With all the exercise programs and diets available online, it is perhaps easy to forget that there is another significant factor in weight loss. You may not be aware of it, but your hormones play a massive role in fat gain. A hormonal imbalance can result in your body’s craving for fattening foods and the signals sent to your brain make you reach for that doughnut, even if you regret it after!
The body has a minimum of 40 chemicals that influence our appetite. The good news is that you can balance your hormones and take control of your eating habits. Below, we look at three of the most significant.
This is a hormone that plays a big role in the controlling of your appetite. Leptin is one of the most important hormones produced by your fat cells and high amounts of it can help keep your hunger at bay. Leptin resistance is an issue where the brain isn’t affected by the hormone, regardless of how much of it is in your body. Leptin resistance can cause the body to think it is starving thus slowing down your metabolism and sending signals to the brain which causes you to crave high calorie foods.
Diet and exercise is a great combination for leptin control. Another excellent solution is to eat a cup of fibrous vegetables early in the morning as this satiates our body’s fiber needs and reduces hunger pangs.
Cortisol is a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands and while it can give you an initial burst of energy, if it remains at a high level, you will develop a craving for foods high in calories and sugar. Serotonin is a hormone that calms you down and reduces appetite, which is the perfect antidote to excess cortisol production.
To get your cortisol and serotonin levels in balance, eat foods such as spinach and asparagus, as they are loaded with vitamin B, which the brain uses to make serotonin. To reduce your cortisol levels, get more sleep! Staying up all night has been shown to increase cortisol levels by as much as 100%, which helps to explain those late night cravings.
Whenever you eat a meal loaded with carbohydrates or consume high levels of sugar, the body reacts by releasing insulin, which pulls in extra glucose from your bloodstream. Eat too many starchy carbohydrates or sugar and insulin will store the excess calories as fat. In some cases, gaining weight in this manner causes insulin resistance and even diabetes.
By cutting back on sugar and starchy carbohydrates, you will reduce instances of insulin spikes. Americans drink far too many sugary beverages, so cut down on these to begin with. Eat wholegrain carbs instead of refined carbs like white bread and space out your snacks using the ‘little and often’ methodology.
Although calories in versus calories out are still an important part of the equation, hormone balance should take equal precedence according to the majority of medical experts. With daily interval training, insulin balance, better food choices, and more rest, we can balance our hormones and keep the weight off. If this doesn’t work for you, there is always the option of undergoing hormone balancing therapy to keep you healthy.