Hormones play a fundamental role in our bodies and directly impact our health. Women sometimes struggle with weight gain and find it challenging to lose weight despite exercising healthily. So, do hormones influence a woman's weight? In this article, we will clarify the role of hormones in weight gain among women and how to manage hormonal imbalances to maintain a healthy weight.
Hormones play a vital role in metabolism, influencing hunger, satiety, fat burning, and energy consumption, making them among the most significant factors affecting weight loss. Below are the essential hormones that control weight in women:
Insulin is a crucial hormone secreted in the pancreas, helping store and use glucose, a simple sugar generated from food. When a person develops insulin resistance, their body cannot respond to insulin and transport glucose into cells, causing elevated blood sugar levels. Insulin resistance is one of the causes of weight gain and obesity, particularly among women. To counter this condition and maintain a healthy weight, a low-carb, high-protein, and healthy-fat diet is recommended, along with regular exercise, adequate sleep, and stress management.
This hormone signals your brain that you're full so that you stop eating. However, it turns out that many people suffering from obesity also have leptin resistance, meaning the fullness signal does not reach the brain, leading to overeating. The exact cause of this condition is still unknown, but it can be managed by following a healthy diet, distributing meals throughout the day, and regular physical activity.
This hormone performs the opposite function of the previous hormone, sending signals to the brain about the sensation of hunger, prompting you to eat. Normal levels of this hormone are highest before eating and lowest after eating. When this hormone is imbalanced, the need persists, leading to overeating. Therefore, it's important not to overeat, drink enough water, and get enough rest, as fatigue and exhaustion can increase the secretion of this hormone.
Also known as the stress hormone, the adrenal glands produce cortisol. While it is essential to help us respond to threats and survive in dangerous situations, chronically elevated cortisol levels due to persistent stress have adverse health effects. High cortisol levels can lead to overeating, weight gain, and difficulty losing weight. Thus, stress and anxiety management are crucial for controlling this hormone levels, which can be achieved through breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, journaling, training, and healthy eating.
Known as the "female hormone," estrogen significantly influences a woman's body and reproductive health from puberty until menopause. It also has a direct impact on heart and bone health. Levels of this hormone fluctuate during various stages of a woman's life, including pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause. A decrease in estrogen levels, especially during menopause, has been found to cause weight gain, particularly around the belly area. This explains why women in their 40s and 50s often find it difficult to lose weight. Excessive obesity can elevate estrogen levels, leading to chronic illnesses and some cancers. Therefore, it's essential to monitor hormone levels and seek medical advice to maintain them at healthy levels.
The thyroid gland produces three hormones that affect overall body health, significantly impacting women's well-being. When suffering from hypothyroidism, thyroid hormone levels drop, resulting in a slower metabolism and reduced ability to burn fat, leading to weight gain and difficulty in weight loss. Therefore, consulting a doctor for thyroid treatment to adjust the hormone levels is crucial to alleviate troublesome symptoms and facilitate weight loss.
Although often referred to as the "male hormone," testosterone is also produced in the ovaries and aids in muscle building and maintaining a healthy weight. Hormonal imbalances that occur with age, especially during menopause, can cause a drop in testosterone levels linked to weight gain, sluggish metabolism, and difficulty losing weight.
The pituitary gland in the brain produces this hormone and is responsible for height growth in humans. A deficiency in growth hormone in adults has been linked to fat accumulation and weight gain. Therefore, it's essential to check hormone levels if experiencing excessive weight gain and seek medical advice for its regulation. Experts recommend intermittent fasting, eating healthy foods, and regular exercise to regulate this and other hormones that contribute to weight gain.