A hormonal imbalance may really be the reason you gain weight. While others may roll their eyes every time someone says they can’t lose weight because of a slow metabolism or a hormonal imbalance, they could be passing judgment too quickly. Your hormones are the catalysts for many functions in your body, from digestion and metabolic processes to sleeping at night. There are some key hormones that can influence weight loss. If they’re out of balance or insufficient, you probably will be battling excess pounds until you correct the problem.
Insulin and cortisol are two key hormones for weight loss.
Insulin helps you move sugar into the cells to provide energy. Too much can cause your body to store fat, using it as a food source. High levels make fat loss almost impossible. Cortisol, a hormone created when you’re under stress, has been associated with abdominal fat. While your body may benefit in dealing with long term stress via cortisol, over the long haul it lowers your immune system, destroys muscle tissue, creates foggy thinking, leaches calcium affecting the density of your bones and may even increase your risk for cancer. Both high insulin levels and high cortisol levels will leave you craving high carbohydrate foods and increase your appetite, making weight loss far more difficult.
Lowering your insulin levels may occur with a diet change.
A high carbohydrate diet of processed foods can encourage the creation of more insulin. More insulin means less weight loss. It also means less energy. Changing your diet to moderate carbohydrate intake can make a huge difference and also help prevent insulin resistance…diabetes, which causes elevated levels of insulin, but reduces the ability of the body’s cells to use it. Too much insulin can lock fat onto your body. Exercise burns off cortisol and helps reduce insulin resistance. A healthy diet that’s lower in carbohydrates also helps.
Hormones can create cravings by tapping into the body’s pleasure center.
Whether you’re craving the next candy bar or want some comfort food to help you through a depressing situation, it may be from lack of serotonin or dopamine. However, certain activities can also increase your levels of these hormones. Activities such as exercise increase dopamine and meditation can increase serotonin levels. That’s often why you feel far less hungry after working out.
Growth hormones help you lose weight but decline as you age. They also work in conjunction with melatonin. If you don’t have enough melatonin, you won’t get the benefits of the growth hormone. Eating walnuts is a good way to increase melatonin.
DHEA is a precursor for sex hormones and can keep you burning fat and looking younger.
Some foods such as avocados, dairy from grass fed cows and coconut oils can help balance hormones. These are good fats.
Some herbs, such as holy basil or ashwagandha—Indian ginseng.