Hormone Disorder And Weight Gain - Fact Check And Solutions

This article will help you in identifying if your weight gain is due to hormone disorder.
women on weight scale image
image source: Solent scales

Hormones are the body's messengers, which are produced in different glands of our body, which travel through the bloodstream to different organs and signals them to perform a certain function. Sometimes these hormones are not produced in adequate quantity which can lead to changes in weight and other areas of our body. Our body may produce more or less quantity due to certain reasons:  

  • Diabetes
  • Hyper functioning thyroid nodules
  • Cancer treatment
  • Menopause
  • Hormone inducing drugs like birth control pills
  • Stress
  • Eating disorders
  • Injury or trauma 

In this article, we are going to list the hormones responsible for weight gain, what diet you should adopt to balance them, and the easy workouts that you can do to see effective results.

Symptoms of hormonal imbalance

If your hormones are not secreted in balanced quantity then you might be experiencing some of these symptoms:

  •  Weight gain
  •  Fatigue
  •  Dry skin
  •  Puffy face
  •  Frequent or constipated bowel movement
  •  Sudden weight loss
  •  Increased or decreased blood pressure
  •  Mood swings
  •  Depression
  •  Insomnia or poor quality sleep
  •  Painful periods

Hormones responsible for weight gain

a. Estrogen

In women, estrogen is produced in the ovaries. This hormone is responsible for the development of sexual organs in women. According to research, during menopause, the changes in the production of hormones results in total body fat and abdominal fat. This happens due to the production of less estrogen in the ovaries. Less estrogen leads to low metabolic rate and thus the body is now storing more fat than before. This can be prevented with the help of estrogen therapy.

Symptoms of low Estrogen

  • Bloating
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Joint pain
  • Hot flashes/night sweats
  • Irregular periods

Food to eat to increase Estrogen

  • Flax seeds
  • Whole grains like quinoa, barley, millet, brown rice and others.
  • Dried fruits like raisins, dates, apricots and peaches.
  • Nuts which include hazelnut, chestnut and acorn.
  • Garlic

Exercise to do to increase Estrogen

women jogging image
image source: business insider

Studies show that exercising for 3 hours per week can significantly boost estrogen levels in your body. Walking on treadmills, training on bicycles, or simply walking outdoors can help you in increasing your estrogen levels.

b. Thyroid

There are 2 types of thyroid hormones, T3 and T4. The thyroid hormones are responsible for regulating metabolism in your body and depend on iodine. Hypothyroidism is the condition when your body is producing low levels of thyroid hormones. According to the American thyroid association, individuals suffering from hypothyroidism can also gain weight due to excess accumulation of salt and water in the body.

Symptoms of low thyroid

  • Weight gain
  • Tiredness
  • Hair loss
  • Pale and dry skin
  • Frequent muscle aches
  • Change in the menstrual cycle
  • Greater sensitivity to cold
  • Slow heart rate

Food to eat to increase thyroid

  • Salts
  • Leafy greens like kale, spinach and cabbage
  •  Almonds, cashews and other nuts
  • Gluten-containing food like wheat, barley and cereals

Exercises to increase thyroid hormone

Low-intensity exercise is best for people suffering from an underactive thyroid.  High-intensity exercise may lead to pain in your muscles. Some low-intensity workouts are:

people walking image
image source: medatrio

You don't need any special pieces of equipment, just a pair of comfortable walking shoes. You can burn up to 300 calories by  Walking for 1 hour.

jumping jacks image
image source: popsugar

Cardio workouts are really helpful for increasing heart rate. You can start with simple cardio activities like jumping jacks, high knees and butt kicks and upgrade as you go further.

  • YOGA
yoga image
image source: greatist

YOGA strengthens your muscles and helps to focus on your breath. Studies show that people experienced increased lung capacity because they were practicing yoga for 6 months.

c. Insulin

Insulin helps in maintaining blood glucose levels.  It signals the fat, liver and muscle cells to take up glucose that is used for energy. If there is no use of glucose then insulin signals the liver cells to store glucose as glycogen.  According to a research paper, published by the American diabetes association, Insulin can increase due to artificially intake because of diabetes or insulin resistance. When you have excess insulin in your body then your cells are absorbing more glucose from the food that is eating. Now your body has more glucose is converted into glycogen, which is stored in adipose tissues as fat resulting in weight gain.

Symptoms of increased insulin

  • Frequent and intensive hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of concentration
  • Craving for sugar
  • Anxiety and panic
  • Weight gain especially around the waist

Food to eat to reduce insulin

  • Oatmeal, brown rice, and other whole grains
  • Citrus fruits such as lemon, grapefruit, and key lime.
  • Beans, broccoli, and other high fiber food.
  • Antioxidant containing foods such as berries
  • Unsweetened yogurt

Exercises to use extra insulin

  •   HIIT:
person performing HIIT
image source: fitday

High-intensity interval training is doing a high-intensity workout for a small portion of time and then taking a big recovery break. You can incorporate it into your daily exercise routine and it is to be done on alternate days. HIIT can be explained in 3 points

Ø   3 minutes warm-up

Ø   10 sprints lasting 30 seconds each followed by 60 seconds of recovery

Ø   2 minutes cool down

  • Aerobic exercises:
swimming image
image source: Nike swim camp

Aerobic exercise strengthens the heart and lungs thereby improving the body’s utilization of oxygen. They have given some promising results to obese people and people suffering from type 2 diabetes. You can convert your hobbies like swimming and cycling to your benefit. Start with 15 minutes and increase it as you go further.

d. Ghrelin

Ghrelin is most commonly known as the hunger hormone as it signals your brain to eat. It is at its peak before a meal and reduces significantly after the meal. It is produced in the stomach when it’s empty and travels to the brain through the bloodstream and signals the brain to seek food. An increase in the production of ghrelin can lead to weight gain as the hormone sends the signal to the brain frequently to look for food thus in taking more calories than needed. A study conducted in Japan showed a close relationship between weight gain and increased ghrelin levels.

Symptoms of increased ghrelin

  • Increased hunger
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty in falling asleep
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability

Food to eat to reduce ghrelin

  • Food containing omega 3 fatty acids like chia seeds, flax seeds and nuts
  • High fiber foods such as sweet potato, apple, green peas and carrots.
  • Prebiotic food like garlic, artichoke and onions.
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners

Exercises to do to reduce ghrelin

  •  Aerobic exercise:
a person cycling
image source: we love cycling

Aerobic exercises are considered to be the best for weight loss. They use all of your body muscles and burn calories faster than the other. You can try exercises like cycling, swimming cardio workouts and so on. You can also do an aerobic dance routine to incorporate fun and exercise together.

  •   Weight lifting:
a women weightlifting
image source: runner's world

Weight lifting has also shown positive results in reducing the ghrelin hormone. Don’t start with heavyweight as it may strain your muscles. Start with 1kg of weight you can easily lift and then you can increase it every week as you go further.

e. Leptin

Leptin is the hormone produced in the adipose or fat tissues. It travels to the brain through bloodstream signaling about food intake. It helps in moderating the weight. Leptin and ghrelin both are termed as the hunger hormones. When you are hungry, the ghrelin level in your body increases signaling the brain to look for food and the leptin level decreases signaling the brain that metabolism has slowed down and body needs food. The vice versa happens after a meal. An article published by the nature research journal confirms the relation between leptin deficiency and obesity. One of the causes for leptin deficiency can be leptin resistance when your body is producing leptin in an adequate quantity but it can’t reach the brain or the brain is not acknowledging it. The brain senses starvation even when enough energy is stored and it releases signals to the body to look for food. Now you are eating more than needed and taking more calories. Thus you gain weight due to leptin resistance.

Symptoms of leptin resistance

  • Frequent food craving
  • Weight gain
  • Poor energy levels

Food to eat for leptin acceptance

  • Choose fruits instead of sweets for dessert
  • Protein dense foods such as oatmeal, quinoa, and lentils
  • Eggs, nuts, and cottage cheese in moderated quantity
  • Chia and flax seeds
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners and energy drinks

Exercises to do if you are leptin resistant

  •  Strength building:
women doing lunges
image source: ACE fitness

Strength building exercises like weight lifting, plank, lunges and pushups,  can significantly increase the leptin sensitivity in your body. Again don’t start with heavyweight but increase as you go further.

  •   Aerobic exercises:
women doing aerobics exercises
image source: APKpure

Aerobic exercises along with weight lifting can be one ultimate solution for leptin sensitivity. Incorporate both in your daily exercise for 30 minutes. Don’t force your body into doing anything. You can always increase your training time in the future.

  • HIIT:
Women doing HIIT
image source: stack

After successfully incorporating aerobic and strength-building exercises in your daily routine, try to include HIIT as well as you can burn more calories in little time and you only have to do it on alternative days.

Weight loss can be harder if you are suffering from a hormonal disorder. But don’t lose hope, practice pays. Monitor your symptoms and visit a doctor if you think they are getting worse. Do try these out and recommend if you feel the difference.

She/her. Feminist. Would love to open a dog shelter someday.

No Saves yet. Share it with your friends.

Write Your Diary

Get Free Access To Our Publishing Resources

Independent creators, thought-leaders, experts and individuals with unique perspectives use our free publishing tools to express themselves and create new ideas.

Start Writing