If you read the exercise, diet and mind chapters, you have acquired a unique set of skills. Not many people have this knowledge, and it’s fair to say you’re part of a fitness elite group. Even better, if you implement this knowledge in real life, you’ll easily be in the top 5 to 10% of your age group. And I’ve showed you it neither have to be difficult nor expensive to live a healthy slim life.
But there’s one more topic to discuss before we finish this article: our hormones.
Hormones are molecules we have in our blood system. Our organs use them to regulate our physiology and behavior. You can say they are like signals the body can use to change the state of things.
But incorrect hormone levels in our blood could cause all sorts of issues. Weight gains could be one of them. Here I’ll talk about two hormones that are very important when it comes to weight control – Testosterone and Cortisol.
Testosterone is the primary sex hormone for us men. Basically it’s what makes us men. Women also have testosterone but much lower levels. For men, healthy testosterone levels is between 300 ng/dL to 1000 ng/dL. For reference, I have 612 ng/dL which is considered healthy for my age.
The bad news is aging very likely equals low testosterone levels. Testosterone peaks during our puberty and thereafter slowly declines. A medical condition or a sedentary lifestyle could rapidly accelerate the decline. Low testosterone symptoms in men over 40 can be serious.
But there’s some good news. Recent studies showed that obese men who started Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) may experience weight loss. With TRT you add smaller doses of testosterone to help your body’s own production. Most common is using injections but you can also do it by applying gels. Unfortunately TRT is not widely known or discussed.
I recommend that all men over 40 ask their doctor for a testosterone blood test. This is a simple and cheap procedure. If your result shows low levels of testosterone (300 ng/dL or lower), ask your doctor about the possibility to start with testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). This is especially relevant if you’re having some of the symptoms. Low testosterone symptoms in men over 40 could be, but not limited to, low energy, low sex drive, depressions, loss of muscle mass or weight gains.
If your health care provider does not want to give you a receipt for TRT, even with levels 300 ng/dL and below, it may be time to look for other options. My friend Bill over at trtguide.com gives great advice how to approach this issue and where to start looking. He used to suffer from many of the low testosterone symptoms in men over 40 but was able to turn his life around after starting TRT.
For further reading I recommend his book that has a lot of great information about TRT and low testosterone symptoms in men over 40.
Cortisol is our primal stress hormone. When it’s released in our blood system, it reduces some bodily functions such as digestion and metabolism. Instead other functions like our muscles is put on high alert. This was great back in Homo Sapiens early days when we were chased by a Sabre-Toothed Tiger. But maybe not always so great for the modern man. And definitely not when we’re talking chronic stress. Stress can even kill you.
As mentioned above, raised Cortisol levels slows down your metabolism. Metabolism is how our bodies burn the calories we receive from food. Consequently, if a person suffers from chronic stress, the digestion and metabolism functions will be reduced for longer periods of time. Causing weight gains. With this in mind it’s very important to do our best to reduce chronic stress in our life.
One method that’s worked for me is meditation. It can be as simple as just laying down for 10 minutes and count your breathing. Sometimes I do this after I go to bed which helps fall asleep. Another form of meditation is reading a book. Reading put me in a meditative state and I forget about other stressful things.
Lack of sleep (insomnia) could also cause your cortisol levels to increase. I talk more about sleep help in this guide.