As women, we have probably all been accused at one point or another of being hormonal. Perhaps a little insulting, but actually true. With that said, all humans are full of hormones, not just women! If you’re overweight, those hormones are likely not as balanced as they should be. The bottom line is all bodies have a unique hormonal response to food, drink and lifestyle, and you must have the utmost respect for your hormones and determine, through experimentation, what works best for your body to bring it into hormonal balance.
How do you know when you’re in hormonal balance? Your moods stabilize. You naturally maintain a healthy weight. Your body sends messages that it’s time to eat only when it is in true need for fuel. And when you are satiated, your body sends the message that you are full and should stop eating. While you are working to achieve your ideal body weight, you must appreciate and yield to the power that your hormones have to not only wreak havoc on your weight loss but also make you feel pretty darn uncomfortable in your skin when they aren’t balance. Hormones also have the power to bring your body back in balance and allow you to achieve a healthy weight for life.
Below are five hormones that can impact weight loss for women:
When the five hormones above are out of balance, they can prove a challenge to your weight loss plans. Further, in some case, going on a diet will impact your hormones and impact your weight loss plans. Below is a brief description of each hormone.
Cortisol. Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress. High cortisol concentrations increase abdominal fat, the type of fat more closely linked to diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Ghrelin. Ghrelin, made in the stomach, is the hormone that stimulates appetite. Your body is designed for survival so when you begin a diet and reduce calorie intake, ghrelin levels increase and make you hungry to protect you from starvation.
Leptin. Leptin is a hormone that is secreted from your fat cells, and it signals your body when it’s full and should stop eating. Overweight and obese people have high levels of leptin, but the leptin signal isn’t working due to a condition known as leptin resistance. Leptin resistance can cause hunger even though the body has more than sufficient fat stores, and can also negatively impact the number of calories that are burned.
Insulin. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use sugar (glucose) from carbohydrates in the food that you eat for energy or to store glucose for future use. Like with leptin, if you regularly eat a lot of sugar, your body produces an elevated level of insulin and over time your cells are less responsive to the presence of insulin and become insulin resistant. Intermittent fasting, the topic of two of my recent blogs, has been associated with improved insulin sensitivity.
Estrogen. Estrogen is made in the ovaries, and plays a role in body-fat distribution. Many women report that changing estrogen levels affect their weight, particularly around menopause. They may notice that they are gaining weight, or that it is more difficult to lose weight.
The brief descriptions above do not even scratch the surface of the intricacy and interplay between your hormones, and how they can potentially impact weight loss. And as I mentioned above, each person has a unique hormonal response to a given set of circumstances. However, the basics on these hormones is a starting point and you now have information about which hormones are relevant to weight loss. I would highly recommend as you embark on a weight loss journey that you make it your business to know all about the hormones that will impact your weight loss success, and pay particular attention to your unique hormonal responses. Knowledge is power when it comes to your hormones, and knowing what is going on inside as you attempt to lose weight can put any temporary failures you experience in perspective for you. As you research, bear in mind there is conflicting data out there, especially on the internet. The good news is that incorporating into your lifestyle the three components we target in my 6-week weight loss program “Weight Loss for Stressed Out Ladies” (healthy diet, exercise and stress management) will help bring your hormone levels into balance over time and help you achieve a healthy lifestyle.
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