3 Weight Gain Hormones And How To Manage Them

Weight loss on your mind? Focus your attention on hormones, the most powerful molecules in the body. These chemical messengers control every process and function. Often, they’re also behind the reason why you can’t seem to shed those pounds.

This doesn’t mean calories are not important! Losing weight happens when you burn more calories than you take in, but it’s only part of the equation. Without balanced hormones, you’ll be more likely to hold on or re-gain the weight.1


Remember, hormones regulate processes like metabolism, appetite, and fat cell growth. So why not keep them in mind? By looking at the bigger picture, you can approach weight loss from every side.

1. Ghrelin: The Hunger Hormone

When the hunger hormone is in excess, weight gain is inevitable


Ghrelin is in charge of appetite. Secretion increases right before meals, so you can thank it for that grumbling stomach! It also acts on the brain’s dopamine reward pathway, explaining why food may feel like a prize.2 3

The problem starts when ghrelin gets out of control. Stress, lack of sleep, and physical inactivity can all increase levels. It proves the impact of lifestyle habits.4 5


2. Cortisol: The Stress Hormone

Cortisol increases your hunger thereby making you put on weight

When you’re anxious or stressed, levels of cortisol go through the roof. This “stress hormone” activates lipoprotein lipase, the enzyme that converts triglycerides into free fatty acids, or FFA. With more FFA, insulin can’t break down fat properly. Hello, weight gain!6 7


Cortisol also makes it hard for you to differentiate between hunger and emotion. In turn, you’ll be more likely to eat your feelings.8

3. Estrogen: The Female Sex Hormone

The female sex hormone can contribute to weight gain


Estrogen is what makes you a woman. It’s also known to do bounce around during “that time of the month.” However, if the hormonal dance continues, weight gain is sure to come.

When estrogen is too high, fat cells called adipocytes will flourish. It’s a reaction that’s linked to dairy and meat, both of which are often full of antibiotics and hormones. No wonder a high intake is associated with excess estrogen.9 10


How To Manage Weight Gain Hormones

1. Manage Stress

Excess cortisol can contribute to weight gain

Stress relief is one of the best ways to control these weight gain hormones. Make time for things that make you feel good, whether it’s a hobby or yoga. Avoid unhealthy stress busters like smoking cigarettes or drinking too much. Remember, stress might be state of mind, but its physical effects are mighty.


2. Get Enough Rest

Rest helps restore hormones and burn more calories

Sleep and weight go hand in hand. If you don’t snooze for long, both ghrelin and cortisol will increase. Do your hormones a favor and rest for 7 to 8 hours each night.11

3. Stay Physically Active

Exercise balances out the hormones, maintaining your weight

Exercise has just too many benefits. It’ll reduce stress, regulate sleep, and most importantly – stabilize hormones. Adults should get at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week.[ref]How much physical activity do adults need? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.[/ref]

4. Eat A Plant-Based Diet

A plant-based diet will make sure you maintain your weight

Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains don’t just fuel the body with nutrients. They’ll keep estrogen in check, too! But this doesn’t mean you need to be a vegetarian. If you eat dairy and meat, buy from local farmers that don’t use hormones, antibiotics, or genetically modified organisms (GMO).

After you’ve lost weight, don’t give up these habits. Adopting them for life is the key to long-term hormonal balance.