What hormones make it difficult to lose weight?

Many people want to lose weight for various reasons, whether it is to have more energy, obtain a specific look, or live a healthier lifestyle. Most pay attention to only numbers on a scale, nutritional values, and calorie averages, yet do not see the results they want. Sometimes, the hormonal activity within their body is the obstacle to their goals.

Our bodies produce many hormones daily to keep our bodies functioning properly. A number of these hormones can affect our physical health in terms of weight. When setting goals for weight loss, it is a good idea to understand how the following hormones can contribute to the process.

weight loss

Leptin and Ghrelin impacts on weight

The hormone leptin is produced by the fat tissue in our bodies. It induces and controls the feeling of hunger but the hormone is easy to ignore. Additionally, it regulates blood sugar and pressure.

Leptin levels change with weight gain and loss (hunger increases when the levels go up and slow metabolism and vice versa) and in cases of obesity, there seems to be a disconnect in the signaling of it to the brain. Unless there is a deficiency of leptin, there is no medical solution that can help abnormal eating habits.

Ghrelin is a hormone closely related to leptin in that it signals an appetite to the brain and promotes fat storage. Levels of ghrelin rise with weight loss and increase the feeling of hunger with weight loss, which makes it harder to keep off the pounds.

Estrogen and Testosterone impact weight

Both men and women secrete estrogen, just at different levels. Estrogen affects the body’s metabolism, insulin sensitivity, and glucose use as energy. It also is important for mental and skeletal health, as well as memory and cognition maintenance.

Low estrogen levels in women can cause weight gain in the abdomen, hips, and thighs while extreme levels of it can cause increased abdominal fat and swollen breast tissue in men. Either estrogen supplements or medication can help with weight gain regulation in either sex.

Testosterone is also secreted by both men and women at differing levels. Testosterone helps burn fat and build muscle, and it aids in energy and motivation. Low T in men may increase the risk of obesity and related conditions, as well as muscle loss.

T levels decrease about 5-10% per decade in men. Women can also suffer from low T levels and have a decreased sex drive, pain tolerance and cognitive health. Supplements can help keep weight gain and muscle mass at healthy levels, as well as maintain a healthy sex drive, good bone health, and mental health.

Insulin impact on weight

The insulin hormone is produced by the pancreas and regulates the glucose levels in the blood. Insulin brings excess glucose into body cells to use for energy and fat storage. Irregularities in insulin production or function can result in unhealthy weight gain and or diabetes.

Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, is produced by the adrenal glands and can affect the body’s immune system. This hormone is connected to weight gain because when stress levels are high, many tend to overeat. High cortisol levels can also affect blood sugar levels.

Those who suffer from obesity tend to have higher levels of cortisol. There is no medication that can stabilize unhealthy cortisol levels, but stress-relieving techniques such as meditation, yoga, and other relaxing activities can help to reduce them.

Thyroid impact on weight

The thyroid hormone, which is produced by the thyroid gland in the lower front section of the neck, controls the rate of speed at the body burns calories. It is regulated by other hormones that are produced in the brain, so many things can affect the hormone’s production levels. There are two distinct types of aversions to the thyroid hormone: hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.

Hypothyroidism is lower levels of the thyroid hormone and slows the body’s metabolism, resulting in weight gain. Hyperthyroidism is the opposite, unhealthily high levels of the hormone that causes weight loss. These issues also cause unstable moods and mental health. Medication can regulate thyroid hormone problems.


Again, many things can factor into weight loss and or maintenance. If you are working towards a weight loss goal and are not seeing the results you want even though you have a proper diet and exercise regimen, try getting a blood test. Your doctor should be able to spot any hormonal abnormalities if they are present which could help you understand and accommodate your regimen to reach your weight goals.

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