Darn those stubborn pounds!
Dec 18, 2013 10:10AM ● Published by tina
Shedding extra pounds can be tricky as we age.
What's the deal?
Sponsored by Hormonal Health and Wellness Center
By Samantha Pailes RN, MSN, ANP
Why is it that the ability to lose weight becomes more difficult with each passing year? In our 20’s and early 30’s, we can “cut back” or occasionally hit the gym and easily fit into our “skinny jeans”. However, as we age, weight loss is no longer as simple as calories intake equates to calories outtake.
Diet is a dreaded word for most. However, there is not a one-size-fits-all diet because each person’s genetic make up is different. We all know that eating too much can make you fat, but it is crucial that caloric intake be adequate. Eating too few calories can put the body into starvation mode, halting any weight loss and can actually cause weight gain in some. In healthy individuals, a diet should consist of adequate amounts of lean protein, low glycemic vegetables and fruit, whole grains, healthy oils (think olive and canola), nuts and legumes.
Weight management is complex and includes many facets. Although diet and exercise are the most obvious ways to manage weight, hormone restoration and balance can also play a major role as well.
For instance, testosterone is both a male and female hormone with many functions in the body. As we age, testosterone levels decrease — setting us up for weight gain in several ways. When testosterone levels decrease, cortisol and insulin levels increase. Over time, elevated insulin levels can lead to insulin resistance, resulting in unwanted belly fat. Consequently, low levels of testosterone make it difficult to maintain muscle mass, which decreases one’s resting metabolic rate, possibly resulting in weight gain. However, optimizing testosterone levels improves body composition by reducing fat mass and increasing lean body mass. Additionally, testosterone helps to stabilize blood glucose and insulin levels making weight loss easier.
Just as low testosterone can make weight loss more difficult, an underactive (hypothyroid) or suboptimal thyroid can also lead to weight gain and the inability to lose weight. The thyroid gland plays a major role in our metabolism. Thyroid hormones control the efficiency and speed at which all of our cells work. Some symptoms of hypothyroid may include fatigue, hair loss, dry hair, skin and nails, weight gain, depression, constipation, and cold extremities: Hands and feet. Hypothyroidism has become an epidemic in our country and often goes undiagnosed. It is possible for an individual to be hypothyroid and have “normal” blood test levels. This phenomenon is known as thyroid resistance or type 2 hypothyroid. The thyroid is actually producing hormones, but the body tissue is resistant to those hormones. Have you ever thought it was your thyroid but were told your thyroid labs were "normal"? Normal is not always optimal when it comes to hormones and thyroid. Hundreds of thousands of Americans are being left untreated because the labs levels were "in the normal range" — even though patients have the physical signs and symptoms of low thyroid or low testosterone.
Are you struggling with unwanted pounds? Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? Speak with your health care provider — or find a provider that is well versed in hormone balance — about having your hormones tested and getting on a food plan and exercise regime that is right for you. Not only will you fit into those skinny jeans, you will have more energy, which will help prevent many chronic diseases!
Samantha Pailes is a Certified Adult Nurse Practitioner specializing in weight management and natural hormone restoration and balance at Hormonal Health and Wellness Center in Southlake. She has spent the last 4 years in bariatric/weightloss medicine and hormone balance and restoration. Sam lives in Southlake with her 2 boys.