Six Hormones that Influence Weight Loss in Women

Combined with a healthy diet, making sure that your body has sufficient amounts of these hormones can help take stubborn weight off.

In general, public discussions about weight loss tend to focus mainly on exercise and diet.

When someone thinks, “I need to lose weight!”, they immediately think up an action plan that involves exercises and a starting a “diet“. Some will take an additional step by hiring a personal trainer. This is a great choice as a good personal trainer can really motivate you to stay on track.

He will usually advise you to follow a healthy eating and help track your food habits. But what these fitness programas omit, is that your hormones can play a very key role in your weight loss success.

Our body produces 50 different types of hormones. Some of which regulate nutritional intake, metabolism and other functions that relate to weight gain and loss.

So, no matter if you are executing your fitness regiment perfectly, if you are experiencing hormonal imbalance, it will inevitably obstruct your progress.

Let’s take a closer look at the six main types of hormones that affect weight issues and what you can do to correct any imbalances.

Insulin

We all require insulin to process the sugars from our food – whether they are added sugar or naturally occurring sugar – and convert them into energy. When we consume carbohydrates, our blood sugar level rises, due to the sugars in carbohydrates like bread, pasta, oatmeal, fruits and vegetables.

High carb foods like bread and pasta cause a bigger spike. On the contrary lower carb foods like most vegetables and some fruits cause smaller rises in blood sugar levels. Someone without hormonal complications will not experience any insulin issues.

However, insulin deficiency causes a chronic problem that we know as diabetes. This means that the sugar in your bloodstream is not being converted into energy and sent to other parts of the body.

However, diabetes patients can also become insulin-resistant, which means that although you may be receiving insulin, not only do you have sugar buildup, but an insulin buildup as well.

Both situations create other problems, and one of these is weight gain.

Action plan:

  1. What you need to do is to take measures to increase insulin sensitivity.
  2. In recent years, research and experimentation has found that one of the most effective ways to do that is by practising a diet that is low in carbs, whether you are diabetic or not.
  3. Taking supplements containing chromium, R lipoic acid and magnesium may also be useful in glucose control and enhancing insulin sensitivity.

Leptin

One of the roles of leptin in our body is to act like a hunger suppressant, signalling to our body when we are full and to stop eating.

Weight loss not only depends on an individual to make good choices with food, but you also need to practice portion control. When leptin is deficient or impaired in your body, hunger signals are not being transmitted correctly.

Many obesity patients have been found to be lacking in, or resistant to, the leptin hormone which indicates how important this hormone is in weight control.

It’s not really clear what causes leptin impairment. Genetics plays a role, as well as inflammation in the body due to lifestyle factors like stress, poor diet, not enough physical activity, inadequate sleep and more.

Action plan:

  1. Eliminate threats from your lifestyle by being mindful of things that affect your overall health.
  2. Get enough sleep and take up hobbies that will get you moving.
  3. Above all, change your diet to one that cuts out processed foods and sugars that promote inflammation.
  4. A protein-rich diet keeps you full for longer and may improve your body’s response to leptin.
  5. Increase your omega-3 fatty acid consumption either through supplements or by eating more foods with omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and sardines. Omega-3 can help increase leptin levels by supporting a healthy inflammatory response, which is the main reason leptin resistance develops.

Ghrelin

The ghrelin hormone is the opposite of leptin, transmitting the message that your stomach is empty and that you need to eat a meal. Apart from signalling hunger, ghrelin regulates energy resources, and influencing how energetic you might be at any given moment.

This is connected to obesity problems because a lack of energy is demotivating and won’t inspire you to regularly exercise. Causing you to be largely sedentary, which doesn’t promote weight loss.

Ghrelin seems to be associated with our sleep cycle, producing the most quantities when we are asleep. Feeling hungry the moment you wake up is a good thing, as it’s an indicator that your ghrelin signals are working as they should.

Action plan:

  1. Just like with leptin, improving lifestyle habits like eating better food, increased movement and quality rest can help improve ghrelin function.
  2. In this case, sticking to a sleep schedule that optimises your circadian rhythm would be very beneficial to ghrelin production.
  3. Avoid high-fructose corn syrup and sugar-sweetened drinks, which can impair ghrelin response after meals.
  4. Eating protein at every meal, especially breakfast, can reduce ghrelin levels and promote satiety.

Cortisol

This hormone is produced in the adrenal glands to help with protein breakdown for increased energy. Many situations cause the release of cortisol, such as physical injuries, daily stress, and even activities like lifting weights and cardio workouts.

The elevated levels of this stress hormone during tension-filled times can turn your overeating into a habit. Because increased levels of cortisol also help cause higher insulin levels, your blood sugar drops and you crave sugary, fatty foods.

In all of these situations, your blood pressure and blood sugar levels also rise as part of the fight-or-flight response system.

But elevated cortisol levels that persist long term, disrupts the immune system and the production of other hormones. also they can cause cause sleepless nights and stores fat in your belly area.

Taking some time away from your busy schedule to rest and play is a good way to decrease your cortisol levels. They can cause cause overeating if too high.

Action plan:

  1. It’s a given that a healthy diet should be part of everyone’s daily lives, but to promote healthy cortisol production. You need to list the things that stress you out with activities that will help your mind to relax and think more positively.
  2. Go for a massage, schedule short getaways that include your favourite activities, or immerse yourself in something that you will enjoy learning about.
  3. This gives both mind and body time to rest, and help keep that cortisol production from spiralling out of control.
  4. Having fun and laughing, keeping a pet, taking up a hobby or taking supplements like omega-3 fish oils and ashwagandha may lower cortisol levels.
  5. Avoid caffeine at night and pay attention to the amount and quality of your sleep, including trying to limit the chance of disruptions.

Testosterone and oestrogen

Although testosterone is predominantly a male hormone, it is important for women as well. Testosterone regulates sexual function and metabolism, promotes bone density and follicle growth, and synthesises protein to build muscle.

When testosterone levels in women take a nosedive, so do metabolism, energy levels and muscle mass. As a result, you burn fewer calories and belly fat gets stored.

Stress, and even age, are some of the factors that contribute to the drop in testosterone. Similarly, estrogen, the female sex hormone that develops a woman’s reproductive system, can also contribute to weight changes.

When women enter the peri-menopause stage, oestrogen levels wane and weight gain is often cited as a side effect of that transition.

Action plan:

  1. The loss of testosterone and oestrogen is unavoidable as we age, hence many choose to go for hormone replacement therapy.
  2. Now would also be the right time to start strength-training workouts to maintain muscle mass and avoid rapid weight gain.
  3. Most of us would be unsure of how to start on either, so consult your doctor for information on bioidentical hormone therapy.
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Love and Wellness,