Although each of these conditions is unique and comes with its own complexities, there are lifestyle changes that can be implemented to support overall hormonal health and help combat weight gain.
Quality sleep is essential for hormonal health. A lack of sleep compromises the body’s ability to regulate stress hormones, which can lead to high blood pressure. High blood pressure causes systemic strain on bodily functions and can worsen the symptoms of hormonal conditions.
Moreover, sleep helps maintain healthy levels of hormones that monitor appetite and blood glucose levels. Poor sleep quality can lead to more intense food cravings, particularly for sugar and carbohydrates, which can lead to further weight gain.
High blood sugar can cause further hormonal dysregulation as elevated insulin levels can lead to the production of more testosterone in women, potentially causing facial hair and acne. Additionally, it can lead to excess estrogen, worsening the symptoms of menstruation.
Monitor Your Stress
When you are stressed, your levels of cortisol rise, which in turn increase insulin levels. Higher levels of insulin result in lower blood sugar and cravings for sugary, fatty foods. This is because hundreds of years ago, when the body experienced stress, it was advantageous to eat sugary foods that would immediately give the body a boost of energy to run away from or fight off danger. In other words, this is one of the body’s “fight or flight responses.” However, today this bodily response is no longer beneficial as it can potentially cause weight gain and worsen hormonal imbalances.
For those suffering from thyroid dysfunction, stress can significantly impact this condition. The thyroid works in connection with the adrenal glands, the organ responsible for producing cortisol. When under stress, the thyroid gland can slow the body’s metabolism. More specifically, the metabolism slows because the thyroid’s production of triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) hormone levels fall during periods of stress. Also, the conversion of T4 hormone to T3 may not occur, leading to higher levels of reverse T3. The combination of these hormonal changes leads to a weakened metabolism which is likely to cause weight gain.
Therefore, it is important to regularly destress and practice self-care:
Support Your Adrenals
Because stress is linked to weight gain and can impact other components of the endocrine system, it is important to support the gland that monitors the body’s stress response: the adrenal glands.
One way to do this is through the supplementation of adaptogens. Adaptogens are a class of herb that has system balancing qualities. Many adaptogens have been used for centuries to alleviate stress and support better hormone balance. These impressive herbs can be identified through their impressive beneficial attributes.
Adaptogens improve can improve your ability to cope with physiological stressors, provide stimulating effects for both single-use and long-term use, and help normalize bodily functions. Additionally, adaptogens are considered to be exceptionally safe and have minimal risk of adverse side effects.
Get Your Vitamin D
Vitamin D is known for its immunity benefits but it is also incredibly important for hormonal health. This is because a vitamin D deficiency can lead to lower levels of estrogen. As estrogen regulates glucose and lipid metabolism, low estrogen levels can result in weight gain. If you are interested in supplementing with vitamin D, consider Holtraceuticals’ high-quality, doctor-formulated supplements.
When suffering from a hormonal imbalance, a couple of dietary changes may be necessary. It is important to avoid inflammatory food, as it can cause systemic stress and further dysregulation. For those with a thyroid condition, it can even cause the thyroid to swell, which can significantly impact the function of this gland. Consequently, it is not only beneficial to avoid inflammatory foods such as dairy, gluten, and alcohol, but also to incorporate anti-inflammatory foods into your meals regularly.
Regular exercise not only supports weight loss but also hormone-regulating systems. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderately intense aerobic activity in addition to muscle-strengthening activity at least twice a week for adults.
Please note it is important to consult your doctor on what exercise, if any, is best for you and your individual situation.
If you are suffering from weight gain due to a hormonal imbalance, you are not alone. It can be incredibly difficult to navigate and if you feel you are not getting the help you need, contact Holtorf Medical Group today. Our team of experienced doctors will not just treat your symptoms, rather we will address the root cause in order to improve your quality of life.