The important relationship between hormones and weight loss

The important relationship between hormones and weight loss

When contemplating your decision to undergo any BMI procedure, it is important to understand the factors that will go into your weight loss journey beyond the initial procedure. Understanding the physiology of the way your body operates, specifically in the aspect of understanding the complex relationships between your body’s natural hormones, and the way that they affect your weight and health.  

According to the research paper titled, The Role of Hormonal Factors in Weight Loss and Recidivism after Bariatric Surgery published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (, “Bariatric surgery is currently the most effective treatment for severe obesity [1]. While mechanical restriction of food intake is a dominating contributor to the weight loss seen after bariatric surgery, at least initially, weight loss that often exceeds that expected by restriction alone is often seen [2]. There is a growing consensus that hormones play an important part in weight loss induced by bariatric surgery [3].

The relationship between hormones and weight loss/weight gain is important to understand. Being overweight or underweight affects your hormones and, conversely, your hormones can make it more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

Light blue neurons firing showing yellow light

Hormones and Weight Loss

Hormones are chemical messengers that travel through your bloodstream to your tissues or organs. Even a slight hormonal imbalance may have a significant effect on different processes in your body – including metabolism, which facilitates the conversion of what you eat and drink into energy.

According to an article posted to “The endocrine system can fall out of balance. This happens when chemicals called endocrine disruptors block the natural cycle of your hormones.

Disruptors can pretend to be receptors for a hormone. They can also block the hormone’s path completely.

The result? A hormone imbalance can throw entire body systems out of synch. Hormone imbalances are often the result of an unhealthy lifestyle. Poor diet and lack of exercise are common culprits. Other things can impact the endocrine system like menopause in women.

If one or more hormones are out of whack, other body systems are affected. Weight is often affected in that the person gains or loses rapidly. Other times, the person stays on a plateau and can’t lose weight.

Hormones also control body processes that should lead to weight loss when all is balanced. Some of these things are the ability to build muscle, energy levels, and rate of metabolism. If your weight loss stalls, you could have a hormonal imbalance.

Being underweight can disrupt hormones, making it hard for you to get the nutrients you need. Similarly, people with hormone imbalances may find it harder to lose weight and decrease fat. Disrupted hormones make it easier to gain weight and fat and harder to lose it, as well as affecting where fat tends to accumulate.

The following are some of the hormones linked to the ability to lose weight:

Vector drawing showing how Leptin helps the body through hormones and weight loss relationship.


Leptin is a protein produced primarily by adipose tissue and appears to be reflective of total body energy stores proportional to body fat mass [9]. Though leptin acts on the hypothalamus to induce satiety.

After your fat cells release leptin, the hormone travels to your brain to let your body know you’re full. But when you eat large amounts of fructose – a type of sugar found in fruit and processed foods –the fructose is converted to fat that produces more leptin. When your brain receives too much of this hormone, it begins to become leptin-resistant over time.As a result, you don’t get the signal that you’re full and will tend to overeat.

Vector drawing showing how Insulin works with glucose.


Insulin processes the sugar in your blood and moves it into the cells, where it’s used for energy or stored as fat. Eating too much sugar or carbohydrates and failing to consume enough protein and fiber can increase your levels of insulin, which may lead to insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes.

Insulin Resistance

The Core Medical Group article continues, “If a person’s body cannot use insulin efficiently, insulin levels rise in an attempt to keep blood glucose down. This is called insulin resistance. It is a risk factor for diabetes and other conditions.”

When your cells are not absorbing natural glucose properly, the sugar builds up in the blood, binding to fat molecules if unused. When those levels reach a high enough point, your hormones will become out of balance, and at significant enough levels, one could develop diabetes, continue to lose energy, and gain weight due to the bodies trouble breaking down food properly.

Stethoscope around tablet with Cortisol structural model.


Cortisol helps regulate your metabolism and manage stress. Depression, anxiety and digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may increase your body’s cortisol production and cause an increased appetite, as well as a greater tendency to store fat in your abdomen.

According to Dr. Sara Gottfried, the New York Times bestselling author of The Hormone Reset Diet and contributor (, “Ninety percent of the time, I find that the main hormone that’s out of whack is cortisol (which ends up disrupting other hormones, too). Your body makes cortisol in response to stress, but most of us run around stressed too much of the time, and our cortisol is off as a result. High or dysregulated cortisol levels wreak havoc over time, depleting your happy brain chemicals like serotonin, robbing your sleep, and making you store fat—especially in your belly. High cortisol is likewise linked to depression, food addiction, and sugar cravings.

The root cause of cortisol imbalance is usually a dysregulated HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) axis, which is the boss of all of your hormones.”

Vector drawing of how thyroid hormones work within the body.

Thyroid hormones

There is an understood connection between thyroid disease, metabolism, and body weight. Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism. You measure metabolism by measuring the amount of oxygen the body uses over time.

There is a documented and researched connection between thyroid disease, metabolism, and how these set of variables affect the bodies ability to control how your body metabolizes the energy we receive from the glucose found in food.

Produced by the thyroid gland, thyroid hormones help regulate your body’s metabolism.When you don’t have enough of these important hormones, your metabolism slows down, resulting in weight gain and trouble losing weight.

Measuring the activity of your thyroid while at rest gives your basal metabolic rate (BMR). Patients whose thyroid glands were not functioning correctly have low BMRs. Patients who had overactive thyroid glands have high BMRs.


When the thyroid overworks, it is called hyperthyroidism. Typically, patients with hyperthyroidism experience weight loss due to the increased rate at which your body metabolizes energy. One of the more severe side effects include the scenario in which their body metabolizes food and energy so fast, that the person must increase caloric intake in order to just maintain their current weight. If someone is unaware that they have an overactive metabolism, this issue could eventually become medically difficult to maintain and should be treated by a physician.


A low functioning thyroid is called hypothyroidism. With hypothyroidism, a person’s BMR decreases causing a lack of necessary metabolic function causing calories to stay in the system longer, being turned into empty fat cells, never being metabolized properly.  An underactive thyroid is often associated with weight gain, especially for women.

The word ‘Estrogen’ in 3D letters above its elemental structure written in chalk.


In men, abdominal fat can cause estrogen levels to rise, which in turn accelerates further abdominal fat retention. In premenopausal women, estrogen may cause the accumulation of fat around the hips and make losing weight more difficult.

The word ‘testosterone’ written next to structural model and above chemical formula.


Men’s testosterone levels tend to decrease if they’re obese or under stress. Similarly, low testosterone can make men more likely to develop body fat, including a potbelly.

The word ‘DHEA” written above chemical formula and elemental structure.


Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is primarily produced by the adrenal gland and is also made in the brain. It aids in the production of estrogen and may also help boost metabolism,facilitating fat and weight loss.

Understanding how your body works can help you create a plan for a healthier you. Contact BMI of Texas for more information about hormones and weight loss.

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