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Balance These 5 Hormones to Lose Weight

Balance These 5 Hormones to Lose Weight
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One of the most common questions I receive here at Healthfundaa is that “I’m eating right and exercising, but I still can’t lose weight.” These questions are often asked by women who into their menopausal years (usually around the age 45+). Some of them say that the diet and fitness plan that they have been following from years and helped them keep their weight off has suddenly stopped working for them.

What might be the reason for this?

Have you got your hormones checked?

Yes you heard it right…..

Hormones and weight loss is deeply connected to each other.

Fluctuating hormones can be the cause of your weight gain. Women are more vulnerable to hormonal imbalance as compared to men. Hormonal imbalance has a great impact not only on their biological cycle but on their daily life as well. So balancing your hormones can help you lose weight at any age and even in the menopause stage.

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If you are hearing this for the first time, then trust me you are not alone! Our hormones have a great impact on our mood, our appearance, and yes, above all on our weight. Our hormones keep fluctuating and the more we understand them, the more we can balance them to be happier and healthier. So let’s learn how hormonal imbalances can lead all your efforts to lose weight in vain and how you can balance your hormones naturally to maintain a healthier weight.

Balance these 5 Hormones to Lose Weight

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Here are the top 5 annoying hormones that may be sabotaging your weight loss efforts and how you can balance them.

1. Estrogen

Estrogen is the female sex hormone and is responsible for the growth of female sexual characteristics but an imbalance of estrogen hormone (particularly estrogen dominance) in your body can lead to slower metabolism thus leading to more storage of fat in the body. As women have more estrogen than men, it is often difficult for them to lose weight than their male counterparts.

Now for those in menopause, it might come as confusing to think that you have estrogen dominance when you are told that your estrogen levels are declining. There are two things to understand. First, estrogen levels decrease after menopause but at the same time if your progesterone levels are very low, you can have estrogen dominance.

And second, according to the National Institute of Health Sciences, exposure to environmental estrogens (estrogen-like chemicals in our environment called xenoestrogens) can cause excess estrogen. Some of these xenoestrogens include pesticides, hormones in animal products, and plastics.

How to Balance Estrogen for Weight Loss

Dr. Sara Gottfried, a Harvard-trained doctor and hormone expert recommends eating a pound of veggies per day, to lower estrogen levels naturally. According to her, fiber helps remove the estrogen from your body. Isn’t it simple! Gottfried recommends that to lower your estrogen levels naturally start with 35 to 45 gram of fiber per day, and then you can increase it so as not to cause stomach upset. You can also naturally balance estrogen by:

  • Reduce red meat intake
  • Cut on alcohol intake
  • Eliminate processed foods

2. Cortisol

Cortisol is the stress hormone. It regulates the body’s response to stressful situations. The levels of Cortisol hormone increase in times of stress, and it also increases appetite. Due to our busy lives and work pressure we are constantly in stressful environments, and, even if we eat well and exercise regularly, high stress prevents us from losing weight – or worse, it adds a pound or two. According to lead cardiovascular researchers at the University Medical Center in the Netherlands, having excess cortisol increases risk of heart disease, and it also stores visceral fat around your internal organs, which  often appears as excess belly fat.

So how will you balance this “hangry” hormone?

How to Balance Cortisol for Weight Loss

Simply put, you need to decrease your stress levels. Gottfried recommends slowly weaning yourself off excessive caffeine or switching from coffee to tea. Another way is to practice mindfulness. Some people de-stress by relaxing, others by getting active. How you de-stress depends completely on you. Other ways to lower your cortisol levels include:

  • Meditate
  • Take a magnesium supplement or Vitamin B
  • Consistently get better, longer sleep

3. Leptin

Leptin is produced by the body’s fat cells. Its primary function is to tell a part of our brain (the hypothalamus) that we are satiated, or full. But our modern diet is saturated with a type of sugar called fructose, found in many processed foods. Too much fructose is stored in the body as fat. This leads to an excess of leptin. If you have too much leptin then you become leptin resistant, meaning your body no longer tell if you are full or not—and you keep eating and gaining weight.

So how are you going to balance this pesky hormone?

How to Balance Leptin for Weight Loss

Getting enough sleep can help you balance levels of leptin in your body and thus maintain a healthy weight. When you don’t get enough sleep, your leptin levels are lower and you don’t feel satisfied after eating also. So if you think a leptin imbalance is to blame for your weight gain, make sleep a priority. Other ways to balance your leptin levels include:

  • Take an Omega 3 supplement or eat more Omega 3 rich foods such as fish, grass-fed meats, and chia seeds
  • Decrease your fructose intake by eating little to no added sugar
  • Exercise regularly

 

4. Ghrelin

Ghrelin works along with leptin. When your stomach is empty, it is ghrelin that tells your brain that you are hungry and that you need to eat. Nowadays, something is broken in the ghrelin mechanism, increasing your hunger while you rarely feel satisfied. Ghrelin is secreted primarily in the lining of the stomach. Your stomach produces ghrelin when it’s empty. Just like leptin, ghrelin goes into the blood, crosses the blood-brain barrier, and ends up at your hypothalamus, where it tells you you’re hungry. Essentially, ghrelin is high before you eat and low after you eat.

So how are you going to balance this craving hormone?

How to Balance Ghrelin for Weight Loss

Water is an essential part of life and it can help you balance this hunger hormone. So make sure you keep yourself hydrated and next time you feel hungry, have a glass of water first and you will be astonished to find your hunger pains lessening.

5. Insulin

Insulin is created by pancreas and it helps regulate glucose (blood sugar) in the body. If you are overweight or even “skinny fat” (storing too much visceral fat around your organs) your body’s glucose regulator (insulin!) is out of balance and you have a tough time losing weight. Furthermore, if you tend to eat sugary foods throughout the day, your insulin keeps working trying to clear the sugar from your blood. What does insulin do with the extra sugar? It stores it as fat.

How to Balance Insulin for Weight Loss

Dr. Gottfried suggests starting the day by drinking filtered water with two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to regulate your blood sugar first thing in the morning. This act as a natural body flush. Other ways to naturally balance your insulin levels include:

  • Get enough protein with every meal
  • Eat smaller meals more often
  • Eat low-glycemic carbs (fruits, beans, non-starchy veggies)
  • Eliminate added sugars from your diet

Related: 10 Diabetes Myths Busted!

Conclusion

If you are putting in all the efforts to lose weight but can’t figure out what is going wrong, your hormones may be to blame. Ask your doctor to test your hormones, as well as use the above information to try different techniques to get them in balance. It’s your body, and you should know everything you can to not only lose weight but feel happy and healthy.

Have you ever gained weight due to hormonal imbalance? What signs did you notice? Share your experience with us in the comments section.

Comments (36)

  • Most of them just starve their stomach for losing weight but they won’t realize that they are losing Muscles rather than fats. A good nutrition is what everyone is required, posts like these helps a lot.

  • Hello Sonal! What a great post my friend! It seems I am always watching my weight, like watching what I eat, exercising and drinking plenty of water! But I have never heard of taking an Omega 3 supplement , HUM? I just might have to give this a try! Thanks for sharing.. Chery :))

  • Hey Sonal,

    A very informative article, I loved it!

    I’m not aware of all these hormones except estrogen, thanks for sharing details and depth article about these all hormones.

    I only know that if you balance your estrogen level it not only helps to weight loss but also in avoiding diseases such as heart attack and stroke.

    Once again thanks for this “vividly” post.
    Shalini

    • Author

      Hi Shalini

      Nice to see you here. glad to know that you liked the post!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Thank you, this was great information Sonal. I will share it.

  • I have had issues with weight gain and success with losing weight both due to hormone issue. This is important information to share

  • Hi Sonal,
    interesting article. I am sure the processed food and the meat of hormone-treated animals can bring hormones out of balance. I am grateful to say that I had never any difficulty with this by eating natural food. But I heard many ladies complaining and taking medication which made it worse. I think taking supplements may be a better way to balance hormones. Thank you for the info

  • Hi Sonal
    I think that overweight can be a big problem and reason for many problems.
    Thanks for sharing a post about it.

  • Very interesting! I banished the word “diet” from my vocabulary years ago, instead opting to focus on healthy eating and portion control as a way of life and so far so good. But what’s interesting is that a year or so ago I eliminated alcohol and red meat from my eating regime and actually lost a few pounds without even realizing why. I just chalked it up to all the extra exercise I’ve been getting since we moved to Oregon. Good information!

  • Hi Sonal,
    What a good article – I took notes too. Trying to lose weight without understanding how your body works, especially when you are older is not smart. I do drink lots of water with regular exercise and try to get plenty of sleep. I see where I am going wrong with some of the things you mentioned. Thanks for the information. Will share!

  • Hi Sonal,

    Interesting and useful article for me. I’m “skinny fat” not overweight, but gaining because I’m post menopausal and trying to do a balancing act with weight gain. I was always thin, but now I’m in unknown turf of the weight gain. I don’t like to “diet” rather eat healthy organic foods. Nothing processed.

    This article is saved for me to study a bit more because I need all the help I can get!

    Thanks bunches,

    -Donna

    • Author

      Hi Donna

      I feel really good to know that you liked the article and found it useful.

      Thank you!

  • Hey Sonal
    it was ineradicable, your all tips about lose weight are very great
    Thank you for writing nice articles ,
    Stacy 🙂

  • Interesting yet very helpful article and I must I have learned lot of new things from this post regarding hormones.

    I will surely follow your tips.

  • Hi sonal talwar….
    really awesome post, and i am love your post.
    Thank you for sharing info..

  • Hey Sonal,

    A new way to look towards health…Its really Helpful Article

  • Hey!
    Your article is superb. What I can say gorgeous and tips were given are very helpful. I hope, you will come up with some more such ideas.
    Thank you 🙂

  • Great post. Articles that have meaningful and insightful comments are more enjoyable, at least to me. It’s interesting to read what other people thought and how it relates to them or their clients, as their perspective could possibly help you in the future.

  • Most of them just starve their stomach for losing weight but they won’t realize that they are losing Muscles rather than fats. A good nutrition is what everyone is required, posts like these helps a lot.

  • I have had issues with weight gain and success with losing weight both due to hormone issue.This article is saved for me to study a bit more because I need all the help I can get!

Comments are closed.