Gaining Weight, Piling on Belly Fat and Losing Your Waistline?

It Could Be Your Hormones…!

You probably would agree that fat changes your shape. But did you know that weight gain isn’t always due to the foods you eat and how much you eat? It can be your hormones. And if hormones are the root cause of your weight gain, the specific glands involved in producing those hormones will distort your body in specific ways.

The four body types associated with glandular dysfunction are the Ovary Body Type, the Adrenal Body Type, the Thyroid Body Type and the Liver Body Type.

If you’re fighting a losing battle with weight gain and lamenting your accumulation of belly fat, this is important information.

When your glands aren’t working as they should, they’re likely telling you that you have an underlying health problem. All the dieting in the world won’t peel off the pounds. Neither will exercising to the point of exhaustion.

Your endocrine system and the hormones it produces can malfunction for a number of reasons. They can be assaulted by too much stress. They can be damaged by consuming too much sugar, eating a poor diet or starving yourself on low-calorie diets. They may also result from exposure to hormone-disrupting toxic chemicals, ageing, and menopause or andropause.

The only way to restore your body to its normal proportions is to restore your hormones to their proper functions.

Knowing your body type can help you understand which hormones may be involved.

The Ovary Body Type

Your two ovaries are glands on either side of your uterus that release oestrogen and progesterone. These two hormones control your sexual reproductive characteristics as well as the layer of fat you carry around your body.

For a variety of reasons, your oestrogen levels can become too high:

  1. Your ovaries may become dysfunctional and overproduce oestrogen.
  2. You’re probably exposed on a daily basis to a number of environmental chemicals called xenoestrogens ― fertilizers, plastics, food additives, household and personal care products, etc. These chemicals mimic your body’s naturally occurring oestrogen, act as endocrine disruptors and can dangerously increase your oestrogen levels.
  3. The correct ratio between oestrogen and progesterone can become unbalanced, with oestrogen becoming disproportionately high relative to progesterone. In fact, beginning at around age 35, progesterone declines 120 times faster than oestrogen.

Too much oestrogen and too little progesterone can result in a condition called oestrogen dominance. Oestrogen dominance increases the fat you produce and store, resulting in development of “saddlebag” hips and thighs, and a lower-abdomen pooch.

The Adrenal Body Type

Your adrenal glands sit atop your kidneys. It’s their responsibility to meet an increase in stress with a release of cortisol. This triggers your “fight-or-flight” response, which enables you to rise to the occasion and deal with danger or emergencies.

When they’re functioning well, the adrenals help keep your blood pressure and blood sugar in check, and stimulate production of needed energy. However, when stress continues unrelieved for long periods and becomes chronic, your adrenals just keep pumping out more and more cortisol.

All this excess cortisol causes progressive loss of muscle tissue and bone mass. It also causes redistribution of body fat, which builds up around your adrenal glands and vital central organs, adding inches to your mid-section (belly fat!).

It may also contribute to development of a “buffalo hump” on the upper back at the base of the neck, which adds years to your appearance.

Excessive cortisol is bad enough, but it also increases release of insulin, which is a fat-storage hormone. High insulin increases blood sugar to help you cope with stress, but when it’s too high, it increases your sugar cravings. And if you consume a diet high in sugar, flour and grains that break down into sugar, you will store even more fat.

The Thyroid Shape

The butterfly-shaped thyroid gland is located in your neck, just below your voice box. The thyroid shape in women evolves from some of the same causes as the ovary shape ― primarily, from unbalanced oestrogen that becomes dominant.

Your thyroid hormones speed up your body’s metabolism, enabling production of energy in your cells, and promoting fat burning and weight loss. However, these hormones require adequate progesterone to carry it to specific hormone receptors so it can be used.

When oestrogen is dominant, progesterone is inadequate, not only to move thyroid hormones to receptor sites and enhance thyroid function but also to convert the T4 thyroid hormone to T3, which is the active form of the hormone.

With oestrogen dominance, the liver secretes a large volume of thyroid binding globulin ―
a protein that inhibits the thyroid hormone and decreases the amount that cells can take up and use.

Instead of your thyroid revving up, it slows down, causing fatigue, water retention and weight that refuses to come off. This is called hypothyroidism, which shows itself in a number of physical symptoms, including thinning outer eyebrows, ridged nails, saggy underarm skin and hair loss.

While adrenal weight gain tends to center in the midsection, weight gain due to hypothyroidism is distributed all over. This is because the thyroid controls metabolism in all the body’s cells.

The Liver Body Type

The liver has more than 500 functions, and it’s the body’s principal organ for detoxification. It filters out all the hormones, chemicals, bacteria and viruses that make their way into your body.

Over the years, however, the liver can become damaged and may not always succeed in filtering out toxins. Consequently, these unfriendly substances can be recirculated throughout your body.

This includes synthetic oestrogens from growth-promoting hormones given to animals used for meat, birth control pills, HRT (synthetic hormone replacement therapy), medications and environmental chemicals from pesticides, DDT, plastics, and household and personal-care products. These may build up in the body, contributing to further damage.

The result of liver damage is a pot belly and typically thin legs. Although the person may appear fat, they are not. The protruding abdomen is caused not by fat but by ascites ― a plasma-like fluid that leaks into a sac located above the intestines.

Are You Fated for Weight Gain in Mid-Life?

Many things can contribute to weight gain, but take heart! The redistribution of fat and added pounds that may result from unbalanced hormones during perimenopause and menopause isn’t inevitable.

A lot of women fear that taking hormones will cause them to gain weight. However, multiple clinical studies and scientific papers attest to the fact that bioidentical hormone restorative therapy, which restores diminishing hormones and brings them back into balance, does NOT cause weight gain.

In fact, taking bioidentical hormones increases the odds that you will resist weight gain.

One of the largest studies verified that none of the participants on hormones experienced weight gain. Another study found that post-menopausal women who chose not to take bioidentical hormones had higher percentages of body fat than those who did take hormones.

It is clear that when hormones become unbalanced and certain hormones reach excessive levels, women are at high risk of gaining weight. However, all the evidence tells us that bioidentical hormones ― which match the molecular structure of hormones made by your own body ― are a safe and effective antidote to that much-dreaded middle-age spread.

SOURCES:

Hormones and Weight Gain ― The True Role of Estrogen and Progesterone in the Process. Center for Holistic Health & Hormone Therapy

Hormones Not Only Affect Your Health, They Also Determine Your Body Shape. The Alternative Daily.

Luciani, J. The Four New Body Types. Shape.

Martin. Stress Results in Dangerous Cortisol Build-Up. Life Enthusiast. Aug. 31.

Vance, Mary. How Cortisol Makes You Fat. Mary Vance N.C.

Which Hormonal Body Type Are You? eMed.com.au.

How Hormones Can Affect Your Body Shape and the Nutritional Deficiency Connection. Perfect Patients.

How to avoid becoming an invisible woman

The menopause is a time of change that can strip away your femininity and youthfulness, leaving you feeling like an invisible woman.

However, the hormonal turbulence that comes with the menopause can be treated entirely naturally as can all those nasty symptoms that come with it.

Restorative medicine can help you find hormonal harmony: it is now possible to safely and efficiently  re-balance your hormone levels with bioidentical hormones that avoid the risks of conventional HRT, helping you shine on into a new and liberating stage of life.    

What is it about the menopause that can make you feel invisible?

Ageism

Ageism affects everyone, but we women really feel the sharp end of it. Last year, Business Champion for Older Workers Dr. Ros Altmann found that “talent progression stops for women around age 45”. You only need to switch on the TV and work out the ratio of older male/female presenters and news reporters. Unfortunately, while older women have done more than enough to show they’re just as valuable to society (one might be in the White House by the end of the year), negative perceptions have been slow to change.   

Body image

Much of this ageism is tied up in body image – something that an untreated menopause can affect greatly. But, our changing body image also challenges our own perceptions of who we are. Hormones are the life-giving force for all  of our body’s systems, that even a slight imbalance can cause changes in the body that polish off our shine and leave us feeling a shadow of our former selves.

Weight gain

Especially common during perimenopause, weight gain is caused by a combination of a switch in our minor/major hormone production, and stress. Hormonal stress can affect the DHEA-to cortisol ratio, leaving us with cortisol dominance, and the body’s natural response is to store fat. And, if your thyroid functionality drops off, no amount of diet or exercise will help you re-sculpt your midriff, as your body will start turning calories into fat instead of energy.  

Skin

Our skin tells our story, whether we like it or not. You can blame thinning skin on declining oestrogen levels, and a  saggy skin on low testosterone levels. An imbalance in testosterone, in some cases, can even cause an inflammatory skin condition called rosacea. And, if your testosterone levels are too high, you might end up with your first bout of acne since your sixth-form prom.    

It doesn’t have to be this way. Fight back with restorative medicine!

Keep those feminine curves

For the first time in your life, diet and exercise just aren’t enough to keep hold of that fabulous figure. And, it all starts with your ovarian hormones. Here’s how your levels of ovarian hormones dictate the part of the body that will gain weight:

Hormone ratio: How it affects your body:
High ratio of oestradiol (E2) (a type of oestrogen) to progesterone Weight gain around the hips
Low oestradiol (E2) with normal progesterone, testosterone and DHEA Weight gain around the middle

Both progesterone and oestrogen decline in menopause and are vital to our overall health. Progesterone is the first to decline, and to a greater degree. When this happens it can provoke an oestrogen dominance setup, which is not a good place to be, as it can present various health issues, including breast and uterine cancer. When the ratio of both these important hormones are off course, an expert in restorative medicine can create an individualised programme to restore optimal function in the body and correct the ratio of both these hormones.

Once your hormones have been restored and re-balanced, the levels of stress on the body will decrease. It will also help to optimise the DHEA-to-cortisol ratio, assisting your body to store less fat, along with decreasing your body’s propensity to break down muscle and, to become insulin resistant. Once you find your natural balance, it all falls into place.  

Give your skin a radiant glow

There’s a little trick that I want you all to know. Oestriol cream (a type of oestrogen), topically compounded with antioxidants, will breathe new life into your skin. A natural concoction of ingredients, this wonder-cream can make your skin thicker, firmer and more plump, wrinkles shallower and pores smaller.

Your skin should regain its natural elasticity within 2 – 3 months, and develop a healthy, pinkish glow. Avoid petroleum-based products for a more youthful look. Also, you’ll need a prescription for this product, so get that doctor’s appointment booked in stat!    

While the years may keep ticking over, there’s no need to accept becoming an invisible woman as an inevitability. With restorative medicine, you can carry on enjoying your youthful looks, energy and feminine charms for years to come!

Find out how restorative medicine could help you find your natural hormonal balance.   

Andropause – The Male Menopause

Men can suffer the menopause too!

Andropause is the male version of menopause – Men suffer from hormonal loss just as women do, but at a later stage in life.

On the whole, mother nature, or father nature in this case, has been good to men: they do not have menstrual cycles, have babies, or seem to be suddenly struck by total hormone disruption when they hit forty or fifty. However, they do have their own version of menopause, which translates into andropause, and which it is tightly controlled by testosterone levels.  

Testosterone

Men’s testosterone levels are at their peak at around 21. (Do you remember those days?) Thereafter, levels incrementally diminish at about a rate of one to two percent per year, so by the time a man reaches sixty testosterone decline becomes a key concern. An important point to remember is that men lose their testosterone over a 30 year period whereas women lose their sex hormones over a five year period, which can cause sudden, and in some cases, assertive symptoms. A man has more insidious symptoms and may realise that something is ‘not quite’ right, but he can’t figure out what. He is most likely totally unaware of the steady but slow decline in optimal hormonal function.   

Below the belt

Testosterone has always been linked to a ‘below the belt’ discussion for most men, but issues such as low libido and erectile dysfunction usually become apparent later on (after sixty). In actual fact, an array of hormonal changes, similar to a woman’s menopausal symptoms, happen before we see erectile problems evolve.

Symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, anxiety, concentration problems, fatigue, mood swings, depression, irritability, constipation, hair loss and baldness, and even weight gain. With decreasing proportions of testosterone we see more insulin resistance, and the ‘pot belly’ effect.

Risks to the heart

Men may suffer from aches and pains, increased and rapid heart rate, and other heart problems. Testosterone is a potent vasodilator*, as it is stimulates nitric oxide. With increased loss of testosterone, we will see high blood pressure and a gradual reduction in blood flow throughout the body, to such important organs as heart, brain and penis. In fact, declining and low testosterone levels are the greatest independent risk factor for coronary artery disease regardless of his family history, total cholesterol, and lifestyle habits, including smoking.    

Low libido and difficulty with erections can make life difficult, affecting not only their life but that of their family too. And of course, most men will certainly have urinary problems such as hesitancy – benign prostatic hypertrophy, an enlarged prostate gland, creating the inability to evacuate urine completely.

Both men and women have testosterone and oestrogens, only at different levels. Women have less testosterone to that of oestrogens, whereas men have more testosterone to that of oestrogens. When testosterone levels decline in men it creates an imbalance between this ratio – there will be more oestrogens to testosterone. This increasing proportion of oestrogens to testosterone increases blood clotting factors, and narrowing of the coronary arteries, leading to an increased risk of heart attacks and stroke. On the other hand, too little oestrogen(s) predispose men to bone fractures and osteoporosis. Balance is what is needed!       

Restore your body to optimal levels and avoid all the risks and symptoms of a hormonal imbalance.

*Vasodilators are agents that open (dilate) blood vessels. They work directly on the muscles in the walls of your arteries, preventing the muscles from tightening and the walls from narrowing.