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Are My Hormones Preventing Fat Loss?

Are My Hormones Preventing Fat Loss?

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Hormones… blame the hormones. As we age, our bodies change, our mind changes, our muscles change, our physique changes, our drive changes, our fat mass increases…and we blame the hormones. We’re doomed, right?

Not so fast! Hormonal change doesn’t have to be negative.

Functional medicine is an integrative type of medicine in which a full-body biology-based approach is taken to identify causes of issues rather than treating symptoms. We need to assess individuals from the inside out, head to toe, rather than just hearing the symptoms and treating them with a pill or cream.

Are We Doomed?
Through the natural aging process, most hormones start to decline – but is it the chicken or the egg? What actually happens first: hormones decrease, we start to lose muscle mass and gain fat mass, or vice versa? Do hormones change, and then sleep suffers, or are we getting unrestful sleep, and then the hormones are affected?

Hear me out.

Men and women often say, “I never had this belly fat before my hormones changed. I have tried everything and can’t get rid of it, so it is just part of aging,” or “I never had this flat tire before I was 50 years old, and now, no matter what I do, it’s impossible to lose,” or “I never had this ‘beer belly’ before I turned 60, but I cannot possibly exercise any more than I am, so it is what it is.”

Certainly, when “things change,” and we try “everything under the sun” without seeing fat loss, our clothes fitting better, or more muscle definition, it is frustrating and easy to just blame the hormones. However, these are symptoms of a problem. Anytime we have symptoms, we have to identify the cause.

Let’s Get to the Bottom of This
As we age, we naturally start to lose muscle mass, a process called sarcopenia. As we age, our body’s ability to stimulate muscle protein synthesis, or the ability for the body to stimulate the proteins to build muscle mass, declines. This results in less overall muscle mass. As muscle mass declines, the body’s metabolic rate, or the rate at which we burn calories at rest, also declines.

Simultaneously, the risk of insulin resistance increases through the aging process. Insulin resistance is a metabolic dysfunction in which the body is not metabolizing food, specifically carbohydrates and sugar, efficiently, resulting in higher blood sugar and insulin levels. Insulin resistance can occur due to vitamin deficiencies, poor nutrient balance through diet, lack of physical exertion, a decrease in muscle mass, medications, hormonal changes, or medical comorbidities such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and autoimmune disease.

Sarcopenia can occur due to insulin resistance, less physical activity, less strength training, a lack of protein in the meal plan, and medications. Yes, a loss in muscle mass can increase the risk of insulin resistance, and insulin resistance can increase the risk of a loss of muscle mass.

You are probably also hung up on the fact that I said insulin resistance can occur due to hormonal changes – so, once again, hormones are the issue, and we are doomed. And if all this is impacted by a normal aging process…hormone replacement and medications must be the only answer, right? Wrong.

Treat the Problem, Not the Symptom
First things first – let’s actually assess your metabolism, your blood sugar, and your vitamin levels. Let’s look at your medical history, your medications, and your other diagnoses impacting your metabolism. Let’s assess the amount of inflammation in your body. Sure, your hormones have decreased, though your symptoms (stubborn fat, fatigue, and poor sleep) are likely coming from something else.

  1. Blood sugar stability is more challenging as we age due to the change in muscle-to-fat ratio, vitamin levels, and the body’s ability to metabolize glucose (sugar).
    We must focus on getting the proper amount of lean protein into our body with the right balance of complex (good) carbohydrates and unsaturated (healthy) fats. In some cases, plant sterols can be helpful in aiding in efficient glucose metabolism. With stable blood sugar, our fat loss, vitamin levels, sleep, energy, recovery time, and muscle-building opportunities significantly improve.
  2. Optimizing vitamin levels is essential to improving many of the symptoms we are experiencing. For instance, Magnesium is important for sleep, bowel movements, metabolism, muscle aches and cramps, headaches, melatonin production, and reducing stress and anxiety. Vitamin D is vital to improve blood sugar stability, fat loss, preventing depression and anxiety, and bone health. Vitamin B12 is important for nerve health, brain health, energy, and metabolism. Ferritin is the iron-storage level in our body, which is vital for energy, preventing restless leg syndrome, and more. This is just a pinch of the vitamin levels that should be assessed when it comes to hormonal symptoms, as we often lack vital nutrients and vitamins as we age (trigger gut health conversation).
  3. Identify the proper amount of strength training versus cardiovascular exercise for maintaining or gaining muscle mass and protecting heart health.
  4. Assess gut health. This is a topic for another day, though it is extremely important in optimizing our health, nutrient absorption, and reducing inflammation! 70% of our immune system starts in the gut! If you’re in a constant state of inflammation (which you may not recognize as an issue), your metabolism is severely compromised.
  5. Hydration. Are you drinking enough? Most likely, no. Dehydration can decrease your metabolism by 30%!

The symptoms of increased fat mass you are experiencing as your hormones are changing are often due to very treatable conditions, malnutrition, and vitamin deficiencies. It is simple to make these changes, though it is not easy – it requires work and change! Contact Berman Health and Wellness today to receive a free consultation and to start improving your hormone imbalance symptoms. This offer is good when you present this article!

Berman Health and Wellness is a Functional Medicine Center that helps individuals reach their goal weight and optimize their gut health while avoiding needless medications and achieving the highest quality of life imaginable. Focusing on and optimizing gut health is vital to protecting our brain, metabolism, hormones, and longevity. Call 239.431.0232 or visit: www.bermanpt.com/wellness to learn more.