Excess weight around your waistline is not just undesirable, but also associated with many health issues including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. It can also be challenging to lose. You may have been eating right and working out consistently but instead of losing weight, you even gain more!
Before you beat yourself up in frustration, know that your hormones may be to blame.
How Hormones Cause Belly Fat
Your hormones regulate your bodily functions and control activities throughout the body. A small imbalance from excessive or underproduction of hormones can significantly impact your weight, mood, and more.
Belly fat can be a sign of hormonal changes in your body. These hormonal imbalances directly impact your body’s metabolism, hunger, energy, and fullness.
Signs That Your Hormones Are Causing Your Belly Fat
Lifestyle and age may influence levels of abdominal fat, along with smoking, alcohol, and lack of exercise.  As belly fat starts to build up, hormone levels change and affect your appetite and food intake.
Here are some key indicators of whether your abdominal fat is caused by hormones:
You're Always Stressed
Chronic stress is a health issue that can affect your weight. With constant stress, the adrenal glands produce way more cortisol than needed. High levels of the stress hormone cortisol are associated with overeating and increased belly fat.
You Never Feel Full
Normally, ghrelin or “hunger hormone” levels are highest before eating and lowest about an hour after eating. When your stomach is empty, it secretes ghrelin, which sends a message to the brain telling you to eat. For overweight and obese people, ghrelin levels are often lower before eating. This prevents the brain from receiving the strong signal to stop consuming food which then results in overeating. 
You’re Always Hungry
Leptin hormone reduces appetite and makes you feel like you’re full. People who are obese have very high levels of leptin. This leads to leptin resistance that impairs leptin signaling to the brain. The brain doesn’t realize you have enough stored energy but instead, thinks you’re starving, which then leads to overeating and belly fat.
You Crave Sweets
This is a sign that you are experiencing insulin resistance that prevents your cells from absorbing sugar from the bloodstream, leaving them starved for carbs. This condition makes you crave for more sugar, increasing your abdominal fat.
How to Lose Belly Fat
Getting rid of your belly fat may not be that simple, but it's totally doable. Changing your lifestyle and habits are usually the first step to regulating your hormones and losing the weight. We recommend starting slowly and incorporating whole foods that are high in protein and low in sugar into your diet. Daily exercise is also important for regulating stress and helps you get a better night's sleep.
 "Stress May Cause Excess Abdominal Fat In Otherwise ...." 23 Nov. 2000, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/11/001120072314.htm. Accessed 4 Dec. 2020.
 "9 Proven Ways to Fix The Hormones That Control Your Weight." 7 Mar. 2016, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/9-fixes-for-weight-hormones. Accessed 4 Dec. 2020.