With a new year comes the inevitable goals for a healthier and happier 2024 — which often means weight loss. But if you’ve ever tried to lose weight in the past, you know it can be incredibly frustrating: You can eat well, exercise, and still the weight stays on. What could be causing this?
Well, your body is unique, so we can’t know precisely what’s keeping the weight on without a personal consultation and testing. But we CAN provide some information you may not know about the connection between stress levels, sleep patterns, and hormones when it comes to weight loss.
This can give you tools you can immediately use to help you move your health in the right direction in 2024.
Understanding Hormones and Weight Loss
Our bodies are complex systems where hormones play a starring role in managing our weight. Key players include:
- cortisol, the stress hormone
- insulin, which regulates blood sugar
- leptin and ghrelin, which control hunger
When these hormones are thrown off balance by factors like stress and poor sleep, your body ends up having a really hard time keeping weight off.
The Impact of Stress on Hormones and Weight
Stress is more than just a feeling; it’s a physical response that can disrupt our hormonal balance. When we’re stressed, cortisol levels spike, and this can lead to increased hunger and cravings, often for high-calorie foods.
Managing stress isn’t just good for your peace of mind; it’s crucial for your waistline too.
The Role of Sleep in Hormonal Health and Weight Management
Getting a good night’s sleep is like hitting the reset button for your hormones. Lack of sleep can throw off the balance, leading to increased hunger and a slower metabolism.
Specifically, lack of sleep can affect “hunger hormone” levels, increasing ghrelin (which makes you feel hungry) and decreasing leptin (which makes you feel full).
The Vicious Cycle of Stress, Sleep, and Hormone Imbalance
Here’s how stress, sleep, and hormones work together to either help your body stay healthy — or, when they’re out of whack, keep the weight on despite everything you try:
- When you don’t sleep enough, the body sees this as an enormous stressor and releases cortisol. Cortisol will then instruct your body to store fat, particularly around your middle. If you’ve ever wondered why you can’t get rid of that stubborn belly fat no matter what you try, excess cortisol may be the culprit.
- With all that extra cortisol in your system, you remain overstressed — which leads to being unable to sleep.
- This continued lack of sleep leads to more cortisol… then less sleep… you get the picture. No matter how well you eat, you’re going to keep weight on.
So, what can you do to combat this stress/sleep/hormone cycle?
A Personalized Program to Help You Lose Weight Easier
Your body is unique – and your approach to weight loss should be, too.
At Forum Health Las Colinas, we take a functional medicine approach to find the ROOT CAUSE of your excess weight. We can help you discover why you can’t sleep as well as you need to, why you may be more stressed than usual, and so much more.
Weight gain can be caused by so many factors, including:
- Hormonal imbalances
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Gut problems
- And more
We take the time to discover what lies at the heart of your inability to lose weight so that you can achieve the weight loss you want. This is a vital step in becoming the healthiest you can be in the new year.
We also offer the Semaglutide Medical Weight Loss Program, which has helped many patients achieve healthy weight loss. Dr. Elwell is board-certified in obesity medicine, which enables her to fully address the complex relationship between hormones, metabolism, and overall health.
Embarking on a journey to balance your hormones and lose weight can seem daunting, but you’re not alone. We’re here to guide you, offering personalized advice and support tailored to your unique needs.
What You Can Do Starting Today
Here are a few things you can do today to help improve the stress/sleep/hormone cycle:
- Set a regular sleep schedule and create a calming bedtime routine. These are great places to start when trying to improve your sleep quality.
- Start practicing stress-reducing techniques. Mindfulness, yoga, and deep breathing exercises can be very effective in managing stress levels.
- Try incorporating exercise into your daily routine. Walking is a great way to start, as regular walking has been shown to increase both sleep quality and duration.
It’s important to start slowly when you’re incorporating any lifestyle changes like these — you don’t want to add any more stress to your daily routine! Even 10 minutes a day of deep breathing can be a great way to begin.
We’re Here to Help
As you look forward to a healthier year, remember that weight loss is more than just calories in and calories out. It’s about understanding and nurturing your body, managing stress, getting quality sleep, and seeking personalized care when needed.
You’ve got this, and we’re here to help every step of the way. If you’re ready to take the next step towards a balanced, healthier you, contact us for a consultation.
Here’s to a healthy, happy you in the new year!