Hormones and Weight Loss: How Are They Connected?

Jenna Hilton
August 3, 2023

The endocrine glands release chemical messengers called hormones that regulate metabolism, blood sugar, sleep, appetite, and other vital bodily functions.

Hormonal imbalance can negatively impact your weight, causing rapid weight gain or loss. Understanding how hormones work and what biological processes depend on their optimal functioning can help you drop excess weight and stay in shape.

This article explains how 9 different hormones contribute to weight fluctuations. Read on to discover how to restore hormonal balance and achieve optimal weight.

How are hormones and weight loss connected?

How Are Hormones and Weight Loss Connected?

Dysregulated hormonal activity can hinder weight loss efforts by disrupting the following mechanisms:

  • Metabolic rate
  • Feelings of hunger
  • Feelings of fullness
  • Insulin levels
  • Thyroid function
  • Adrenal activity
  • Fat storage
  • Body composition

Note: Irregular hormonal levels may also trigger the accumulation of peri-abdominal or visceral fat during perimenopause and menopause. Find out how to get rid of hormonal belly fat by learning which hormones are responsible.

9 Hormones Connected to Weight Loss (or Gain)

Hormones are in a constant state of flux, interacting with one another to support essential physiological processes that sustain our health and weight. They are responsible for energy expenditure, breakdown and storage of nutrients, fat distribution, and metabolism.

The following is a list of 9 hormones that play a role in weight management.


This hormone is produced in the pancreas. Its role is to transfer glucose (blood sugar) from food into muscles, liver, or fat cells for energy or storage purposes. It keeps the body energized, healthy, and strong by regulating blood sugar levels, facilitating optimal glucose uptake by the cells, and inhibiting unnecessary storage of fat.

Sometimes the cells become less responsive to insulin or stop responding to it altogether. This medical condition of reduced insulin sensitivity is known as insulin resistance. It causes weight gain and increases the risk of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.

You can keep insulin levels in check with regular physical activity, a balanced diet, and enough sleep. Some patients supplement with vitamin D or turn to intermittent fasting to increase their body’s sensitivity to insulin. Your doctor might also prescribe medication such as metformin to lower your blood sugar levels.

Note: Read more about how insulin affects weight loss.


Your white adipose tissue (body fat) secretes leptin that signals to the hypothalamus that you have eaten enough. This so-called “fullness hormone” is responsible for lowering food intake, burning calories, regulating the appetite, and maintaining optimal satiety levels.

Leptin resistance is a condition in which the brain region in charge of appetite control stops responding to leptin. This leads to overeating and rapid weight gain.

Insufficient sleep, poor diet, chronic stress, and inflammation may all contribute to leptin resistance.

You can increase leptin sensitivity by:

  • Avoiding processed food
  • Improving gut health with soluble fiber
  • Lowering triglycerides
  • Increasing protein intake
  • Maintaining a regular sleep schedule
  • Exercise, especially high-intensity interval training (HIIT)

Note: Learn how to reduce inflammation to prevent weight fluctuations and other medical conditions, such as type 2 diabetes.


When the stomach is empty, it releases a hormone called ghrelin that sends the message to the hypothalamus that it’s time to eat. This “hunger hormone” stimulates appetite and increases food intake to secure enough energy-yielding nutrients.

Both chronically elevated ghrelin levels and increased sensitivity to ghrelin can trigger high-calorie consumption that leads to excess fat storage. Additionally, overstimulation of the ghrelin receptor known as GHS-R may cause obesity and thwart attempts at weight loss.

To reduce unhealthy cravings and manage optimal ghrelin levels, make sure to:

  • Eat regularly
  • Add protein to each meal
  • Prioritize sleep
  • Minimize stress
  • Avoid yo-yo dieting

Note: You can reduce leptin resistance and sensitivity to ghrelin with a natural appetite-regulating supplement, Vibrant Crave Control.


Adrenal glands secrete cortisol, the so-called “stress hormone” that initiates the “fight-or-flight” response, priming the body to tackle a potential threat. This hormone increases energy levels and heart rate in preparation for a stressful situation. Cortisol helps you maintain a healthy weight by influencing how the body metabolizes and stores fat and facilitating nutrient metabolism.

Chronically elevated cortisol levels can slow down metabolism, disrupt sleep patterns, and contribute to excess visceral fat storage and muscle breakdown. This hormonal imbalance often causes us to stress eat, overeat, and make high-calorie food choices.

You can begin your weight loss journey by optimizing cortisol levels and reversing stress-induced damage in the following ways:

  • Prioritize sleep
  • Engage in relaxing activities
  • Choose moderate exercises
  • Supplement with hormone-balancing vitamins
  • Adopting a better diet and healthy lifestyle changes as outlined by the metabolic diet

Note: Find out how to lower cortisol with several natural approaches.


Estrogen is a sex hormone predominantly produced in the ovaries. It affects the health of bones, the brain, and the cardiovascular system in addition to regulating the female reproductive system. Both high and low estrogen levels can disrupt metabolic processes and body composition, leading to unpredictable weight shifts.

High estrogen levels are associated with obesity, typically manifesting as fat around the waist and hips. Estrogen deficiency accompanying perimenopausal and menopausal hormonal fluctuations is a major contributing factor to rapid weight gain, typically in the abdominal area.

You can reduce body mass by stabilizing estrogen activity in the following ways:

  • Adopt a balanced diet
  • Minimize stress
  • Get more restorative sleep
  • Exercise regularly
  • Start a hormone replacement therapy (HRT)

Note: Read about the effectiveness of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) and find out how exactly HRT aids in weight loss.

Neuropeptide Y

Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is a hormone synthesized in the brain that stimulates appetite, balances energy, and affects sleep patterns. Unlike ghrelin, which activates food-seeking behavior when the stomach is empty, NPY increases in response to stress or high blood sugar levels. Thus, it is responsible for stress eating, which often leads to putting on extra weight.

With high NPY levels, you are more likely to consume bigger portions of high-calorie food due to delayed satiety. Moreover, higher levels of this hormone reduce energy expenditure and promote abdominal fat storage. Visceral fat accumulation in the abdominal region is one of the five risk factors of metabolic syndrome, a condition that may cause diabetes, heart disease, or stroke.

Here are a few tips to keep NPY levels in check:

  • Increase soluble fiber to enhance satiety
  • Adopt a low-calorie diet
  • Supplement with berberine
  • Cut down on sugar and high-fat foods

Note: If you are dealing with fat accumulation due to hormonal imbalance, find out what hormones are responsible for this condition and how to get rid of hormonal belly fat.

Glucagon-like peptide-1

Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is a hormone produced in the gut. It is responsible for regulating blood glucose levels and insulin response after eating. It promotes satiety by stabilizing blood sugar levels, allowing the body to feel satisfied with fewer calories.

Medical weight loss programs may include GLP-1 medication, such as semaglutide injections, to improve GLP-1 signaling in diabetic patients and combat obesity in the following ways:

  • Enhancing metabolic function
  • Regulating appetite
  • Improving digestion
  • Optimizing blood sugar levels

You can also enhance GLP-1 properties by adding more protein and probiotics to your diet.


Like GLP-1, cholecystokinin (CCK) is primarily secreted in the gut after a meal to signal to your brain that you are full.

It aids digestion by stimulating digestive enzymes that help break down the food you eat, promote protein synthesis, and activate energy production. It also helps with the absorption of fats by stimulating gall bladder emptying.

This satiety hormone helps you maintain a healthy weight by slowing gastric emptying and prolonging the feeling of fullness after a meal.

Obesity can reduce sensitivity to CCK levels, leading to overeating. You can increase sensitivity to CCK and inhibit further food intake with a high-protein diet and regular exercise.

Peptide YY

Peptide YY (PYY) is another gut hormone essential for regulating appetite and curbing cravings. This fullness hormone reduces food consumption and energy intake, and controls appetite by slowing down the emptying of the stomach. It aids digestion and increases the efficiency of nutrient absorption to help you manage weight.

Overweight people may have lower PYY levels and are more likely to overeat and gain extra pounds. You can maintain optimal peptide YY activity with a paleo diet and moderate physical activities.

Note: Learn more about the connection between gut health and hormones.

How to Balance Hormones Affecting Weight

You can reverse hormonal imbalances, lower your BMI, and maintain healthy weight without resorting to hormonal medication or treatments.  


Regular physical activity supports weight loss efforts by improving cardiovascular health, aiding digestion, increasing energy levels, and enhancing muscle strength. Moreover, exercising reduces the risk of obesity-triggered chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes or hypertension.

You can restore hormonal balance and increase overall fitness with the following activities:

  • Walking – It is beginner-friendly and doesn’t require additional equipment.
  • Jogging – Running helps burn visceral fat and boost metabolism.
  • Cycling – This low-impact exercise may increase insulin sensitivity.
  • Strength training – It helps you lose weight by building muscle.
  • High-intensity interval training (HIIT) – This type of exercise burns calories in less time.
  • Swimming – It is a low-impact, full-body workout that facilitates calorie burn.
  • Pilates – This muscle-strengthening exercise helps you raise your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and burn more calories.

Always consult a licensed workout coach or a healthcare professional before committing to a weight loss exercise plan. They will help you prevent any injuries and customize a workout strategy tailored to your unique fitness goals.

Note: Check out these 19 practical weight loss tips for faster results.


Your medical provider will recommend dietary changes depending on your current hormonal status and other health parameters. Here is a list of dietary recommendations for weight loss and management based on separate weight-affecting hormones:

InsulinConsume non-starchy vegetables and insoluble fiber such as psyllium husk and soaked chia seeds to stabilize insulin.
LeptinAvoid processed food and include protein in every meal, such as fish, meat, chicken, and turkey.
CortisolEat magnesium-rich food, such as avocados, bananas, broccoli, and dark chocolate.
EstrogenChoose foods rich in phytoestrogens, including flax seeds, soybeans, edamame, dried fruits, sesame seeds, garlic, peaches, tofu, and tempeh.
GhrelinEating high-protein food and complex carbohydrates may lower ghrelin levels.
Neuropeptide YCut down on sugar and adopt a low-fat diet to optimize NPY activity.
Glucagon-like peptide-1Consume high-protein food, probiotics, and herbal-based ingredients, such as berberine, curcumin, cinnamon, and resveratrol.
CholecystokininChoose complete proteins (e.g., eggs, poultry, fish) packed with all nine essential amino acids to stimulate CCK release.
Peptide YYAdopt a paleo diet packed with plant-rich foods, nuts, seeds, and lean protein to regulate your satiety response and PYY levels.

Note: You can enhance your dietary weight-loss results with these 14 weight loss products.


You can rebalance your hormones to maintain a healthy weight by taking regular breaks, power napping, and getting 7-8 hours of deep, restorative sleep at night. Sleep-enhancing supplements, such as Relora or Osmosis MD Relax & Unwind Elixir, can help you beat hormonal insomnia and get enough rest.

Sleep deprivation disrupts metabolic processes, increases cortisol production, and triggers emotional overeating by suppressing appetite-control hormones. Quality sleep promotes physical performance, increases energy levels, and makes exercising more appealing to help you stay in shape.

Reduce Stress

  • Arts and crafts
  • Breathing exercises
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Tai chi
  • Gardening
  • Cooking
  • Spending time outdoors
  • Bonding with family
  • Playing with a pet

Stress-relieving activities support your weight management efforts by optimizing cortisol levels and keeping hormonal activities in check. Choose an activity that makes you feel calm, centered, and relaxed. Try out some of the following:

Review Your Medication

Some medications, such as birth control pills and steroids, may disrupt hormone receptors and contribute to weight gain.

If you experience other hormone-related health problems, such as anxiety, hair loss, acne or sweating, talk to your medical provider about the medication you are currently using.


Hormones can interfere with your weight loss plans by impacting fat storage, digestion, metabolism, and appetite. An optimal diet, sleep, and exercise can help you restore hormonal balance, regain health and overall fitness.

If none of the lifestyle changes help, consider alternative treatments that Vibrant Vitality Clinic offers, including medically supervised weight loss programs, female bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) and male hormone replacement therapy (HRT) tailored to your needs.

Contact our staff for more information about all weight loss options.

Jenna Hilton
Jenna Hilton has been a practicing PA since 2009, specializing in Family, Internal Medicine and Medical Aesthetics. She attended Arizona State University where she received her Bachelor's Degree and graduated magna cum laude. She received her Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies from A.T. Still University.

Jenna has been injecting neurotoxin and dermal filler since 2013. She received certification as a Master Injector in 2017 through Empire Medical in Los Angeles, California. She is currently working on a Fellowship Program in Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine through the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. Her special interests include use of PLLA, Ablative/Non ablative skin resurfacing, PDO threads, hormone therapy and nutritional therapies to improve cellular regeneration and medically supervised weight loss.

Jenna Hilton believes in a multi-factorial approach, considering internal factors that accelerate aging and disease development. She always enjoys teaching. She co-founded Vibrant EDU courses at Vibrant Skin Bar and regularly performs one-on-one training with fellow injectors. She teaches Aesthetic and Advanced Injectable Courses at National Laser Institute. She has been named Preceptor of the Year and is an Adjunct Faculty Member at Midwestern University. She was born in Iowa, and lives with her husband and three children in Phoenix, AZ.

Featured Treatment:

Have a Question?

Vibrant Vitality Clinic - Advanced Hormone Replacement. Sexual Regenerative Medicine and Wellness Therapies.
Let's Connect!

Latest Blog Post:

Become a Member:

Search The Website:

Buy  Treatments online:

Connect with us:

4325 E Indian School Rd, Suite 130
Phoenix, AZ 85018
United States

(480) 422-2058

Monday - Friday: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Saturday: 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Sunday: Closed

Follow us on Social media:

Connect With Us:

4325 E Indian School Rd Ste 130, 
Phoenix, AZ 85018

Find More From Us:

Vibrant Skin BarSHOP - Vibrant Skin Bar

Find Us On Map:

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram