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Medically reviewed by
Constance Tambakis Odom, MD graduated in 1987 with her Doctorate of Medicine from the New York Medical College, and was an Anesthesiologist Resident from 1988 to 1991 at the Brookdale Medical Center PGY II (CA-I)-PGY IV (CA-III). She is Board Certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology since 1998 and American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine since 2002. Constance Odom, MD is affiliated with the American Medical Association, American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, American Society of Anesthesiology, Georgia Society of Anesthesiology, Hellenic Medical Society of New York, North Carolina Society of Anesthesiology, and Society of Ambulatory Anesthesia.
Our first reaction to seeing the scale tip out of our favor is to fault ourselves and feel defeated. We interpret weight gain as a failing of our willpower and lifestyle choices.
This is because we are constantly told that our bodies are always within our control. We control what we consume and we control what we burn, right?
This is commonly referred to as the "calories in, calories out" model. But, this model only tells part of the story. What it doesn't account for is the individual's biology or the effects the calories we are consuming have on our bodies.
The truth is no diet or exercise plan works for everyone and all calories are not created equal. The effects certain foods have on hormones and our own chemical makeup tells demonstrates this reality clearly.
Hormones are the body's messengers. They regulate our metabolism, blood sugar, fat storage, and many other functions. Our hormones' jobs are to work in our body's favor to ensure survival.
Sometimes, however, our hormones can become imbalanced resulting in less than desirable outcomes such as weight gain.
Read on to learn the signs that a hormonal imbalance could be the cause of your recent weight gain.
Explore the following clues a hormonal imbalance could be contributing to weight gain.
Stress is associated with a hormone known as cortisol. Cortisol tells the body to continue storing energy instead of burning it because it interprets stress as a threat to your survival.
This response was extremely beneficial when food sources were scarce or an immediate attack was imminent. In modern times, however, where stress is plentiful this can hinder progress resulting in weight gain, fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia, and anxiety.
Stress is either causing you to eat more to store energy for "the next threat" or it could be holding on to energy to prepare for the next threat. Either way, if stress is causing your weight gain, it's time to find ways to de-stress.
If you notice weight gain in only specific areas of your body such as your hips or belly then this could be due to a hormonal imbalance.
Weight gain in your midsection could be due to cortisol and insulin whereas weight gain in your hips could be due to an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone.
Chronic stress, sugar, and low-quality carbohydrates such as highly processed bread all lead to insulin resistance which results in excess belly fat storage.
If you are nearing menopause, then weight gain in your hips could be due to a drop in estrogen.
If you noticed a change in your skin, hair, and nails in conjunction with your weight gain a hormonal imbalance may be to blame. If your hair, nails, and skin are thinning, drier, and more brittle then it could be a sign that your hormones are out of whack.
A hormonal imbalance can be treated in a variety of ways, but first, it needs to be properly discovered and then diagnosed. Based on a diagnosis, a doctor may prescribe medication or suggest a specific diet and exercise plan to manage and counteract the hormonal imbalance.
NuImage strives to offer access to hormonal blood testing with reduced boundaries so that you can be a direct agent in bettering your health. Test your cortisol levels or estrogen levels via a blood test by ordering today and then visiting a nearby lab at your convenience. Our tests are easy-to-read and you will be advised if an additional doctor's visit is needed based on your results.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.