Allen Lawrence, M.A., M.D., Ph.D.
Advanced Wellness Medical
Hormone Therapy: Weight Gain and Weight Loss
There are two issues that are intimately related to hormone replacement. These are weight gain and weight loss, the roles of hormone replacement and fitness training. In truth, most practitioners who do weight loss and weight gain believe they know these areas very well. If this were true, then this would be a short paper. It is not. If you are wanting to lose or gain weight, then experience tells us that both of these goals are best managed when both testosterone and/or estrogen (also all other) hormones are in adequate amounts and in optimal balance. There are many reasons for this, the main reasons will be covered below. Another aspect of both weight loss and weight gain which is often ignored by most medical doctors, is knowing and teaching the exact right exercises to help accomplish both of these goals perfectly. With weight loss, performing well-chosen exercises, can help you lose more body fat faster as well as help build sufficient muscle to help with you weight loss or weight gain.
Yes, you want to build muscle in order to lose weight. This is because muscle “eats” fat. Your muscle use body fat to bring a good portion of the energy they need to perform their daily tasks. Also, as you lose weight, you don’t want skin hanging or look flabby, so if you build lots of muscle, in the right places, you will ultimately look buff and have a sexy body. This will certainly make your weight loss sweeter. Basically, the same is true about gaining weight. You don’t want to increase body fat to gain weight, you want to gain weight by putting on muscle, muscle that will once again, make you look buff and sexy. How you do this and how you make the results work for you, that is, create a specific look you desire, must in all case’s end up bring you exactly what you want and creating a very happy result. End of this paper!
Well, maybe this is not exactly the end. Maybe, a bit more information could help you solve a few important problems you might run into, along the way:
Before, or as you start, your weight loss or weight gain program have your hormones tested. Find out if they are adequate and in appropriately balance. Is your testosterone (in both men and women) and estrogen (in women) within your normal range and in acceptable balance? Will your hormone levels and balance work for or against you? Are they currently right for what you want to accomplish? When testosterone/estrogen are low or deficient, then both weight loss and weight gain will be harder. It will be more difficult to lose weight and/or gain weight. Hence, bring them into normal range and balancing them, is best done before or as you start, so that you can get steady positive results. Therefore, so you can attain your goals and objectives in the fastest time, with the least amount of work, possible. Testosterone, facilitates the creation of “lean” muscle mass. When testosterone is low or deficient you will have to work harder to attain a lesser result.
Testosterone can help you to reduce Central Obesity, the pot belly. As most weight loss experts will tell you, permanent weight loss is an extremely difficult goal to accomplish with diet alone. Simply starving, eating less, or “dieting,” with or without working out does not eliminate central obesity. The same is true with excess fat involving both the hips and buttocks. Managing your hormones correctly, the right amount and the right balance, along with eating a highly nutritious diet will greatly improve your results and help eliminate central obesity. The right diet, the right hormones, the right exercises1, and central obesity, hip and buttocks’ fat will go away.
In women, low estrogen and/or low testosterone levels, are both common reasons for muscle weakness, looking flabby and holding on to body fat. With low hormones levels, lean muscle mass decreases and is not easily rebuilt, weight loss and weight gain are much more difficult. Loss of lean muscle mass leads to poor physical performance when working out. Testosterone moderates and manages protein synthesis. Without testosterone you will have to work much harder to build muscle and hence accomplish your goals.
Two other issues you should know about:
Reduced levels of anabolic hormones (testosterone, growth hormone, DHEA and estrogen) are all responsible for the many negative changes associated with “getting old” and aging. In both men and women, age-related changes often involve an essential peptide called, Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-I). When testosterone is also low, this often translates into a significant loss in lean muscle mass, loss of bone mass, loss of body fat, and therefore body weight, which leaves the individual looking much like the stereo-typic, “little old man” or “little old woman,” aged. Their actual body shape, facial structure, skin and skin tone change as they age and they may even look older.
Women experience even more problems with decline in their anabolic hormones as their quadriceps and back muscles begin to waste, this then leaves them to become bent forward, to develop a “Dowager Hump, a bent spine and a humped back. This often creates severe back pain. All this correlates with low estrogen and testosterone, as well as low IGF-I and low DHEA-S.
Another significant issue associated with weight loss is being on a starvation diet. In both men and women with low or deficient testosterone, and women with low estrogen, there will be loss of bone mass, Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis, leads to an increased risk of bone fractures, as well as an increased risk of chronic neck, low back and joint pain. The “Dowager Hump, bent spine and a humped back described are a consequence of osteoporosis and muscle weakness. The spinal changes associated with the creation of the Dowager Hump then lead to decreased lung capacity, the heart being pushed out of normal alignment, decreased appetite secondary to chronic pain and hence a shorter life span, one with a much poorer quality of life, as well as an increased risk of significant physical, mental, emotional (anxiety and depression) and spiritual disability.
The above problems are all dependent upon adequate versus inadequate hormonal levels, appropriate hormonal balance, eating the right diet, performing the right exercises and living the right lifestyle for you and your personal needs. Make sure you periodically check your hormone levels and, if they are low or deficient, then find a competent Functional Medicine professional to get help creating appropriate hormone levels and balance. This will assure an improved long-term quality of your life.
If you desire to lose weight, I strongly suggest that you find a nutritionist, who can counsel you on losing weight, without being on a starvation diet, a competent physical fitness trainer who understands how to help you lose weight using the right exercises to shape and mold your body, so that you can attain the exact look you desire. Lastly, for those hard to change areas of your body, consult an expert in body sculpting. You can lose weight in any way you desire. I see men and women, losing weight over and over and over again and again, spending 3, 4, even 10 to 15 times more time and money, than if they had simply done it right the first time, they lost weight.
For more information regarding checking hormone levels and balance, hormone replacement therapy, weight loss or weight gain to set up a consultation for yourself or a client, contact Advanced Wellness Medical by calling 626.365.1084 or e-mail your questions or search for information to info@AdvancedWellnessMedical.com
1 Using body sculpting modalities can help move this process along even faster.