The reasons your weight isn’t budging no matter how hard you exercise and how little you eatSep 29, 2022
You’re working out, dieting, tracking your food- but your weight still not budging?
I hear this ALL. THE. TIME. from my clients.
“I exercise every day, watch log I eat, tried eliminating dairy and gluten, and STILL don’t see a change on the scale or in the way my clothes fit. I feel hopeless.”
If this sounds familiar, I want you to know, that you are definitely NOT alone. If you’ve struggled to lose or maintain your weight or if you have put on more than a few pounds in areas like the hips, thighs, and midsection, you likely have a hidden hormonal imbalance that is completely sabotaging your best efforts to look and feel the way you deserve!
So let’s break it down… what are the top hormone-related reasons you’re dealing with this unwanted weight
1. You’re overexercising! AKA high cortisol
Most of us have been taught by diet culture, trainers, and even doctors that in order to lose weight we have to burn more calories than we consume.. but with respect to hormones, working out too much can cause our cortisol levels to spike which can actually signal our bodies to hang on to the fat we are trying to lose! So it’s important to focus on low-impact movement and building lean muscle which fuels your metabolism. If you haven’t tried my workouts yet, you can download my app and test out my 7-day free trial. It’s proof you don’t have to workout HARD or for an hour to see results.
Your body needs to recover from all of the breaking down of muscle tissue that happens during workouts so it’s equally as important to create space to unwind every day with calming activities like stretching, meditation, yoga, and walks in nature to balance cortisol levels and get the body out of fight or flight so it feels like it is safe to lose weight.
2. Estrogen dominance / low progesterone
Estrogen dominance is one of the most common hormonal imbalances women experience today. Yet, many of us are still not familiar with the term and don’t realize that it's often the culprit behind weight loss frustrations. This imbalance happens when the ratio between your estrogen and progesterone levels gets thrown out of balance from any number of lifestyle factors like chronic stress, a poor diet low in fiber and high in processed carbs and sugar, lack of sleep, and exposure to toxins. Hormone-dependent weight gain that’s caused by estrogen dominance is really stubborn and often accompanied by other symptoms like heavy, painful periods and PMS, water retention, and bloating that make losing weight that much harder until you bring balance to the hormone ratio.
3. Thyroid dysfunction
Hypothyroidism happens when the gland cannot make enough thyroid hormone, which can be a result of:
•surgical removal of the thyroid
•imbalances of other master hormones (like HPA axis dysfunction from too much stress)
Weight gain often goes hand in hand with an under-active thyroid because the low levels of the active form of thyroid hormone cause the metabolism to slow down!
4. Adrenal issues (again)
High / low cortisol leading to adrenal fatigue occurs when the adrenal glands have been on overdrive, working nonstop under periods of heightened stress to meet increased energy needs, but over time have trouble keeping up with the bodily demand. We’re human, not energizer bunnies. When stress levels stay high without reprieve, the adrenals remain in fight or flight mode to keep us going by increasing alertness (sleeplessness), appetite (overeating), and fat reserves (stored as belly fat).
So how do you know if you have adrenal issues beyond the belly fat?
•Steady progression of weight gain or difficulty losing weight
•Body aches and pain
•Waking up feeling tired or exhausted even after 7-8 hours of sleep
•Low energy all-day
5. Insulin resistance/blood sugar issues
85% of Americans are metabolically unhealthy, many of whom have issues with blood sugar, hba1c, and insulin, so it’s no wonder those people have a much harder time losing weight.
Insulin resistance happens when a diet too high in refined carbs and simple sugars overloads the cells of the body so that they fail to respond (resistance) to insulin and can't absorb the excess glucose, leading to chronically elevated insulin levels and increased fat storage as well as hormonal imbalance such as PCOS (polycystic ovarian disease) and increased risks for diabetes cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Just something to note…
More than 100 million Americans currently have diabetes or pre-diabetes which is close to 1/3 of the population. Nearly 1 in 4 people with diabetes don’t know they have it and almost 90% of people with pre-diabetes aren’t aware of their condition.
It’s important to understand that insulin resistance doesn’t just happen after a weekend of treat meals and sweets, but rather is a result of a lifestyle filled with quickly absorbed sugars, liquid calories (think soda pop, sweetened teas & alcohol), and an abundance of simple carbs like white bread & potatoes, pasta, crackers, and rice. Over time your cells slowly become resistant to insulin and that’s when things go south. The higher your insulin levels become, the more intense the insulin resistance, which can lead to rapid aging and weight gain, obesity, high blood pressure, intense sugar cravings, fatigue, and eventually diabetes, heart disease, stroke, dementia, and cancer.
Women of any age can have a hormone imbalance that causes them to gain weight, but those over 50 often find that the end of periods marks the beginning of weight problems. In the absence of ovulation, deficiencies of progesterone create a relative surplus of estrogen (i.e. Estrogen Dominance - mentioned at the start of this article), which triggers weight gain in the hips and thighs, and slows metabolism so that it becomes more challenging than ever to lose weight!
7. Low vitamin D
So many of the women I see are deficient in vitamin D and they do think it’s a big deal. But when we are deficient in vitamin D, health issues like chronic fatigue, food allergies, increased body fat (particularly in the abdomen), depression and anxiety, and long-term cancer risk can arise.
Vitamin D is actually a HORMONE that is synthesized in our bodies through cholesterol by the action of sunlight upon the skin (our main source of D3) but we also can get Vitamin D from fortified foods.
Levels of vitamin D are lower today than they were just a decade ago. In fact, about 1/2 of the US population is deficient. Major risk factors for vitamin D-deficiency include:
•lack of proper sun exposure (15 mins in sun without sunscreen is ideal),
•inadequate dietary intake
•malabsorption syndromes (leaky gut/ SIBO/ celiac disease)