Sudden weight gain while maintaining the same diet and level of exercise can be surprising and leave you wondering how it happened. It could be your hormones and a hormone imbalance causing you to gain weight. That doesn’t mean you hang up your exercise shoes and eat a bowl of ice cream in defeat. There are things you can do to reverse the problem and get back on track.
It might be hormones you don’t suspect.
When people think of hormone imbalances, they usually think of sex hormones, like estrogen, testosterone and progesterone. While the balance of those hormones does determine how fat is distributed, there are other hormones that play a role in weight gain. Hormones are nothing more than messengers that tell your body and cells how to react. Even though sex hormones may play a role in weight gain, it also can come from thyroid hormones, insulin, stress hormones and hormones that control hunger and satiety. There are so many other hormones in your body that can create havoc, but there are ways to get them all reset and back on track.
Stress hormones might be the ones causing your weight gain.
When your body is under stress, it reverts to the fight or flight response that produces hormones that trigger changes to prepare your body for either fighting or running. One of those hormones is cortisol. Cortisol is linked with the accumulation of abdominal fat. It slows the metabolism and causes the body to store more fat. An abundance makes you feel fatigued and interrupts your sleep pattern, which then disturbs the balance of hunger/satiety hormones, leaving you chronically feeling hungry. It also weakens your immune system and affects your mood. You can reverse the problem and reset your hormones with exercise. Even mild cardio, like walking, can help.
Too much cortisol can lead to insulin resistance.
Insulin is another hormone. It helps control your blood sugar levels by telling the cells to open and allow the glucose to enter. If there’s insulin resistance, the cells don’t open and the glucose levels remain high, causing more insulin to be released. If that happens too often, it can lead to type2 diabetes. Stress causes increased insulin and that increase coming from your pancreas can block fat burning, push fatty acids into fat cells from the blood and actually send glucose into fat cells.
- During menopause, sex hormones can get out of balance. A dominance of any of the sex hormones can cause weight gain and how the increased weight is distributed. Drinking more water and eating extra fiber can help. Exercise also helps.
- Learn to control stress before it builds. Meditation, deep breathing and other relaxation techniques can help stop the problem before it gets out of hand.
- Inflammation can be one cause for hormonal imbalance. Eating inflammatory foods, such as sugary foods or highly processed ones, can lead to oxidative stress, which leads to insulin resistance and weight gain.
- Get adequate sleep to keep your hunger/satiety hormones in line so you don’t overeat. Treat your gut bacteria well by consuming adequate fiber to feed it and eating probiotic food, like yogurt. Studies show that a healthy gut microbiome can reduce the potential for obesity.
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