You exercise, you eat clean nourishing foods, and you’ve cut out sugar – but you still aren’t losing weight.
Could your hormones be the reason?
I see this a lot in my practice. I have patients who work SO hard to lose weight, and do everything RIGHT, but still no results. Why does this happen?
Well for some people, the answer lies in their test results – their hormone test results that is. When we test the function of their thyroid and adrenal glands we find that they are not functioning optimally and sabotaging their weight-loss efforts. The truth is, if your hormones are out of whack, you can run on the treadmill till you’re blue in the face, but you still won’t lose weight and keep it off.
Are you feeling crabby, fatigued and gaining weight? It could be that your thyroid, a butterfly shaped gland in your neck, is under-functioning and you are experiencing hypothyroidism. Thyroid function is directly connected with your body’s metabolism, as thyroid hormones basically regulate calorie consumption. An under-active thyroid tends to cause a very low basal metabolic rate, which then translates to one of the most noticeable symptoms of hypothyroidism – weight gain and difficulty losing weight.
Naturopathic doctors can do a lot to treat the thyroid naturally by supporting it with botanical medicine, diet, supplementation, lifestyle, acupuncture, etc. We also look at the whole picture and address the root cause of your thyroid issue; because a healthy thyroid also depends on the proper functioning of other body mechanisms, including your neurotransmitters, your reproductive hormones and your adrenal glands.
Your adrenal glands are two thumb sized glands that sit on top of your kidneys. They are responsible for secreting many hormones, including our stress hormone cortisol. When we’re under stress, our flight or fight response is triggered in our bodies, leading to the release of cortisol and various other hormones. Our adrenal glands govern the stress response by secreting hormones relative to our stress levels. They actually help control many hormonal cycles and functions in our body.
When the adrenal glands are overworked, the body prepares for disaster, by storing fat and calories. We then experience food cravings, lose precious energy, and we gain weight. Chronic stress, overtime, takes it’s toll on our adrenal glands and they become fatigued leading to what is know as adrenal fatigue or adrenal insufficiency.
This is something that I see a lot with my patients – typically the patients who tell me that they work out hard for hours but see no results. What they don’t know is that those crazy, long, intense workouts are actually doing more harm than good. When you have adrenal fatigue, it’s not about working out longer, it’s about working out smarter! If you work out too long or too intensely your body will produce even more cortisol and this can actually harm your adrenal glands further.
I see this with patients who tell me that they need to nap after they work out or have poor recovery after exercise. To get the most out of your exercise, while not further harming your adrenals, avoid super high intensity exercise for long periods of time and instead try moderate exercise for 30-40mins. You want your workouts to energize you and boost your metabolism, not add to your fatigue.
So what else can you do?
I recommend you see your naturopathic doctor or primary care provider and ask them whether or not this could be an issue for you. Perhaps you have an underlying medical condition that is keeping you from losing weight. But with the proper support, your body will get the help it needs in order to help you feel better faster.
When I have patients who come to me who want to lose weight, we look at the whole picture. How is your body functioning? Is the excess weight simply from poor lifestyle habits or is their an underlying reason that needs more investigation and consideration.
If you are one of the many who are frustrated and tired, and feel that all your efforts are not giving you the results you’ve hoped for, I’d love to help you discover the root cause of what’s really going on with your body. There are a lot of supplements and advice out there, but I encourage you to speak with a trained professional who can take a look at what is really going on with you as an individual and can maximize your efforts to look and feel your best!
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