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  • Health
  • 20.11.22

The 6 hormones that could be affecting your weight loss

Every woman’s weight loss journey is unique. For some women, despite regular exercise and eating a healthy diet, it can be hard to shed the kilos and reach their ideal weight.  

At Grace we know it can be frustrating when the scales don’t reflect your hard work, but don’t lose hope, it’s important to remember that there’s more to weight loss than just diet and exercise. There’s another factor that can influence your weight loss journey, and it has nothing to do with calories or not doing enough burpees at your 5am bootcamp session. 

Hormonal issues and imbalances can affect weight loss and are the invisible influencers that could be stopping you from reaching your ideal body weight. 

What are hormones? 

Basically, hormones are chemicals that act as messengers within your body. They are part of the endocrine system and are released by the endocrine glands that control many body functions, both physiological and psychological. 

The endocrine system plays an important role in:

  • sexual reproduction
  • digestion
  • homeostasis (maintaining balance in your body)
  • metabolism
  • growth and repair
  • emotional wellbeing.

A hormonal imbalance can lead to issues with your endocrine system, affecting your ability to lose weight. 

Hormones that affect weight loss


Insulin is the body’s fat storage hormone. When you’re overweight your body can develop an insulin resistance, so instead of absorbing the extra blood glucose from the food you eat, your liver turns the glucose into fat.


As a woman you’re probably all too familiar with this hormone. Estrogens play an important role in body weight, fat distribution, energy expenditure, and metabolism. Estrogen deficiency can lead to weight gain and insulin resistance. This is one reason why people might gain weight around menopause. 


Cortisol is known as the stress hormone and controls your fight or flight response. Excess cortisol from a pathological cause can cause excessive weight gain, easy bruising, fatigue, purple stretch marks, irregular menses and unusual fractures. 


Leptin is your body’s appetite suppressant. It’s what stops you finishing the whole block of Cadbury’s Caramilk and signals that your body is full. Leptin levels increase with increasing body fat. However, while the leptin levels are increased they do not work as well, due to a state of leptin resistance. 

Growth hormone

Growth hormone is produced by a gland in the brain called the pituitary gland. Growth hormone can reduce development of fat, promote protein development, and alter body fat/muscle composition. Both growth hormone excess and deficiency can lead to changes in body image and conditions such as diabetes. 


Thyroid hormones regulate your body’s metabolism. It controls how fast your body burns calories, your body temperature and appetite regulation. 

When your thyroid is overactive you can lose weight, but when your thyroid is underactive, you can find it difficult to lose weight and experience other symptoms such as fatigue, constipation, thinning hair, depression and more. 

What to do if you think you have a hormonal imbalance?

While eating a well-balanced, healthy diet and regular exercise are important in improving your well being and targeting weight loss, if you’re having issues with weight loss, it’s always best to consult a professional. 

Here at Grace Private, Dr Aakansha Zala is a qualified Endocrinologist. She is passionate about helping women in their health journey and has a particular interest in adult endocrine conditions including diabetes and thyroid disorders.

If you think you have a hormonal imbalance that’s affecting your ability to lose weight, ask for a referral to Grace Private next time you visit your GP. 

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