It’s no secret that as we grow older, it becomes increasingly difficult to shed weight. A proper diet, plenty of rest and regular exercise are crucial components for weight loss but when results escape those who make a sincere effort to shape up, it can be incredibly frustrating. There are many different factors that can cause weight gain, with hormonal imbalances encompassing a number of them.
Hormonal Factors That Can Impact Weight Gain
Vitamin D Deficiency
We’re like complicated houseplants in that we too need sunshine to survive. Plants soak up the sun for photosynthesis, while our bodies absorb sunlight to create Vitamin D. The more time we spend indoors (or even outdoors slathered in sunscreen), the less Vitamin D we produce. This can eventually create a deficiency.
How is this related to hormonal imbalances, you may wonder? Well, you might be surprised to learn that Vitamin D is not actually a vitamin, but a hormone. Studies show that a lack of Vitamin D can be harmful to our health, as it allows for significantly higher levels of visceral or abdominal fat to surround our vital organs.
There are plenty of natural ways to get more D into your day. Step away from your desk and go for a walk. Skip the gYunique and exercise outside. Leave the lunchroom and eat in the park. Making a little time to slow down and soak up the sunshine is not only great for increasing Vitamin D, but also for reducing stress, which is another unhealthy contributor to weight gain.
For some, life gets real after 30. It is not uncommon for individuals of a certain age to find themselves neck-deep forever balancing the ongoing demands of work, family, finances and more. As the years go by, these day-to-day stressors can unintentionally kick cortisol levels into overdrive. This creates a hormone imbalance that triggers erratic blood sugar and insulin levels, which can increase abdominal fat storage. Because fat cells take their marching orders from cortisol signals, they will hang on to their fat storages for dear life until the stressor (or cortisol imbalance) has ended.
Unfortunately, with today’s fast-paced lifestyles, there is often no end in sight as we jump from one fire into the next. This is why carving out time for self-care is so crucial! It affects all areas of our health and improves our overall sense of well-being. So, remember to be kind to yourself, get enough rest, and unplug for a while. These are just a few ways to help reduce stress and help lower your cortisol.
Did you know that women can begin to experience perimenopausal symptoms as early as their mid-30’s? As ovulation and hormone levels begin to fluctuate, some women will notice the development of stubborn belly fat. A regular exercise routine combined with sufficient rest, and a reduction in calories, sugars and starches are all logical places to begin when attempting to lose weight. However, when low progesterone is the issue, it can result in other perimenopausal symptoms besides weight gain such as irregular periods, low libido, breast tenderness, fatigue, and more. Fortunately, progesterone levels can be brought back into balance under the proper guidance of a healthcare professional using Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) and a customized low dosage of progesterone cream.
Middle-Age Spread: Weight Gain in Older Women & Men
Hormonal imbalances can affect women at any time in their lives, but when ovulation winds down in perimenopause, that’s when most weight problems begin. As progesterone levels decline, estrogen dominance can occur which may inhibit or block the delivery of thyroid hormones to the cells that need them. This imbalance can cause the metabolism to slow down and trigger weight gain in the hips and thighs. Despite diet and exercise, women over 50 frequently struggle to lose these additional pounds that pack on during menopause.
In the meantime, men also struggle with dropping hormone levels as they age. DHEA and testosterone are responsible for men’s lean muscle mass, but as imbalances develop with age, the metabolism becomes sludgy. Yesterday’s dad bod can quickly devolve into tomorrow’s bad bod as an unhealthy spare tire develops around the middle with this decrease in essential hormones. Weight gain is only made worse by high stress levels that increase cortisol levels and contribute to fat storage.
BHRT and Testosterone therapy can help to stop and reverse middle-age spread, while also addressing a host of other related symptoms, as both menopause and reduced testosterone can lead to irritability, depression, loss of libido, reduced energy levels and more.
Battling Stubborn Weight Gain
Without addressing the root cause for your weight issue, diets and exercise strategies will never produce lasting long-term results. If weight management is an ongoing issue, despite your best efforts, then it might be time to investigate deeper. Getting your hormone levels tested is a helpful first step in determining your most effective treatment options.
Comprehensive Hormone Testing & Therapies
There are a variety of hormone tests available that provide varying degrees of insight. Saliva and dried blood spot testing are effective methods for measuring unbound, active hormone levels related to weight gain.
At YM, your saliva and dried blood spot tests allow us to measure your estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, cortisol, thyroid, and Vitamin D levels, as well as detect risks for insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. We provide you with a comprehensive hormone report that outlines our lab findings, identifies any hormone imbalances related to weight gain and other symptoms, and gives recommendations for hormone rebalancing therapies that may be right for you.
Peptides for Weight Management
Peptides are vital in carrying out a wide range of important biological functions. In fact, there are approximately 7,000 known peptides that exist within us. While some peptides are studied for their ability in managing cancers, dementia, diabetes and heart disease, a number of them are also recognized for their power in facilitating safe and effective weight loss.
Peptide CJC 1295 and Ipamorelin are not hormones themselves, but when combined with other peptides, they can help to naturally increase your own Growth Hormone (GH) secretion. Known as Growth Hormone Releasing Peptides, these peptides can be combined into an injection or cream to effectively increase muscle mass and reliably burn the stubborn visceral fat that builds around the abdomen. Some individuals have been known to lose up to 75 pounds when peptide therapy is incorporated as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.
How Peptides Can Benefit Your Health
Utilizing peptides to increase the secretion of your own Growth Hormone can help to:
- Melt abdominal fat stores for safe and effective weight loss
- Increase skeletal muscle mass for strength and performance
- Eliminate insulin resistance by sensitizing cells’ glucose receptors
- Clean out damaged cells and improve cellular function
- Prolong longevity by reducing the risk factors for cancer, dementia, heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes
CJC 1295 and Ipamorelin are only two examples of peptides capable of increasing lean muscle mass and eliminating unwanted fat. Talk to us at YM about how we can help you identify and address the underlying causes of your stubborn weight gain, so you can finally return your body to its best self.
Larry Siegel, NP – YM
Larry Siegel is an ARNP and certified SottoPelle practitioner who offers his services at YM clinics in the greater Ocala and The Villages areas of Florida. He founded YM in 2016 in order to create a clinic that offered only the highest quality of ongoing care and anti-aging therapies (including bioidentical hormone replacement, peptide therapy and more) outside the rigid standards of traditional medicine.