What Everyone Ought to Know About Weight Gain and Hormones

August 22, 2017

Feeling hungry for no reason? Have trouble losing water weight? Or perhaps you're getting bigger and bigger despite eating healthy? In this case, your hormones might be the culprit.

Estrogen testosterone, leptin, and other hormones influence metabolism. They have a direct impact on body composition as well as on your mood and behavior. Even the slightest imbalance can lead to weight gain and poor health.

Hormones and Your Weight: What's the Link?

Just think about those skinny people who eat everything in sight. Or those who eat next to nothing and yet, look chubby. Metabolism does influence your weight, but it's just one piece of the puzzle.

Body weight depends on a variety of factors, including hormones. Your age, race, gender, fitness level, and eating habits influence energy expenditure. Moreover, certain drugs and health conditions can slow down your metabolism, causing weight gain.

For instance, hypothyroidism is a major risk factor for obesity. Chronic stress can trigger hunger pangs and cravings, impact food choices, and promote fat storage.

Hormones and body composition are strongly connected. These chemicals messages influence appetite, fat distribution, mood, libido, and resting metabolic rate. They also play a key role in brain function and mental health. The primary hormones affecting body weight include:

  • Insulin
  • Cortisol
  • Testosterone
  • Progesterone
  • Estrogen
  • Growth hormone
  • Ghrelin
  • Leptin
  • Thyroid hormones  

When your body produces too much or too little of these hormones, your health suffers. You might find yourself craving sugar, feeling tired and sluggish, or having trouble focusing at work.

Let's take estrogen. This hormone regulates female reproductive cycles and supports pregnancy health. Men have estrogen too but in lower doses. Certain disorders can raise your estrogen levels and cause weight gain. Additionally, its levels fluctuate based on the current phase of the menstrual cycle. They also spike after menopause, which affects body composition.

If you tend to store fat in the lower body, you might have estrogen dominance. This condition occurs when you produce too much estrogen and too little progesterone. If left untreated, it may lead to mood swings, fat gain, irregular periods, fluid retention, and sluggish metabolism. Progesterone acts as a natural diuretic and supports thyroid function. It also fights inflammation and keeps your blood sugar stable. Its levels increase after ovulation.  

Just like estrogen, testosterone occurs in both genders. It impacts your metabolism, physical endurance, strength, body composition, and mental health. It also regulates your mood and sex drive.

Maintaining optimum testosterone levels can help you lose weight lose weight and build muscle. Low testosterone, on the other hand, contributes to obesity, muscle loss, diabetes, mental disorders, heart disease, and insulin resistance.

Other hormones that influence your weight are leptin and ghrelin. Leptin suppresses appetite by signaling your brain that you're full. Ghrelin does the opposite - it triggers hunger and cravings. When its levels are high, leptin is suppressed, and vice-versa. Certain foods, especially those rich in protein, help lower ghrelin levels and keep hunger at bay.

Your body also needs insulin to break down glucose for fuel. This hormone is released in larger amounts after eating and in smaller amounts throughout the day. High-carb foods elevate insulin production, causing your cells to store fat.

When your insulin levels stay high for too long, your risk of diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome goes up. Additionally, some people are more sensitive to insulin than others. For this reason, they tend to store fat, especially when eating sugary foods.

Fortunately, there are a couple of things you can do to improve insulin sensitivity. Simple changes, such as limiting or avoiding sugar, cutting carbs, and filling up on protein, help stabilize insulin levels. Unlike carbs, protein and fats have a negligible impact on insulin. Omega-3s are particularly beneficial due to their ability to lower insulin secretion.

Regular exercise helps too. According to a study, insulin sensitivity improved within two weeks in overweight women who jogged or engaged in brisk walking. Working out may also boost your testosterone and growth hormone levels, which further improves insulin response and speeds up fat loss. 

Simple Ways to Optimize Your Hormone Levels

As you see, diet and exercise have a direct impact on your hormonal system. A high-protein intake combined with HIIT and strength training can turn off your weight gain hormones and boost your metabolism.

Multi-joint exercises, such as the bench press, deadlift, squat, lunges, and push-ups, elevate testosterone levels and help improve body composition. The same goes for high intensity training, which has a positive impact on hormone production. This applies to both men and women.

Also, make sure you get enough protein in your diet. This nutrient is made up of amino acids that help your body produce growth hormone, testosterone, and enzymes. Moreover, it supports muscle growth and increases physical strength, allowing you to work harder for longer periods of time.

A high-protein diet will send your metabolism into overdrive and increase calorie expenditure. Don’t worry - this doesn't mean you should eat meat at every meal.

With CLICK or CLICK Active, it's easy to add more protein to your diet. CLICK Active features a premium blend of casein, whey isolate, glutamine, and BCAAs. While CLICK is the perfect meal replacement with lasting protein and 23 essential vitamins and minerals. Both also contain real espresso coffee, which further increases your metabolic rate.

Take your carbs from veggies and whole grains to prevent insulin spikes. Sugar messes up your hormones and promotes weight gain. Avoid pro-inflammatory foods, especially those rich in trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. When consumed regularly, they reduce leptin and increase ghrelin levels. Eat fatty fish, seeds, nuts, avocado, and coconut oil to keep inflammation under control and balance your hormones.

Be aware that cortisol levels increase when you're stressed or skimping on sleep. This hormone inhibits testosterone production and causes your body to store fat. In the long run, it leads to weight gain, muscle loss, and overeating. In a clinical trial, subjects who lost 15 hours of sleep over the course of a week experienced a 50 to 80 percent increase in cortisol levels.


Eat a well-balanced diet, get proper sleep, and stay active. These lifestyle habits can go a long way toward improving hormonal health. Start today – it’s never too late to balance your hormones and lose stubborn fat.




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