Our body weight is determined by the calories we consume through food vs the calories we burn through exercise and our daily activities.
This is science – we can’t argue it.
But there are things that can definitely impair our ability to lose weight – and one of them is our hormonal balance.
Hunger, cravings, stress, and energy are all feelings that are managed by our hormones – so it makes sense that ensuring they are balanced should be our priority. There is nothing worse than dieting and training your butt off, just to be left frustrated with a lack of results.
As someone who has dealt with health issues for my ENTIRE life, I know this feeling all too well. I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (an autoimmune disease) at age 4 which I suffered with until the age of 13. In high school I was diagnosed with Glandular Fever, and then Graves’ Disease (an autoimmune thyroid disease), which I dealt with for 4 years. Treating this caused me to gain over 5kg. While I was at university, my Rheumatoid Arthritis came back in full force and wreaked havoc on my entire body – it took years to get it under control and severely impacted my ability to exercise. I also wasn’t having periods and upon investigating why, I found out that I have a genetic disorder called late onset adrenal hyperplasia – which is characterised by low cortisol production, an excess of androgens (male sex hormones) and leads to infertility. And to top it all off, in the last year my thyroid disease has come back in the form of Hashimoto’s (another autoimmune disease – this time underactive). This has made maintaining my weight a constant challenge and the process of fat loss EXTREMELY difficult for me.
But I’m not telling you all of this for sympathy. I am telling you this because despite all of this I have still managed to transform my body – and there is no reason why you can’t either. Some people just don’t have it as easy as others. If there is one thing I have learnt through my struggles, it is that fact that it is so important to be PROACTIVE about your health instead of just dealing with something when it happens. And if/when something does happen – don’t use it as an excuse. FIX IT. I know it sounds cliché but its so important to take care of your body, it is the one place you have to live.
The point of this article (before I went on my little rant) was to help you improve your results/identify causes of your lack of results by learning more about your body and how it is functioning. So here is a list of tests that I would recommend getting if you are finding that you are struggling to lose weight DESPITE being in a calorie deficit (you can check if you are by calculating your calories HERE):
An imbalance in these hormones can impact your ability to lose and maintain your weight.
- Free and Total Testosterone
- Oestradiol (E2)
A complex relationship exists between your thyroid, metabolism, and weight.
- TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)
- Free T3
- Free T4
- Reverse T3
High levels of stress can trigger your body to store additional fat around your abdomen.
- Cortisol (note: it is most accurate to test this using a saliva test rather than a blood or urine test)
When insulin levels are chronically high and body becomes resistant to insulin, fat storage can be further increased.
- Lipid profile
General Health and Inflammation
Inflammation, anaemia, and vitamin D status are all important weight loss markers.
- FBC (Full Blood Count)
- E/LFT (electrolytes and liver function tests)
- Vitamin D
- Iron studies
- B12/folic acid
- C-Reactive Protein
I don’t just recommend these tests to people who are struggling with losing weight – I would also highly recommend getting these tests if you are just starting out on your health and fitness journey or if you are just simply wanting to make sure your body is functioning optimally. This way you can identify any issues/deficiencies and treat them which will not only help you improve your health but help to avoid frustration down the track.
So before you start yet another diet – or worse – completely give up, take the time to make sure your health is in order and isn’t holding you back!
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!
If you want to increase your knowledge and educate yourself about nutrition and how it affects your body – my Fit & Flexible eBook is for you! It contains everything you need to know about transitioning to flexible dieting and maintaining a balanced lifestyle while also achieving the results you want.