There are a number of reasons you might not be losing that stubborn weight. From not exercising enough to exercising too much, or eating all the healthy foods but at the wrong times of the day, or not within the appropriate amount to positively support your body, it's easy to see how it can get confusing.
To get a better understanding of what's going on, we need to take a deeper dive into the body to investigate 4 specific hormones responsible in sending messages to our organs and triggering key functions that can be helping or hurting our fat loss goals. The foods we eat, the stress we endure at the gym, the downtown city air we are breathing in and more can cause these important chemicals to get out of balance and create unwanted responses that are not just causing stubborn fat loss, but they begin to cause many symptoms we may already be experiencing such as sleep disturbances, increased appetite, or that 3pm slump, to name a few.
There four hormones are what might be hindering your weight-loss efforts. These little guys are like silent saboteurs, throwing all your hard weight-loss work in the garbage! But don’t worry, together we can figure out which ones might be sabotaging you, and how to fix them so they work WITH you instead of against. Now let's dive in!
1. INSULIN: We talked a bit about insulin in this recent blog post. Insulin is the hormone that tells your body to store the foods you eat as fat. Insulin is triggered by sugar, and if you eat too much sugar (that includes carbohydrates!) your insulin starts working overtime. Now what happens when someone works overtime too much? They get tired! That’s what happens when you eat too much sugar and your insulin has to work too hard. It gets tired and can stop working properly, making you store even more fat!
How to fix it:
- Avoid sugar. That includes simple carbohydrates like bread, pasta, white potatoes, or anything with refined sugar or excess fructose content like pop, candy and baked goods.
- Increase your protein intake. Especially when you eat carbs. That means when you have that apple (yes fruit is sugar too!) eat it with some almonds or a boiled egg.
2. ESTROGEN: It’s very common for women to have estrogen imbalance. Our estrogen levels fluctuate every single month naturally with our menstrual cycles. But did you know that there are synthetic estrogens in our environment that can be absorbed into our bodies, taking our natural estrogen cycles for a ride? Those extra estrogens can cause weight gain, cellulite, acne, infertility, PMS and all kinds of really serious problems. Men! You too can be affected by the estrogen that is present in the environment, and exposure to chemicals as well.
How to fix it:
- Avoid plastic that contains the chemical BPA. BPA has been linked to increasing levels of estrogen in the human body. If you do eat or drink from plastic, make sure it’s BPA free.
- Avoid or limit soy products - read labels! Soy can be hidden in all kinds of places!
- Limit alcohol as this can affect the liver’s ability to metabolise estrogen
- Increase your fibre intake (approx. 25 to 30 grams per day)
3. LEPTIN: Leptin is the awesome hormone that tells you when you’re full. If your body isn’t producing enough leptin, you might not be able to tell when you’re actually full, which can lead to overeating. Normally, leptin is released when you ingest food and signals your brain that you’re not hungry anymore. However, certain things can throw your leptin out of whack.
How to fix it:
- Make sure you get good quality sleep.
- Eat slowly and mindfully. Leptin takes time to signal your brain that you’re no longer hungry. It actually takes between 15-20 minutes for leptin to do its job. So if you inhale your food, you’ll already be on your third serving before you finally realize you’re no longer hungry.
- Chew your food. This will not only help with digestion, but it’ll also give leptin more time to do it’s job.
- Avoid MSG at all costs.
4. CORTISOL: Cortisol is the Big Daddy of stress hormones. Cortisol is produced when your body feels under threat. Cortisol helps us survive in dangerous situations by telling us to be aware, run or fight for our lives. The problem is that these days, everything coming at us is stressful. Our jobs are stressful, our marriages are stressful, our families stress us out, driving makes us crazy, and even watching movies can be stressful! All that stress in our daily lives is raising our cortisol levels well beyond what our bodies can handle. That’s not good! Elevated cortisol levels can actually slow your metabolism which, needless to say, is not good for weight-loss!
How to fix it:
- Introduce calming practices to your daily routine like yoga, meditation or deep belly breathing
- Get more sleep, make your room pitch black and cool temperature (around 15-20C) for deep sleep
- Get out in nature as much as you can
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
- Listen to relaxing music when you feel your stress levels rising
- Ask for support from family and friends
If you believe any of these hormones are out of whack, send me an email and let me help you work on solutions to this.
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