Reaching and maintaining a normal weight can be frustrating under the best of circumstances. But if you’re battling unseen, unknown sources, it can seem downright impossible.
If you suspect there’s something more to losing weight than eating a healthy diet, you’re probably right. We invite you to talk with our specialists at The Endocrine Center in Houston, Texas. We can help you discover the complex body issues causing you to gain weight and preventing you from losing it. Here are some of the lesser-known culprits behind obesity.
There’s no way around it — exercising regularly and eating a nutritious diet are essential to maintaining a healthy weight, but it’s more complicated than that. While you can control what you eat and how much you move, there are unseen forces behind the scenes calling the shots inside your body, namely your hormones.
Specifically, insulin, estrogen, androgens, leptin, cortisol, thyroid hormones, and growth hormones are in charge of your metabolism, appetite, and distribution of body fat. If these hormones are out of whack, they may encourage overeating, slow your ability to burn calories for energy, and cause you to retain fat.
Fat cells produce leptin, a hormone that reduces your appetite. Ironically, obese people produce a lot of leptin, but they’ve become desensitized to its appetite-reducing effects so the brain doesn’t get the message to stop eating.
Your pancreas produces the hormone insulin, which regulates how you metabolize fat, but it also triggers the uptake of sugar from your bloodstream. Obesity inhibits insulin signals, leaving too much sugar in your blood, which can lead to Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and obesity.
Where do you store most of your fat? Location matters because belly fat puts you at a higher risk for health problems like arthritis, stroke, and heart disease. The main hormones responsible for fat distribution are the sex hormones estrogens and androgens. As you age, you produce fewer of these hormones, and you accumulate more fat in your abdomen, which is hard to lose.
During childhood and adolescence, your pituitary gland produces a growth hormone that affects your bones, muscles, and height. It also influences your metabolism and the rate of calorie burning. Obese people tend to have lower levels of growth hormones.
You produce cortisol when stressed, which heightens your senses and prepares you to fight or flee a dangerous situation. This is good in short bursts, but chronic stress and excess cortisol take a toll on your body. Long-term exposure to cortisol can lead to Cushing syndrome and weight gain.
Your thyroid gland at the base of your throat produces hormones that help regulate your metabolism. If your thyroid is underactive, you may experience weight gain, but it may not be due to fat accumulation — hypothyroidism is known for triggering water retention.
Inflammation and obesity have a symbiotic relationship. Chronic inflammation can lead to obesity, and obesity can cause increased inflammation.
If you have a chronic condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis, characterized by persistent inflammation, you’re more prone to developing insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, metabolic disorders, and heart disease, making weight gain easier and weight loss more challenging.
On the other hand, obesity itself increases inflammation by triggering your immune response. Your immune system detects an “injury” in your fat cells and sends cytokines to the site. These inflammatory cells are meant to address acute injuries, but in the case of obesity, the battle continues in an unending cycle of inflammation and fat accumulation.
In addition to living a healthy lifestyle, you must understand what’s going on with your hormones if you hope to lose weight. That’s where The Endocrine Center’s team comes in.
Our hormone experts identify imbalances due to age, sleep problems, menopause, or disease that may hinder your weight loss efforts. And we offer effective treatments that eliminate the roadblocks to help you shed the pounds.
Call us at any of our three Houston locations or use our online booking tool to schedule a consultation today and unlock your body’s ability to lose weight.