Does this sound familiar? You diet, you exercise, you do everything right… but that last 10, 15, even 20 lbs just will not come off? It’s frustrating, we get it…really, we GET IT. There are a lot of things that factor into weight loss, and believe it or not, food and exercise aren’t the only things that determine that number on the scale. It could be that your hormone levels are out of whack, and balancing them may be the key to hitting your goal weight.
The Link Between Your Hormones and Weight
When it comes to weight loss and hormones, there are five key players. A disruption in one can really mess you up, and an imbalance in two or more can really pack on the pounds. There is good news, though. Once you realize that it’s your hormones that are causing your weight gain, balancing them should help you shed those extra pounds—in some cases, almost immediately.
5 Hormones to Keep an Eye On
This one is a biggie when we’re talking about hormones related weight-gain. Cortisol is known as “the stress hormone”. When we are under pressure or feeling a lot of tension, our body releases extra cortisol to help deal with it, and by “deal with it” we mean that this hormone makes you hungry. For those of us who tend to “eat our feelings” when we’re stressed, cortisol might be your kryptonite.
What can you do to rebalance your cortisol levels?
- Cut out what is stressing you, if you can
- Try meditation or yoga
- Keep healthy snacks on hand for when the munchies strike
- Get regular exercise
- Try acupuncture
- Get a relaxing massage
The thyroid gland and its hormones regulate your metabolism. Having a thyroid condition can wreak havoc on not only your bikini body, but your social life and overall health. Symptoms of a low or underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) include weight gain, fatigue, hair loss, constipation, infertility, and low libido among other things. Unfortunately, it’s not something a week of eating clean will fix either. You’ll need to see your doctor if you think you’re dealing with a thyroid issue. Keep in mind that one in eight women will develop a thyroid disorder in her lifetime, so if you’re noticing the signs, take them seriously and get tested.
How do you treat an underactive thyroid?
- Your doctor may prescribe a synthetic thyroid hormone
- Reduce or eliminate caffeine and sugar
- Take dietary supplements, especially vitamin D, Omega 3’s, selenium, zinc, and B vitamins
- Eat more protein to protect muscle and tissue growth
Too much of this gal can get you in some real trouble around the time your period comes. Estrogen levels naturally rise during the days between ovulation and menstruation, but are neutralized by the release of its counter-hormone, progesterone. When women have too much estrogen, and not enough progesterone, they’ll usually notice symptoms such as weight gain, or weight loss resistance, extreme moodiness, PMS and heavy periods.
What can I do about excess estrogen?
- See your doctor to learn whether medication is needed
- Get plenty of exercise
- Drink plenty of filtered water
- Take probiotics if you have constipation
- Eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet
Leptin is a natural appetite suppressant. In fact, it’s the chemical that signals to your brain that you are full and it’s time to stop eating. The problem is, when you put on weight, leptin is stored in your fat cells and gets released in higher amounts. If your body becomes bombarded with too much leptin, your brain becomes resistant and stops warning you when you become full, and so you overeat. High levels of leptin have been linked to high blood pressure, insulin disorders, heart disease, and even stroke.
How can I fix leptin resistance?
- Cut out sugar and refined foods
- Get plenty of sleep
- Try a cleanse and detox
- Take omega 3 supplements (fish oil or krill oil)
- Eat protein and healthy fats for breakfast to keep you satisfied longer
» Read More: Is Leptin Making You Fat?
Insulin is a hormone that is created and secreted by your pancreas. It’s main job is to regulate blood sugar levels in your body. When the body takes in excess sugar, more insulin has to be secreted to take care it, causing high blood sugar. Any sugar left over that isn’t needed for fuel is then stored as fat. When constantly overworked, you become more at-risk for developing diabetes.
How can I balance insulin for weight loss?
- Drink plenty of filtered water to flush your system
- Eat high protein meals
- Eliminate processed food and all white sugar
- Try eating six small meals a day instead of three large ones
- Choose low-glycemic carbs such as fruit, beans and leafy vegetables
Now that you’re aware of the five hormones that may affect your weight, be sure you’re maintaining these hormone levels, as well as getting proper nutrition and regular exercise. ChooseMyPlate.gov is an excellent source for healthy meal plans. You can also choose to supplement your vitamins and minerals.
Article by: Natural Healthy Concepts, a vitamin and supplement store and blog, featuring research articles by a certified nutritionist on the most important topics in the natural health industry, including essential oils.