You’ve been eating right. Exercising regularly. Getting good quality sleep. So why isn’t the number on the scale budging?

If you’ve been trying to lose weight and haven’t been successful, or you’ve been gaining weight recently and you don’t know why, you’re not alone. And with more than 78 million obese adults in the U.S., as reported by the CDC, and approximately that same number again overweight, the issue of weight control is more important than ever. We’ve heard the same advice of “eat less, exercise more” for years, but the problem isn’t getting better. So what’s going on?

Over the years, I’ve found that the reason for stubborn weight in the people I’ve seen isn’t laziness or overindulgence, but undiagnosed and untreated health problems. Until those problems are discovered and addressed, weight cannot return to an optimal level. There are many potential underlying causes of weight gain and inability to lose weight, but today I want to focus on one that most people don’t consider: hormone imbalances.

4 Hormone Imbalances That Can Cause Weight Gain

Hormones are chemical messengers in the body that affect everything from reproductive cycles to sleep cycles to the fight-or-flight response and everything in between. I wrote about them and their relationship to health in my first book, Hormones, Health, and Happiness. But for how crucial they are to good health, most people don’t know much about them. Here are four hormone imbalances you should know about if you’re fighting weight problems.

1. Estrogen and progesterone imbalance in women

In midlife, as a woman nears perimenopause and menopause, the balance of her hormones naturally shifts. Estrogen becomes more prevalent while progesterone decreases. This shift in balance often leads to weight gain, as unbalanced estrogen promotes fat storage, and reduced progesterone is also associated with weight gain. Fortunately, the use of bioidentical progesterone often alleviates the problem.

Hormone replacement therapy is linked to the reversal of menopause-related obesity.(1) Estrogen replacement has effects on body fat distribution in postmenopausal women that are associated with improved lipid parameters. (2) Progesterone relieves fluid retention caused by an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone.  Research demonstrates that female obesity is linked to a progesterone deficiency.(3) A higher body weight was associated with a lower progesterone level, even in ovulatory women.(4)

2. Low testosterone in men

Think “low testosterone” and you probably think “low libido.” While it’s true that low testosterone in men can cause low libido, it can cause many other symptoms like moodiness, indecisiveness, loss of motivation, decreased mental sharpness, lack of muscle tone, and weight gain. Again, bioidentical hormones can help. Research shows that a testosterone deficiency in men has been linked with obesity and the metabolic syndrome.(5) Another study showed that testosterone levels decreased with aging contribute to obesity.(6)

3. Low thyroid

Hypothyroidism – when the thyroid is performing at suboptimal levels – is another potential cause of weight gain. Your thyroid governs your metabolism by enabling your cells to produce and use energy. When thyroid hormone isn’t properly absorbed by the body, the metabolic rate is depressed, which makes it easier for the body to gain weight, and much harder to get it off.

Research shows that obesity was higher in overt hypothyroidism than in subclinical hypothyroidism, meaning that more patients were overweight in overt hypothyroidism group than in subclinical hypothyroidism group. Overall thyroid dysfunction was found more in obese individuals. (7)

Research demonstrates a higher prevalence of hypothyroidism in overweight and obese individuals, thus suggesting that thyroid function should be evaluated in all obese patients.(8) Research showed that those with the highest T3 levels had the greatest tendency for their weight-loss to level out and, had the least suppression of T4 levels. Some obese patients who do not readily lose weight on conventional low-calorie diets may have an impaired metabolic clearance rate of T3 and a degree of T3 resistance. (9)

4. Too much cortisol

Cortisol is a hormone produced in the adrenal glands. Its main role is to help convert protein and fat molecules into sugar (glucose) for immediate energy. Cortisol levels naturally fluctuate throughout the day, but in some people with chronic stress, cortisol levels are chronically elevated. At high levels, cortisol can cause weight gain. Chronically high cortisol levels can be addressed by making changes to diet and lifestyle, exercising regularly, and actively reducing stress through activities like meditation or deep breathing.

Watch as Dr. Hotze explains the cause of unexplained weight gain:

Is A Hormone Imbalance Responsible For Your Weight Gain?

You may already suspect that you have an issue with one of the above hormone imbalances. If so, take this Symptom Checker to find out if a hormone imbalance is at the root of your weight gain.

Imagine how good you’ll feel when you achieve your ideal body weight! If you’re ready to take charge of your health, then I strongly encourage you to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of my Wellness Consultants. One of the things you’re really going to love about them is they will listen to your health concerns and share with you how our program can treat your symptoms naturally. Give them a call at 281-698-8698 today.

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Dr. Hotze and Dr. Sheridan on Thyroid and Weight Loss

1. Obesity and Sarcopenia After Menopause are Reversed by Sex Hormone Replacement Therapy
2. Effects of Estradiol With and Without Testosterone on Body Composition and Relationships with Lipids in Postmenopausal Women
3. Pulsatile Luteinizing Hormone Amplitude and Progesterone Metabolite Excretion are Reduced in Obese Women
4. Predictors of Ovarian Steroid Secretion in Reproductive-Age Women
5. Relative Androgen Deficiency in Relation to Obesity and Metabolic Status in Older Men
6. Serum Total and Bioavailable Testosterone Levels, Central Obesity, and Muscle Strength Changes With Aging in Healthy Chinese Men
7. Hypothyroidism and Obesity. Cause or Effect?
8. High Prevalence of Previously Unknown Subclinical Hypothyroidism in Obese Patients Referred to a Sleep Clinic for Sleep Disordered Breathing
9. Treatment of Obesity with Triiodothyronine and a Very-Low-Calorie Liquid Formula Diet