Hormones are more than just spare molecules. They create signals, send messages, and dictate within the human body what to do and when. Hormones are especially essential to control the metabolism, which is deeply involved in how the body handles sugar, fat, and energy. Therefore, it’s no wonder why a hormonal imbalance would very likely impact our weight. But is it your hormones’ fault when you gain weight? And if so, what can you do to lose weight?
Is It Your Hormones?
Blaming something or someone else is a typical response for most people, and hormones are always there to blame when losing weight becomes difficult. However, in reality, that’s only true with a few people that have low testosterone or thyroid problems. For men, and some women as well, Low testosterone causes depression, loss of muscle mass, and increased fat storage. And since the thyroid serves as a regulator of our metabolism, an insufficient thyroid function can also make it difficult to lose weight.
In both cases, only professionals are certified to implement a hormone replacement therapy that would bring hormone levels back in balance. But even before setting up a visit to your physician, there are two things to look at before deciding it’s a hormonal problem.
Before blaming hormones, make sure your diet is healthy and balanced. Take a long hard look at what you are putting in your body on a regular basis. Are you avoiding calorie-packed foods? Including sufficient fiber in your diet? Consuming lots of fruits and vegetables? Keep a food diary and face reality about what you are eating.
Exercise increases energy expenditure, burns fat, and boosts the body’s metabolism – all are necessary to drop pounds. Thirty minutes a day is enough to maintain weight, but losing weight requires more. It is a good idea to include both cardio and weights in your workouts. The more muscle mass in your body, the more energy expenditure while resting.
Apart from testosterone and thyroid hormones, a few others are also involved in weight gain. Ghrelin and leptin control the appetite. Cortisol and adrenaline are triggered in stressful situations, causing anxiety and promoting binge eating. Here’s how to keep these hormones in check:
- Eat more protein. Studies have found that protein intake modulates the levels of ghrelin and reduces hunger.
- Choose healthy fats. Select foods that include healthy fats like avocados, salmon, nuts, and seeds. These fats will increase the levels of cholecystokinin, a hormone that further reduces hunger levels.
- Reduce stress. Yoga, meditation, aromatherapy and similar activities help to reduce high levels of stress. Reducing stress will control cortisol and adrenaline secretion, and ease anxiety and reactive eating behaviors.
- Sleep. Getting high-quality sleep improves the levels of leptin, ghrelin, cortisol, and even growth hormone. For most people having enough rest requires at least seven hours of sleep.