If you’ve been trying to live up to your New Year’s resolution to lose weight and be ready for bathing suits and short-shorts by the beginning of summer, you may feel frustrated. Losing weight by sheer force of will rarely works. Calorie-restriction diets actually sabotage your weight-loss plans because your body interprets those kinds of diets as a form of starvation.
Losing weight is about more than just changing the number on your scale. It’s about learning how your body functions, determining whether all of your systems are healthy and balanced, and correcting any underlying problems so you can burn calories and fat more efficiently.
Our expert nurse practitioners at Enrich Family Practice in Odessa, Texas, — Maria Cole, APRN, FNP-C, and Kelly Wenger, APRN, FNP-C — offer weight-loss services for you and your family. Whether you need to lose weight for health reasons or just to boost your self esteem, we can help you learn about what your body needs to attain and maintain a healthy and stable weight.
How are your hormones?
If you’re in menopause or andropause, your body’s no longer producing sufficient amounts of key hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone. When your hormones are out of balance, you may feel fatigued and even depressed, which makes it hard to stick to your exercise routine.
An estrogen called estradiol helps women regulate their metabolism and maintain a stable weight. But estradiol declines during perimenopause and menopause, which can cause you to gain fat around your abdomen.
Men start losing the hormone testosterone in middle age. Testosterone helps them build muscle mass, and muscles burn fat. With less testosterone in their bodies, men don’t build as much muscle, and they start to accumulate fat instead of burn it. Fatty tissue tends to produce estrogens that make them gain even more fat.
Even young men and women may develop hormonal imbalances that affect their weight. A common condition for women is called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Women with PCOS tend to have trouble getting pregnant, may have hair loss, and tend to gain weight.
Both women and men can develop problems with their thyroid glands, which produce the thyroid hormone that helps regulate body temperature and promote organ health. When your thyroid is underactive, you may gain weight. Conversely, if you’re on medication to calm an overactive thyroid, you might gain weight, too.
What’s your stress like?
When you’re under stress, your body releases another hormone called cortisol. Some people actually refer to cortisol as the “stress hormone.” Cortisol is great when you’re in a life-threatening, flight-or-fight situation, but when your body releases cortisol continually, it raises your blood sugar, increases your blood pressure, and even suppresses your immune system.
And when you feel stressed, how do you alleviate it? Ideally, you hit the gym. More commonly, you reach for comfort foods that make you feel safe. But comfort foods, of course, tend to be calorie-rich and nutrition-poor, which leads you back to weight gain.
If you have a stressful life, we may recommend lifestyle changes to help you manage it and reduce the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream. Meditating, praying, taking a walk in the sunshine, or talking to family members and friends can all help lower your stress level.
How’s your health?
Did you know that you could have an underlying health condition that makes it difficult to attain a healthy weight? At Enrich Family Practice, our nurse practitioners thoroughly evaluate your health before recommending lifestyle and dietary changes. They first treat any underlying health conditions you have so that you can lose weight safely and healthily.
You’re not alone
Optimizing your health by losing weight may require you to make a lot of new changes and develop a new set of habits. It’s always easier to achieve your goals when you have a support team. You check in regularly with your nurse practitioner to make sure your weight loss is on track and that any medications you need are working well, too.
In addition to helping you find healthy and satisfying foods and devising a fun exercise routine for you, your nurse practitioner may prescribe medications and therapies that help you achieve your goal. Some options include:
- BioTE® pellets to balance your hormones
- Thyroid medications
- SculpSure® to eliminate stubborn fat
Live up to your New Year’s resolution by getting weight-loss help from Enrich Family Practice. Contact us by phone or online message form.