Wednesday 22 March 2023

Marla Ahlgrimm: Hormones And Women's Weight

Marla Ahlgrimm
Hormones are essential for just about all physiological functions, including regulating weight in women. Hormonal imbalances can cause changes in metabolism, appetite, and fat storage, leading to weight gain or loss. According to Marla Ahlgrimm, fluctuations that occur naturally in women's bodies throughout their lives, including puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, can all have a profound effect on body weight. 
Estrogen is the most widely talked about female sex hormone, and it plays a vital role in regulating the menstrual cycle, fertility, and bone health. However, Marla Ahlgrimm explains that estrogen also affects body weight by influencing fat distribution and metabolism. Boosted levels of estrogen can trigger weight gain by increasing the production of insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. This creates a vicious cycle as elevated insulin levels can cause the body to store more fat, especially in the abdominal region. Additionally, estrogen plays a role in appetite suppression, and a decrease in estrogen levels can increase hunger and food intake, leading to weight gain. 
Progesterone is a lesser-known yet essential female hormone. It prepares the uterus for pregnancy and regulates the menstrual cycle. Progesterone also affects weight by slowing down digestion and increasing water retention. Women often experience water retention and bloating during the luteal phase of their menstrual cycle. This is when progesterone levels are highest. Elevated progesterone levels can lead to temporary weight gain, which (thankfully) usually resolves after menstruation. 
Testosterone is most known as a male sex hormone, but it is also present in women in small amounts. Testosterone affects body weight by increasing muscle mass and reducing fat mass. Women with higher testosterone levels tend to have an overall lower body fat percentage and a higher muscle mass, which Marla Ahlgrimm says can make it easier to maintain a healthy weight. However, excessive testosterone production can lead to an increase in abdominal fat. 

Thyroid Hormones 
The thyroid gland produces two hormones, triiodothyronine and thyroxine, which regulate the body's metabolism. These hormones affect body weight by controlling the rate at which the body burns calories. An underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism, can bring metabolism to an almost screeching halt, causing weight gain, fatigue, and other symptoms. On the flip side, an overactive thyroid, or hyperthyroidism, can cause a rapid metabolism, leading to unintentional weight loss. While Marla Ahlgrimm acknowledges that weight loss is the goal of many women, hyperthyroidism is a serious medical condition that shouldn't be ignored. 
Cortisol is a hormone that originates in the adrenal glands in response to stress. Marla Ahlgrimm says that it plays a crucial role in the body's fight-or-flight response. Unfortunately, chronic stress can lead to higher-than-normal cortisol levels, causing weight gain. Cortisol increases appetite and the storage of fat, particularly in the belly region, where most women would rather not gain weight. Chronic stress can also cause sleep disturbances, increase cravings for sugary and high-fat foods, and reduce motivation to exercise. 
Marla Ahlgrimm
Insulin is thought of as a hormone only relevant to people with diabetes. But it plays a huge role in all women's lives, says Marla Ahlgrimm. This hormone, which is produced by the pancreas, regulates blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels are high, insulin signals the body to store excess glucose as fat. Insulin resistance, a condition where the body becomes less responsive to insulin, can lead to elevated levels and contribute to weight gain. Interestingly, insulin resistance is common in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). 
Ultimately, Marla Ahlgrimm stresses that hormones play a crucial role in regulating body weight in women. The hormonal imbalances that occur throughout a woman's life can affect metabolism, appetite, and fat storage, leading to weight gain or loss. Women should pay attention to their hormonal health and take steps to manage their weight through a healthy diet, stress management, regular exercise, and adequate sleep. If you experience persistent weight gain or other symptoms, consult with your healthcare provider to determine if a hormonal imbalance could be contributing to the issue.


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