Struggling to lose weight? Is it your hormones?

Do any of these thoughts feel familiar?

  • I eat less, I exercise more, and still can’t lose the weight.’
  • ‘Nothing seems to work with me. I might as well order dessert.’
  • ‘I cannot control my weight, no matter what I do ‘!
  • ‘Everyone in my family is fat – I must have fat genes.’

I hear these comments regularly from my patients. I always tell them that calories and exercise matter most, but so do their hormones.

The good news is that although hormone chemistry is complicated, fixing imbalanced hormones is not.

There are so many hormones that control weight and appetite, but by focusing on the big 7, we can usually locate what is out of whack. This article will show you how to solve the problem by addressing the 7 main hormones might be causing your problems.

  1. Cortisol excess

Stress overload has a high cost. Cortisol, the stress hormone, is the number one hormone that becomes imbalanced when people become stressed, physically and/or emotionally. Excess cortisol levels are associated with strong sugar cravings, belly fat deposits, and moodiness. Cortisol breaks down muscles for energy, which slows metabolism even further. As if that wasn’t bad enough, belly fat has four times the cortisol receptors of fat elsewhere, so when you have high cortisol and then become more stressed, you store more fat. It’s a vicious cycle.

How to fix it

  • Reduce your sugar intake
  • Lower the Glycaemic index of your meals.
  • Don’t crank yourself up with coffee in the morning. More than half the population is genetically slow at metabolising caffeine and clearing stress—the gene responsible for that is called CYP1A2—and must keep caffeine less than 200 mg per day – that’s less than 1-2 cups per day allowed
  • Phosphatidylserine is a plant-based supplement that reduces cortisol. The recommended dose is 400 to 800 mg a day.


  1. Insulin block

When your cells become numb to insulin, blood sugar climbs, spikes too high, and crashes in response to too much insulin, making you crave sugar and experience brain fog. Then you wind up storing fat from the carbohydrates and even excess protein. As you age, you become more insulin resistant. Another vicious cycle.

How to fix it

  • REDUCE SUGAR intake
  • Lower the Glycaemic index  of your meals
  • Drink a glass of filtered water with two tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar before meals. It regulates blood sugar and can drop your post-meal blood sugar by 20 percent.
  • Intermittent fasting has also been shown to reset insulin, For example, eat dinner early (say, by 6 p.m.) and then eat your next meal around noon. (Yes, you can drink tea for breakfast). Fast twice per week for weight loss and once per week for modulating your longevity genes.


  1. Irisin deficiency

Your muscle plays a key role in metabolism (how fast or slow you burn calories) by talking to other organs such as the fat tissue, brain, and liver, and most certainly, by releasing hormones like irisin. Irisin is the “exercise hormone” because it burns fat and turns on genes that reduce fat storage. Irisin melts fat by a two-step chain reaction when you perform moderate aerobic endurance activity. First, irisin activates genes that induce white fat (the bad kind that stores toxins and keeps you out of your skinny jeans) into behaving like brown fat (the good kind that keeps you warm) and building muscle. Second, irisin regulates undifferentiated stem cells to become bone-building cells instead of fat-storing ones. Unfortunately, many women aren’t making enough irisin to manage their weight. You’ll get an even greater boost of irisin if you perform HIIT at the end of an intermittent fast.

How to fix it

  • REDUCE SUGAR intake
  • Lower the GI of your meals
  • Do High-intensity interval training (HIIT).  In a randomised trial of eleven obese women, a single afternoon session of moderate and HIIT exercise raised irisin 12 percent, and moderate exercise kept irisin elevated for a longer period compared with no exercise. Forty-five to sixty minutes of moderate exercise seems ideal for irisin production.
  • You’ll get an even greater boost of irisin if you perform HIIT at the end of an intermittent fast.
  • Other hormonal reasons to exercise? It helps reverse an insulin block; it relieves stress and induces changes in 18,000 sites on nearly 8,000 genes, so the profound effects go beyond weight loss.


  1. Thyroid deficiency

Thyroid hormones are the master control switch of metabolism. When your thyroid is low, you gain weight, feel tired and depressed, and lose hair, even from your eyebrows.

Your thyroid is a highly sensitive environmental sensor, so it slows down when the environment is toxic. Some of the causes of low thyroid function – such as environmental toxins, gluten, vitamin D deficiencies, Bis-phenol A (BPA), and stress—are very common. Conservative estimates are that 20 percent or more of women have thyroid problems. Even today many labs and conventional doctors still use outdated reference ranges, which can lead to missed diagnoses, so it’s a good idea to ask your doctor about their standards for diagnosis. If your Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is greater than 2.0 mIU/L, I recommend getting your blood checked for free T3, reverse T3, and free T4.

How to fix it

  1. To fix mild thyroid issues, avoid gluten, take sufficient Vitamin D
  2. Reduce stress with meditation, yoga and exercise.
  3. Clean up your diet and remove environmental toxins
  4. Measure your complete thyroid function, including TSH, T4 and T3, and take thyroid hormones if indicated.


  1. Testosterone deficiency

Testosterone deficiency can cause a reduction in lean body mass and increased fat mass. Testosterone can be reduced in times of prolonged stress, or simply by our natural ageing process. Treatment with testosterone has been shown to improve overall body composition, enable sustained weight loss, and marked reduction in waist circumference and BMI. As these changes are sustained without recidivism, TRT can result in the ameliorations of some components of the metabolic syndrome.

All these improvements are attributed to improved mitochondrial function, increased energy utilization, increased motivation and vigour, resulting in improved cardio-metabolic function and enhanced physical activity.

 Xeno-estrogens, or fake estrogen can also overwhelm your body’s testosterone. These fake oestrogens are commonly found in household products like pesticides, plastics, and industrial chemicals

How to fix it?

  • REDUCE SUGAR intake
  • Lower the GI of your meals
  • Clean up your diet and environment form toxin exposure
  • De-stress yourself with yoga, meditation and exercise.
  • Other non-medical methods to improve testosterone levels include
    • Maca supplements
    • Optimise your Vit D levels
    • Eat the right foods.
    • Stay active.
    • Get adequate quality sleep.
    • Increase sexual activity
  • Measure you Testosterone levels as part of your hormone profile and discuss the results with a doctor who has experience in prescribing and restoring Testosterone levels to normal.


  1. +  7.  Oestrogen and Progesterone imbalance

Too little oestrogen is not good for women, as oestrogens and oestrogen receptors regulate various aspects of glucose and lipid metabolism. Disturbances of this metabolic signal lead to the development of metabolic syndrome and a higher cardiovascular risk in menopausal women. ref – 

Conversely, too much oestrogen is also not good for women, as occurs either during times of low progesterone production of the perimenopause years, or indeed premenopausal years during ‘oestrogen storms’.(ref

Many types of toxins, such as pesticides, plastics, and industrial chemicals, behave like estrogen when absorbed in the body. Xeno-estrogens, as these particular toxins are called, have been associated with an elevated risk of estrogen-driven diseases like breast and ovarian cancers and endometriosis.

How to fix it?

  • REDUCE SUGAR intake
  • Lower the GI of your meals
  • Clean up your diet and environment form toxin exposure
  • Consider Moringa as a natural alternative
  • Measure your hormone levels on day 20 of your menstrual cycle and discuss these levels with a doctor who is experienced in interpreting the results. Progesterone can be used to re-balance a lot of the impact of too much oestrogen

Please contact us here to make an appointment for your assessment.



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