Did you know that hormone changes might be causing you to gain belly fat?
Your body changes as you go through different phases in life. Many of these transformations are the result of hormones.
While you might associate fluctuations in hormones with the body changes in teenagers, changes in hormone levels can affect your body throughout your life. Hormone changes play a significant role in body changes in middle life and in your later years.
Many of these changes lead to stubborn fat around your midsection that won’t go away, no matter how much you diet and exercise.
Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers. Produced by several organs and endocrine glands in your body, hormones flow through your bloodstream to various parts of your body to do different things.
Hormones are part of your endocrine system, which regulates growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, and mood. Some hormones even affect hunger, body weight and metabolism. Other hormones can cause your body to develop fat, particularly around your mid-section and abdomen.
Levels of the various hormones can fluctuate throughout life. Lower testosterone levels can cause older men to lose muscle mass and body hair, for example. Lower estrogen levels can bring about menopause in women.
Hormone changes later in life can also cause weight gain in different parts of your body. Women tend to gain weight in their hips and thighs early in life, for example, but hormone shifts later in life cause women to gain fat around their mid-sections. One hormone in particular, a form of estrogen called estradiol, helps to regulate metabolism and body weight. Lower estradiol levels can lead to weight gain and the development of unattractive belly fat.
What’s worse is that carrying around extra pounds in your midsection can cause your body to churn out the stress hormone cortisol, which can cause you to gain even more weight. In other words, having abdominal fat can cause you to gain even more abdominal fat.
How Hormones Cause You To Gain Belly Fat
Your brain and body are wired to deal with stress by taking action. Hormones like cortisol, known as the “fight or flight” hormone, helped ancient humans fight saber-toothed tigers and other predators. Cortisol does this by telling the body to burn fat and carbohydrates, such as sugar, for quick energy.
So, cortisol tells that body to burn fat and carbohydrates? What’s so bad about that?
Well, your body uses another hormone – insulin – to “unlock” cells so that they can absorb sugar from your bloodstream. During times of stress, your body produces so much insulin that it causes a drastic drop in your blood sugar levels. This sets you up for an endless cycle of weight gain: belly fat increases stress hormones that, in turn, cause you to eat more and gain more weight.
Three thyroid hormones, TSH, T3, and T4, are the masters of energy conversion. Working together, thyroid hormones turn your body into a fat-burning machine. Stress, allergic reactions, and simply aging can throw your thyroid hormones out of whack, which can affect the way your body burns and stores fat.
Growth hormone (GH) and acetylcholine are also involved with metabolism, which means they help burn fat. Released while you sleep, these hormones help build and repair muscle. Skimping on sleep and over-exercising can affect the way these hormones burn fat. Stress also reduces your GH levels, which means your body won’t burn fat as well as it should.
Glucagon helps regulate your blood sugar levels by telling your body when to burn stored fat and sugar for energy. Low glucagon levels can leave you feeling listless, so you won’t feel like exercising.
Changes in all of these hormones can cause you to gain weight. They can even prevent you from losing those last few pounds, no matter how much you sweat and starve.
Losing Weight Despite those Hormone Changes
Losing weight is hard at any age, but age-related hormone changes can make it even tougher. The conventional approach to losing weight – diet and exercise – can help get rid of body fat by reducing the size of fat cells. Unfortunately, hormone fluctuations can cause those fat cells to get large again.
CoolSculpting can help reduce stubborn abdominal fat permanently by killing the fat cells. This means you won’t regain that belly fat even when your hormones fluctuate.
If you are worried about how changes in hormones can affect your body weight —and you'd like to discuss whether CoolSculpting might be right for you—give us a call at Bel Viso Medspa. Our CoolSculpting professionals look forward to sharing exciting information about this non-invasive, safe and effective procedure can help you manage the body weight changes that sometimes come with hormone changes.