your hormonal fat, when you address the imbalances, as outlined above, you can lose that stubborn weight.
It might require some hard work, it might require that you work with your medical practitioner; but when you make these positive moves, you start to ignite the fire that will burn that hormonal fat away.
Do it for your health sake – you will really be hot then, just without the fat and the flushes.