Are you gaining weight without significant changes in the activity status or calorie intake? Are you dealing with ‘weight loss resistance’ phenomena? Are you looking for answers to settle this issue once and for all?
Based on clinical studies; there are six primary causes or mechanisms that may explain why your scale is not moving in the direction you want; these are:
- Accumulation of toxins in the body
- Chronic systemic inflammation
- Imbalance or irregularities of the digestive system
- Imbalance of chemical mediators/chemical messengers
- Hormonal imbalance (especially disorders of endocrine glands)
- Uncontrolled or poorly managed metabolic/medical disorders (like diabetes)
Interestingly, despite the uniqueness of these 6 major causes; the pathophysiology of weight loss resistance is the same and somehow interlinked. For example, accumulation of toxins (due to high intake of processed/ junk foods or lower rate of excretion) can elicit systemic inflammatory reactions in the body, which may ultimately disrupt the biochemical and hormonal balance of the biological systems; thereby interfering with metabolism and weight loss efforts.
The common connection in this disruptive metabolic cycle is Cortisol.
What is Cortisol? How can adrenal stress affect your weight loss efforts?
Cortisol is a life-saving, naturally occurring hormone that is secreted and released by the adrenal glands. Due to its effect on the carbohydrate metabolism and blood glucose concentration, this hormone is classified among the key emergency hormones that are vital for survival. In other words, whenever your body is in any type of stress, the adrenals release copious amounts of cortisol to help the body in recovering from stress.
There are several types of stress involved here:
- Physical stress – any physical damage to the body such as trauma, accident, etc.
- Biochemical stress – this includes hormonal imbalance, digestive abnormalities, pH dysregulations, toxin accumulation, etc.
- Mental stress – this includes anxiety, depression and other mental health issues that may alter your capacity to perform normal day-to-day operations
Unfortunately, the stress phenomenon is complex, and sometimes compensatory mechanisms to deal with the stress cause more harm than the stress itself. Any form of stress can stimulate the release of cortisol in the body, causing your body weight to stay where you don’t want it to be:
- Cortisol disrupts the carbohydrate metabolism by increasing blood glucose concentration. This is accomplished by conversion of amino acids and fats, mobilization of glycogen stores and significant reduction in the peripheral utilization/ uptake of glucose by tissues.
- Persistently high blood glucose concentration creates a state of insulin resistance and aggravates the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. In addition, high glucose osmotically draws water and also leads to tissue swelling and obesity.
- Abnormal metabolism further deteriorates systemic inflammation and affects the stamina, energy levels and capacity to perform day-to-day operations.
- Cortisol also releases some abnormal mediators that may lead to abnormal cravings, improper digestion, depression (and other mental health issues) to further compromise your weight loss efforts.
In short, chronic stress of any type can play a major role in excessive weight gain. If you are looking to maintain optimal mental and physical health, make sure to get your adrenal functions tested to see which treatment options are best for you.
Still have questions? Want to lost weight fast? Speak with our expert staff about Physician Supervised Weight Loss, or a bioidentical hormone therapy program customized just for you.
St. Louis: 800-815-8456
- van Strien, T., & Koenders, P. G. (2014). Effects of Emotional Eating and Short Sleep Duration on Weight Gain in Female Employees. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 56(6), 659-666.
- Barton, A. E., & Yancy, W. S. (2014). Determining the culprit: Stress, fat, and/or carbohydrates. Biological psychiatry.