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How Hormone Havoc Prevents Weight Loss



Have you ever thought there must be more to losing weight than just dieting and exercise? Well, it turns it you are right! Gaining and losing weight can be due to many things, for example:  Sleep deprivation, nutritional imbalances, genetics, environmental toxins, gut flora imbalances, food addictions, allergies, and inflammation.1 Frequently ignored is the impact of hormones on weight and metabolism. Hormones determine what your body does with food; therefore, balanced hormones are crucial to controlling weight

In men and women, hormone production declines with age which can trigger a sluggish metabolism and weight gain. Body shape changes (almost always an indicator of hormonal imbalance) with fat appearing around your middle, belly, breast, and arms.
2 Hormones affecting weight in both men and women are cortisol, insulin, thyroid, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. When any of these are imbalanced, hormonal disorders ensue causing weight gain and or difficulty losing weight.

Cortisol
Stress — real or imagined — throws the body into panic mode and cortisol is released into the bloodstream. Cortisol raises blood sugar and breaks down fat for energy. This response is lifesaving when faced with life threatening situations. When the immediate stress ends, cortisol rises, leading to craving for fatty, salty, sugary foods to replenish the source of energy that was just depleted. Then cortisol falls to normal levels. Prolonged stress leads to continuously high levels of cortisol which causes continual excess calorie intake. Since these calories aren’t needed immediately, they get deposited as abdominal fat.
3 Chronically elevated cortisol keeps blood sugar elevated which can lead to insulin resistance.

Insulin
Sugar (glucose) stimulates the release of insulin which carries glucose into cells to be used as fuel. When cells have received enough glucose, excess gets stored as fat, especially in the belly and buttocks. Insulin resistance is when the body produces insulin but cells are less sensitive to it. As a result, the pancreas will pump out increasingly more insulin, but the insulin is unable to push glucose into cells. This excess circulating insulin causes sugar cravings, increased appetite, and weight gain.

Thyroid
This hormone regulates the metabolism of every cell in the body. When the thyroid gland is not making enough of this hormone, it’s called hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism causes a slowing of most bodily functions. Sometimes, people have symptoms of low thyroid including fatigue, hair loss, sluggishness, weight gain and or difficulty losing weight. However, their lab tests are normal.
4 This is a source of great stress for individuals who know something is wrong but the cause is not obvious. Thyroid hormone needs to be suspected and tested properly. 

Testosterone, Estrogen, and Progesterone
As men and women age, testosterone levels decrease, leading to a loss of muscle and bone, accumulation of belly fat, and decreased metabolism. The effect is more severe in men because their testosterone levels are much greater to begin with. Ovaries produce less estrogen and progesterone in women starting as early as age 35.  When estrogen is not in correct balance with other hormones (primarily progesterone), weight gain can occur. Signs of estrogen excess are weight gain around the abdomen, hips, and thigh, water retention and abdominal bloating. Estrone, the main estrogen in menopause, shifts fat from hips to abdomen. Progesterone helps the body utilize and eliminate fat and increases metabolism. Excess progesterone production relative to estrogen leads to an increased appetite and fat storage. 
5,6

To prevent weight gain from hormonal imbalance:
1. Limit carbohydrate intake
2. Reduce stress 
3. Have hormones levels checked and balanced 
4. Take a probiotic
5. Exercise 45 min., 5 days/week

To learn more about medical weight loss and how it might be able to help your patients control the effect of hormones on weight and metabolism, click here.

References
1. Smith, P., “Why you can't lose weight: why it's so hard to shed pounds and what you can do about it.” Garden City Park, NY: Square One Publishers, 2011
2. Smith, P., “What You Must Know about Women’s Hormones,” Garden City Park, NY: Square One Publishers, 2010
3. Epel, E, et al., “Can stress reshape your body? Consistently grater stress-induced cortisol secretion among women with abdominal fat” Psychosomatic Med 2000; (62):623-632
4. Brownstein, D., “Overcoming Thyroid Disorders.” West Bloomfield, MI: Medical Alternatives Press, 2002
5. Kalkoff, R, et al., “Metabolic Effects of Progesterone “Journal Obstetrics Gynecology, 1982: 142-146
6. Vliet, E., “Women, Weight and Hormones.” New York: M. Evans & Company, 2001

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3 Facts About Food Addiction




As the obesity epidemic continues to grow, more and more physicians are considering treatment. Obesity is recognized as a chronic disease by the American Medical Association, and even binge eating, which can lead to obesity, has been officially classified as an eating disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V).

As doctors work to find more effective ways to treat obesity, the underlying causes of weight gain are also being considered. While societal factors and lack of education on exercise and dieting certainly play a role, physicians should also consider even deeper causes of excessive weight in the individual, including food addiction.

Recent studies have begun to show that the pattern of weight loss and regain, combined with the inability to control eating habits, clinically presents like an addiction. The clinical presentation and symptom profile between substance abuse and food addiction is
well documented.

To learn a little more about food addiction, take a look at this infographic and download our free white paper on food addiction by clicking here.


Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation

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'Tis the 'Weight-Gaining' Season



I recently saw a picture on Facebook that was captioned: “Do something today that your future self will thank you for.” It’s a common saying, but thought-provoking at the same time. It puts things in perspective and helps you understand that the decisions you make now can affect you in the future.

One thing that we can all do now is decide to make a conscious effort to watch our diet and weight over the next three months; our future selves will thank us for it. Remember, from now until the end of the year we are all likely to gain weight. Why? Blame our friends, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Yes, the holiday season is upon us, and if we aren’t careful we will gain weight that will take a lot of effort and time to lose. Actually, according to findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine, it will take upwards of five months to lose that weight. Think of all the work you put in throughout this past year trying to reach your fitness goal, only for it to vanish in a span of a few months, then you have start again when the calendar flips to 2017.

So, what do we do? First, let’s all agree that for the majority of us there will be a few days during the holidays that our diet goes haywire. However, the goal should be to minimize those days, which is tough to do when the leftovers in the fridge are begging to be eaten; we have to find ways to control those urges and cravings.

Another thing we can do is make sure we have a consistent exercise plan. With the holiday season comes traveling, relaxation, and at times lack of motivation to workout. But even if it’s just a short walk, commit to do something! It will be easier to get back into your normal workout routine if you are starting somewhere instead of starting from a place where you went an extended period of time with little to no physical activity. Try to keep your regimen as close to normal as possible.

Cornell Food and Brand Lab Director Brian Wansink said it best: “It’s easier to avoid holiday pounds altogether than to lose them after they happen.” With research showing it will take five months to lose three months of weight, it’s hard to disagree. So stay motivated, be consistent and focused on reaching your good health goals. If we’re mindful of watching our weight over the next three months, our future selves will thank us for it.


Source: Cornell Food & Brand Lab

Blog written by Marcus Miller/Robard Corporation


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