Archive for July, 2010

HORMONES & WEIGHT GAIN/LOSS

Posted in Emotional Challenges w/Weight Loss, Health & Nutrition, Weight Loss, Weight Loss - A Must for Longevity & A Quality Life!!! on July 1, 2010 by karasjourneytohealth

Prior to Low Glycemic-Impact Eating & Exercise

I have recently heard many overweight people discuss concerns that their weight gain or difficulty with weight loss is probably due to hormonal imbalances.  Many are throwing themselves into using cremes, etc. to try and balance various hormones in their bodies.  They often do this without seeing a Dr. or being tested. 

I am not a doctor or a specialist yet I am a morbidly obese post menopausal woman and have definitely been down the road of, “If I could just get my hormones in balance then maybe I could easily discard the excess pounds.”  I think it’s a human flaw that we often want to find the easy way out and I’m plagued with it myself.  I’ve seen many doctors over the last 6 years, have had lots of blood work done to check many hormones and I have read many books.  It’s not all been in vain and I’ve learned enough to know there’s no easy way to Health, Wellness and Shedding those Excess Pounds.  I’ve also learned enough to realize that I had to suck it up, make lifestyle changes and do it the old fashioned way.  EAT HEALTHY & EXERCISE.

The following will give you an extremely brief explanation of some of the hormones in the body that affect our weight.  If you want more detailed information there are too many books to count on the subject.  Also, the internet is packed with information.  Some of the details listed below are from Wikepedia on the internet.

I would love to suggest an easy solution to the hormone saga and how it ties in with weight gain and weight loss but that would be misleading.  There are many factors and quite a few hormones that can affect our weight.

We have the basic male and female sex hormones; Estrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone. There are a few more that I’m not mentioning at this time.  As men and women age these hormone levels drop and it can lead to a slower metabolism and weight gain.

The thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), are tyrosine-based hormones produced by the thyroid gland primarily responsible for regulation of metabolism.  If these hormones are unbalanced then a person may gain excess weight or have difficulty shedding excess pounds.

The adrenals, small glands located above each kidney, produce a number of important hormones. The adrenals’ inner medulla produces epinephrine and norepinephrine (adrenaline).  Adrenals also contain an outer cortex, which produces hormones such as cortisol, aldosterone, testosterone, DHEA, DHEAS, androstenedione and estrogens. Cortisol and aldosterone are two of the most important hormones the body makes. Excesses or deficiencies of these hormones results in important clinical problems. Cortisol, a glucocorticoid, is the stress hormone and is involved in weight control.   When you are under stress Cortisol levels increase and this can lead to weight gain especially belly fat.

HCG is a hormone that occurs most notably in the bodies of pregnant women.  HCG stands for human chronic gonadotropin.  There are many promises of what HCG injections can do to accelerate weight loss.  One clinic states lose X amount a day and keep it off with a personalized diet plan.  Did you catch that last part about a personalized diet plan?  Once again, you can’t escape the healthy eating part.

I did bio-identical hormone replacement therapy and although it did improve my memory due to low Testosterone levels and my energy levels were elevated I did not shed a pound.  Other women who worked in the clinic took off between 5 to 15 pounds but it did not throw their metabolism into accelerated and continuous fat burning mode.  I plan to get bio-identical hormone therapy in the future as I feel that it will be a good adjunct and support for my body now that I am on the Low Glycemic-Index Impact Program and exercising on a regular basis.  I would like to mention at this time that the Low Glycemic-Index Impact Program is not a diet, it is a lifestyle change and one that you can easily follow for the rest of your life.  Saying this, it is a good time to mention the fact that ingesting refined sugar throws your hormones out of whack.  I believe that if your hormones are off, even a small amount then it may be enough to make it more difficult for the body to deal with weight loss yet I do not feel that it will replace or take the place of eating healthy and exercising.

Insulin is a hormone that is central to regulating the energy and glucose metabolism in the body.  Insulin causes cells in the liver, muscle, and fat tissue to take up glucose from the blood, storing it as glycogen in the liver and muscle.

Insulin stops the use of fat as an energy source.  When insulin is absent, glucose is not taken up by body cells and the body begins to use fat as an energy source.

The human body maintains blood glucose levels within relatively narrow parameters.  These parameters are 80-100 and when you go above or below these parameters you can eat broccoli and your body will turn it into fat.

I personally found this particular piece of information daunting as I’ve spent more than four decades training my body to go long periods without food via diet pills and crash dieting.  Now I discover that those long bouts without food have attributed greatly to my morbid obesity.

Also, when I was tested my thyroid was somewhat low and I did begin a RX but made the choice to discontinue it after 6 months because it made me feel so crappy.  This was against the advice of my doctor but it is my body.  I was also dealing with pretty severe adrenal exhaustion and made lifestyle changes to counteract that.  Working on stress is a big one, paying attention to the exhaustion I was feeling and allowing myself to rest when needed.  Now that I’m going to the gym on a regular basis I’ve rediscovered that it’s a wonderful way to relieve stress and raising those endorphins is a natural and healthy way to battle depression.

April 2010 - Began Low Glygemic-Impact Eating Feb. 2010 & started exercise regimen Feb. 5, 2010 - Weight Loss of 71 Lbs. as of June 23, 2010

Bottom line, you won’t and can’t escape the tried and true method of a healthy eating plan and exercise.  There is no magic bullet, pill, injection, etc.  There are supplements, hormone replacement therapies, etc. that will give your body the needed support to magnify and speed up your success rate but they cannot be used as an alternative to a healthy lifestyle.  If you feel that you have a hormonal imbalance that is keeping you from weight loss or causing you to put on extra pounds then I suggest you see your physician and have blood work done.  This will give you the most accurate picture of what your body needs.

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