How do testosterone and weight loss relate to a woman?
Weight loss is frustrating no matter wha your gender is, but women get the raw end of the deal for a lot of physiological reasons. One of those reasons is your hormones.
Though hormones are important in both men and women, studies show hormones have a greater impact on women’s weight, and suffer more frequent and serious shifts in healthy women as compared to healthy men.
The bottom line: if you’re having trouble losing weight even with proper diet and frequent exercise, a hormone imbalance might be at the root of your problem. We’ve talked a lot about a lot of different hormones on this blog but today I want to look at a hormone few women think about.
Testosterone And Weight Loss Is Real
That’s right. Testosterone. The man hormone. The opposite of estrogen. Thing is, you need it. For a lot of reasons. But in this context, you need it because it’s the hormone that stimulates weight loss and production of lean muscle. Women without enough testosterone in their systems have more trouble losing weight than those with the right balance.
Of course, having trouble losing weight doesn’t automatically mean you have low testosterone. What you want to do is look for other symptoms of low testosterone..
Symptoms of Low Testosterone in Women
One symptom of low testosterone doesn’t mean you have medically low testosterone. It doesn’t mean your testosterone levels will prevent you from losing weight. But if you’re keeping the pounds on despite good weight-loss habits, and you’re experiencing a few items from the list below, low testosterone is a very likely culprit.
- Consistent or chronic fatigue despite getting plenty of sleep
- Inconsistent sleep patterns and trouble falling or staying asleep
- Decreased libido and reduced pleasure during sex
- Mood swings, anxiety and/or depressions
- Irregular periods or changes in the intensity of premenstrual symptoms
- Thinning hair, or hair loss
Each of these symptoms (just like weight gain or trouble losing weight) happens because a body process involving testosterone doesn’t get enough testosterone to feed the process. It’s like a car that doesn’t get enough gas. The solution is to give the system more “gas” by increasing your testosterone levels.
How to Increase Testosterone Levels Naturally In Women
Ask a doctor how to increase your testosterone levels and he’ll prescribe some kind of branded, patented hormone treatment with a list of side effects longer than the list of problems you’re experiencing from low testosterone. It’s a lose-lose proposition. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to increase your testosterone levels naturally. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Avoid sugars. The insulin spike your body experiences when you take in sugar has a corresponding drop in serum testosterone. The more sugar you eat, the less testosterone you have.
- Optimize your vitamin and mineral intake. Use a multivitamin or similar supplement to increase your intake of Vitamin D, magnesium and zinc. All three nutrients are especially important in producing testosterone. See also: taking in omega fatty acids
- Lift weights. Resistance training directly increases your body’s production of testosterone, especially the big-weight, big-motion lifts like squats, deadlifts and lunges. Go heavy here, lifting about 80 percent of your one-rep max up to 8 times per set.
- Meditate. People who meditate regularly have been found in study after study to have both more testosterone and less cortisol (a stress hormone that interferens with testosterone’s ability to do what it does). It only takes ten minutes to get the benefit of whatever kind of meditation appeals most to you, so make the time to make that happen.
- Eat more healthy fats. We used to think fat was bad for you, but then science found out the right fats were important. Further research determined that a diet composed of less than 30 percent fat decreases testosterone levels in men and women. Aim to get your healthy fats from sources like olive oil, raw nuts, avocadoes and grass-fed meats.
- Reduce stress. Stress wrecks a lot of body processes, including hormone production in general and testosterone production in particular. Avoiding stress could fill an article on its own (MARK — do we have an article on this to link to?), but whatever you already know and aren’t doing…start doing it today. See also: time management to reduce stress and make time for exercise
- Use Brighter Lights. Studies show that exposure to bright early morning light increases production of the hormones that compose testosterone. Natural lights are better, so replace your dim bedroom bulb with a natural, bright light alternative. See also: combining natural light with meditation
You don’t have to do all of these things right away, but taking on even two or three in the next few months can significantly increase your testosterone production. Once you have them settled in, you can add another, and another, until your testosterone levels are balanced properly for your body’s needs.
Testosterone And Weight Loss In Women: Conclusion
When you “hit the wall” in weight loss, it’s never fun. It’s even less fun when the reason is a physiological process you can’t control and don’t even know is there. If you can’t figure out why you aren’t losing weight, and you’re experiencing some of the other symptoms associated with low testosterone, consider trying some natural solutions to get your hormone production in balance.
Working with hormones is more art than science, so don’t give up if your first week or even month has minimal results. Keep on avoiding sugars, exercising and living a healthy lifestyle. Even if it turns out your testosterone levels weren’t the culprit, those activities can help you lose weight and feel better about your body anyway.