If you’ve been counting calories, exercising regularly, and still haven’t seen the number on the scale drop in significant ways, you’re in good company. Nearly three-quarters of adults in the US are overweight or obese.
For many people, hormone imbalances can put you at a higher risk of weight gain and make it especially difficult to lose excess pounds. The good news is that with an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment, even adults with hormone challenges can lose weight.
At Chrysolite Aesthetics in Houston, Texas, Dr. Rawan Abu-Zeitoon and our compassionate care team have helped countless patients achieve a healthy body mass with our personalized, doctor-supervised weight loss program.
Here’s a closer look at how your hormones play a role in losing weight and the ways we can help you safely and effectively shed those extra pounds.
The link between hormones and weight
Hormones act as chemical messengers in your body. They send signals and regulate essential functions, including metabolism. When your hormone levels are imbalanced, you may struggle with your weight. Here’s a closer look at several key hormones involved in regulating your weight:
Insulin is primarily responsible for regulating your glucose (blood sugar) levels. When insulin levels are chronically high because of insulin resistance (a condition often associated with obesity), it becomes hard for your body to burn excess fat.
As a result, people with insulin imbalances tend to have a harder time shedding extra weight. Fortunately, effective treatments and lifestyle changes can help.
Leptin is often referred to as the "satiety hormone." This is because it helps control your appetite and energy: Your fat cells release leptin, which then signals your brain that you’ve had enough to eat.
Some people have leptin resistance. This causes your brain to not receive the signals that you’re full. As a result, you feel hungrier and overeat frequently.
Ghrelin is sometimes called the "hunger hormone" because it gets your appetite going. High levels of ghrelin can cause you to overeat and crave high-calorie foods. As such, ghrelin imbalances make weight loss challenging.
The stress hormone cortisol gets released during emotional or physical stress. Elevated cortisol levels can trigger cravings for unhealthy, high-sugar, and high-fat foods. Chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels are associated with weight gain, especially in the belly where it’s more dangerous to your health.
Estrogen is the primary female sex hormone, but it also plays a role in weight regulation. In women, low estrogen levels (especially during menopause) contribute to weight gain — most often around the tummy.
In addition, estrogen helps regulate metabolism and fat distribution. When estrogen levels drop, you can experience increased fat storage and a slower metabolism.
While testosterone is the primary male sex hormone, women also produce it in smaller quantities. This hormone helps maintain lean muscle mass and contributes to overall metabolic rate. Low testosterone levels in both men and women can lead to reduced muscle mass, decreased energy expenditure, and weight gain.
How a medical weight loss program can help
At Chrysolite Aesthetics, your weight loss specialist creates a personalized weight loss program designed to meet your specific needs. This personalized approach combines medications, lifestyle changes, education, and nutritional support to design a plan for your health, goals, lifestyle, and preferences.
In addition to a discussion about your goals and history and a physical exam, your Chrysolite Aesthetics specialist reviews lab work and other tests to check for underlying issues, like hormonal imbalances and more.
This allows your provider to create a holistic picture of your health so your personalized plan meets all your needs. As you lose weight and your health improves, your weight-loss specialist makes adjustments as needed.
For patients with certain hormone conditions, including low testosterone, low estrogen, thyroid issues, insulin resistance/diabetes, your provider may recommend additional lifestyle changes and medications.
For example, an injectable drug called semaglutide may be recommended for patients who meet certain candidacy requirements. This FDA-approved medication functions like a hormone you naturally produce: glucagon-like peptide-1.
This hormone works to regulate your appetite and glucose level. With more even control over these key functions, semaglutide helps people achieve significant weight loss. Dr. Abu-Zeitoon talks to you in detail about whether you’re a candidate for semaglutide.
Learn if hormones are affecting your weight loss and how we can help with our personalized medical weight loss program by scheduling an appointment over the phone or online at Chrysolite Aesthetics in Houston, Texas.