The human body is an amazing system made up of many sub-systems that, under normal circumstances, work together in harmony to keep a person healthy and fit. Our responsibility is to protect it from harm, supply nutrients for growth and repair, and perform exercise, both mental and physical, to help keep it strong. Simply put, serve the body well and it will do the same for you.
Within the body’s sub-systems are hormones that trigger responses to various stimuli both internal and external. Most people think of hormones related to two normal hormonal activities, puberty in adolescents and menopause and the male sequel, andropause, in adults. Some have referred to these as times of “ragging hormones” because of the dramatic changes in outward physical and emotional evidence.
These life altering changes are triggered by just of few hormones. In researching the subject of hormones I discovered there are 53 hormones that originate in about 18 unique parts of the body. Familiar ones might be adrenaline, insulin, estrogens, testosterone, and recently in the news, HCG, human chorionic gonadotropin.
Under normal circumstances hormones are balanced and life is good. Hormones are chemical triggers that control various body functions. One of those functions associated with weight is metabolism, the processing of nutrients to supply energy and burn calories. In adult life the ideal metabolic process is to burn all the calories you take in, thus supplying the necessary energy without weight gain. Many are able to do this with diet and exercise.
However, as we age, there are decreases in some hormones that make it particularly difficult to lose weight. For instance, studies have shown that a drop in estrogen levels from the ovaries will increase weight in women. An interesting point I found was when this happens the body goes to other parts of the body for estrogen, namely fat cells. To maintain the estrogen level, fat cells are increased and weight is gained. It is reasoned that the body protects this hormone supply making it very difficult to lose fat, especially in the tummy, hips and thighs.
Testosterone, present in both sexes, is a hormone that helps build lean muscle. Building lean muscles burns calories. When the level of testosterone drops there is a tendency for muscle activity to decrease, thus burning less calories. Lowering the metabolic rate this way causes increased sugar conversion to fat and more fat storage.
The insulin hormone helps process sugar absorption in the blood for energy. When the production of insulin is lowered the sugar is converted to fat and stored in the body. In the other direction an increase in insulin production caused by high carbohydrates and sugar in the diet can lead to a vicious cycle of sugar cravings, more insulin and more weight gain. This process left unchecked can lead to diabetes.
Stress can cause excess insulin along with increases in the androgen and cortisol hormones which can lead to more fat deposits around the midsection. Most believe that by removing stress and adopting a good diet and exercise plan this excess fat can be removed. However, it will take passion and a dedication to lose weight in order to succeed.
For more information about weight and hormones visit Your Body and Stress.
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