Why Weight Loss and Hormones

Why Does Weight Loss Have More To Do With Hormones Than Calories?

As a fitness and wellness health coach, I’ve worked with people who didn’t eat a lot of calories, but they continued to gain weight or didn’t lose any weight. I was at a loss because for me the recipe was simple. To lose weight, eat less, to gain weight, eat more, and this worked for me.  

However, I worked one client that didn’t eat the healthiest diet, but she didn’t eat a lot. This individual wasn’t fat by any means, but she wasn’t the weight she wanted to be. If we were to accurately describe her body type, then I would classify her as thicker. 

I mostly train men, so it’s a pretty simple equation for men to lose weight, but I haven’t worked with women too much so I had to research this topic more in-depth. In pursuit of insight, I followed into the path of hormones. We know injecting male hormones in the body increases male attributes. For example, greater muscle recovery, higher basil metabolic rate, and physical appearance changes. 

But what does hormones do for women? How does estrogen play a role and what other hormones are responsible? 


What is the connection between insulin and other hormones?

You might’ve heard of an hormone called Insulin, and some refer insulin as the fat storing hormone. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, which regulates the amount of glucose in the blood. Insulin allows the cells in the muscle, fat and liver to absorb glucose that is in your blood. 

Insulin also affects other metabolic processes in the body including the breakdown of fat and protein. When insulin in present in the blood, your body is in a “storing” mode and not a “breaking down” mode. The duration for how long insulin is in the blood depends on the person and the type of foods you’re eating. 

For example, if someone consumes a diet with a lot of sugar, receptors on pancreas produces higher levels of insulin in order to handle the increase blood-glucose levels. Higher elevations of insulin can affect other hormones located in the thyroid, stomach and hypothalamus.  We have hormones that tell us when we’re full or hungry. Ghrelin and leptin are hormones produced in the stomach that signal the brain when we’re full or hungry. 

This is where hormones really come into play. Lack of sleep, stress, anxiety, and poor diet can change hormone levels in the body. Interestingly ghrelin has many other roles as well. Ghrelin regulates glucose homeostasis by inhibiting insulin secretion and regulating gluconeogenesis/glycogenolysis. Ghrelin signaling decreases thermogenesis to regulate energy expenditure. Ghrelin improves the survival prognosis of myocardial infarction by reducing sympathetic nerve activity. Ghrelin prevents muscle atrophy by inducing muscle differentiation and fusion. Ghrelin also regulates bone formation and metabolism by modulating proliferation and differentiation of osteoblasts.

Leptin, a hormone released from the fat cells located in adipose tissues, sends signals to the hypothalamus in the brain. This particular hormone helps regulate and alter long-term food intake and energy expenditure, not just from one meal to the next. The primary design of leptin is to help the body maintain its weight. Because it comes from fat cells, leptin amounts are directly connected to an individual’s amount of body fat. If the individual adds body fat, leptin levels will increase. If an individual lowers body fat percentages, the leptin will decrease as well.

Insulin and Leptin Resistance

Insulin Resistance can occur, which cells in the body stop responding to insulin. For example, muscle cells might resist insulin, so the cells will not open up and take in glycogen. However, your fat cells or liver cells might respond cause weight gain and fatty liver disease. 

Another form of resistance is leptin resistance, which a tolerance for this hormone compromises the bodies response so someone might not feel full. This can occur in obese patients as they can continue to eat since a higher level of leptin is noneffective. 

Hormones all play a role with another much like a symphony in the body. When one hormone is elevated, so are other hormones, or decreased depending on their function in the body. With over 50 hormones in the body regulation important roles, it’s crucial to eat a diet that supports health hormonal levels, lower stress, and sleep well. 

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