How Hormones Affect Weight Loss

By GetFitFocus

If you look around the web for advice on how to lose weight, you’ll find that many individuals only consider the impact of calories when devising a weight loss strategy. However, there are some that understand weight loss can also be affected by other aspects of our body like hormones. Hormones play an important role when it comes to both gaining and losing weight.
Let’s take a look at some criticisms of the ‘calorie deficit’ or ‘calorie only’ approach in regards to dieting.

Cause and Effect

Your body needs to burn fat for energy once it has run out of other sources. It is certainly true that if you have no other means of getting that energy, you will lose fat stores and eventually you will lose weight. This really is simple math – cause and effect. This train of thought really primarily focuses on your ‘AMR’ – active metabolic rate. These calculations are rough guesses at best and they are based on nothing more than your physical features. Even if you use your muscle mass as a measurement, this too does not take into account the underlying issue your hormonal balance. Simply put, some hormones help you to gain fat and some help you to burn fat faster. Some hormones can directly impact the how energy is utilized in your body at any given time. Hormones can also affect how capable your body is of utilizing the various stores of energy it has – like fat.

woman sitting on floor in jeans with no shoes
Photo by Imani Bahati on Unsplash

Just a few of these hormones include:

  • Cortisol
  • Insulin
  • Thyroid hormones (T3 and T4)
  • Adrenaline
  • Serotonin
  • Leptin
  • Ghrelin
  • Testosterone
  • Estrogen
  • Progesterone
  • IGF1
  • Human growth hormone
  • And many more

Hormone Balance

The problem is that we all have different balances of these hormones. Your hormones are in constant flux and are affected by everything from what we are eating at the time and how stressed we are. Hormones can also be affected by how much sleep we’ve had or how sunny it is outside. Some people have imbalances in these hormones that are permanent, while others may use medications that can alter them. Those fitness ‘gurus’ that ignore the role of hormones in weight loss can’t explain why hypothyroidism or polycystic ovaries leads to weight gain. They also can’t explain why using steroids builds muscle and burns fat.

Although you may not have a condition like hypothyroidism but the point to recognize is that these conditions are not really binary. The point is everyone is existing somewhere along the hormonal balance spectrum. You might have a slightly lower production of thyroid hormones than someone else, or you might have higher levels of testosterone compared to others. These are the exact conditions that can explain why some people lose fat very easily and why others struggle to lose it. Our hormones fluctuate as we get older and is why things tend to get harder for us as we age. This also explain why weight loss is harder for us when we are more stressed and tired, perhaps from lack of sleep. These issues upset our hormone balance and puts our bodies into ‘fat storage’ modes.

In Summary

In summary, hormones play a very big role in why we struggle to lose weight — they make us hungry, low in energy and depressed. Typically hormone issues cause us to store fat around the midriff, which is quite noticeable. So the fallacy of just accounting for calories when developing a weight loss strategy can tarnish the effectiveness of any dieting plan. The variability of your hormones and the balance of those hormones will always have some sort of affect on your life and how you gain, maintain and lose fat.

Scroll to Top