Are you working out regularly and eating pretty well but still gaining weight? Millions of people share the same frustration, which is why weight loss is a multi-billion dollar industry. While eating well, regular exercise and sleep are important to maintaining a healthy weight, there are fundamental reasons why many people start gaining weight as they age, and have so much trouble taking it off. Specifically, weight gain is tied to hormonal balance. Here’s what happens.
When you eat a meal, food is converted to glucose (sugar), which is then distributed through the bloodstream to your muscles to be metabolized (burned) to provide energy. Testosterone is required for glucose to enter the muscles, so if your testosterone level is low, excess glucose has nowhere to go and levels in your blood stay high. The pancreas then sends out more insulin to lower your blood sugar level. Low blood sugar triggers hunger and cravings, so you eat, and the cycle of highs and lows begins all over again. Eventually, the liver begins to convert all the excess glucose into fat, and you begin gaining weight. Men naturally have more testosterone and muscle mass to burn glucose, which is why they tend to lose weight faster and more easily than women.
Thyroid is another factor. It drives the metabolic engine, but needs testosterone to function properly. When the thyroid is balanced, your body burns glucose efficiently. When it’s too high (hyperthyroidism), you burn fuel way too fast. If it gets sluggish or starts to fail (hypothyroidism) your body burns fuel very slowly. Proper testosterone levels are critical to determining thyroid function, and both must be in balance to lose weight and keep it off. One in three women and one in five men will be hypothyroid by age fifty, so your struggle with weight gain means you should get your testosterone and thyroid levels properly tested and evaluated.