There are powerful forces at work in your body, and they can make or break your weight loss journey. These forces are called hormones, and although an unseen force to be reckoned with, they can have a great impact on your body.
Hormones aren't just something teenagers deal with while going through puberty. They also aren't just something women battle when going through menopause. Hormones are at work within every living man and woman, whether they notice them or not. Hormonal health is essential for overall health, especially when it comes to weight. Food and exercise don't just affect your calorie count; they also affect your hormone levels. So if you want to look and feel your best at every stage of life, you'll want to ensure your hormonal health is looking good.
Hormones and Your Body Weight
Hormone balance goes hand in hand with blood sugar control and insulin balance when it comes to controlling your metabolism. And obviously, your metabolism has a lot of control over weight loss and weight gain.
Here are some of the hormones you'll want to keep an eye on that contribute to your weight:
Although well known as a hormone associated with women's sexual and reproductive health, progesterone can help improve:
- Sleep patterns
- Mood steadiness
- Metabolic rate
- Blood pressure
- Bone production
- The body's use and elimination of fat
- Thyroid function
If you don't have a healthy balance of progesterone to estrogen, you're likely going to find the things listed above are suffering.
People suffering from diabetes aren't the only ones that need to be concerned about their insulin levels. Insulin is a hormone that is secreted by the pancreas. Its primary function is to regulate levels of glucose in the body and promotes fat storage, specifically around the belly.
Foods that tend to promote an increase in insulin secretion are sugars and white refined flours. This is why it's not uncommon to see diabetics using sugary snacks to treat lows and the avoidance of bread products to ensure they don't deal with extremely high blood sugar levels.
Cortisol is well known as the stress hormone. This hormone goes hand in hand with insulin and they can make weight loss or gain difficult. When cortisol levels rise with stress, insulin also tends to rise.
Cortisol is also typically to blame for "stress eating." It's all too common to fall prey to overeating when we feel stressed, and that just doesn't bode well for those of us trying to lose weight.
Glucagon is known as the enemy of insulin, as it can have the opposite effect of insulin in your body. Typically if insulin is down, glucagon is up. If insulin is up, glucagon is down. Glucagon is well known for its ability to burn fat, and it is secreted when you consume protein. This is why higher protein intake is encouraged when you're trying to lose weight.
Balancing Your Hormones for Optimal Health
Since hormones affect every aspect of your health, you want to ensure that they are balanced. Here are a few things you can do to balance your hormones:
- Eat enough protein during every meal
- Cut down on insulin stimulating foods such as sugar, processed flours, and alcohol
- Exercise regularly to stimulate healthy hormones and reduce harmful levels of other hormones
- Incorporate essential fatty acids into your diet such as fish, nuts, and seeds
- Learn to manage your stress to level out cortisol
- Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day
- Avoid under-eating and overeating to keep balanced insulin levels
- Drink 1-3 cups of green tea a day to boost metabolism and lower cortisol levels
- Aim for at least 7 hours of high-quality sleep every night to restore your body
- Eat fiber-rich foods daily to protect against insulin resistance and overeating
Not sure which hormones are unbalanced in your body? Schedule an appointment with us and we'll help you understand how your body is doing and why you may not be seeing the weight loss results you were hoping for.