Can you really make use of your own hormones to lose weight? Is there even such thing as weight loss hormones? Or is it possible that hormones have an important effect on your weight and your ability to slim? This is what you’ll discover in the next few minutes below.
One of the Great Unfairnesses of the weight loss game is that your diet and exercise (which are pretty easy to control) aren’t the only factors involved in weight loss. The levels of certain hormones gives your body strong chemical instructions about what to do with your calories.
Making a difference in those hormone levels is way harder than exercising more and eating less.
But “hard” isn’t the same as “impossible.” Here’s your no-BS guide to the five biggest, baddest weight loss hormones that decide your body weight and shape.
1. Estrogen & Body Weight
What it is: Estrogen is a group of estrus-producing hormones that promote the development and maintenance of female characteristics in the body…including the development of adipose, that extra layer of body fat that makes women curvier than men.
What it does: In the proper balance, estrogen is vital to a woman’s reproductive health. If out of balance, a woman’s body can enter estrogen dominance – a condition that causes fat gain, water retention and bloating plus a lot of health issues not related to weight loss.
Men’s bodies also produce estrogen. This is natural, but too much estrogen can counteract the positive effects of testosterone toward weight loss, muscle gain and libido.
What you can do about it: Some compounds can add the estrogen-like chemicals to your bloodstream directly or encourage your body to produce more. These are common in pesticides and herbicides, and BPAs. Keep your vegetable diet as organic as possible. For women, many versions of The Pill contain estrogen, but not all of them. Talk with your doctor about switching up your prescription or dropping it altogether.
2. Leptin & Body Weight
What it is: Leptin is a hormone made in fat cells. It’s responsible for telling your brain – and through it your endocrine system – whether or not your body is burning the right amount of energy.
What it does: Though some press pundits and self-appointed experts have taken to calling Leptin the “obesity hormone” it’s actually the opposite. This is the starvation hormone, regulating body weight by warning your body if you’re burning more energy than your fat reserves can handle. You can also develop Leptin Resistance (much like Insulin Resistance) that makes your body think it’s starving even as you overeat.
What you can do about it: The bad news is your “leptin threshold” – the amount of body fat below which your body decides it’s starving and starts working to keep pounds on – is probably set genetically. The good news is you can still do a few things to spoof the system and fight leptin resistance.
• Reduce your intake of fructose, especially high fructose corn syrup
• Get enough sleep and reduce your stress
• Swap out your simple carbohydrates for complex carbs
• Reduce your consumption of lectins, found in dairy, eggs, wheat, soy and most nuts
3. Ghrelin & Body Weight
What it is: Ghrelin, produced by specialized cells in your stomach lining, tells you when you’re hungry. It responds to messages from your hypothalamus based on energy levels and time of day, as well as what’s in your stomach at any given time.
What it does: When it’s time to eat, ghrelin stimulates food cravings and that hunger feeling in your gut. It’s counteracted by Leptin (see above), with the relative level of each responsible for how much and how often you want to eat.
What you can do about it: Big Pharma tried to produce a ghrelin blocker, which killed hunger along with pleasure sensations and led to depression and suicide. Luckily, nontraditional sources have discovered some ways to block ghrelin without those “minor” side effects.
Avoiding fructose and crash diets, eating small meals every four hours instead of three squares and eating animal protein daily are three proven methods. If you have any kind of gastrointestinal illness, that can also throw your ghrelin production out of whack.
4. Cortisol & Body Weight
What it is: Cortisol is part of your body’s fight/flight response, and works hand in hand with its more famous cousin adrenalin. Its job is to help replenish the body after a stressful episode. Like most of our fight/flight system, it’s fine-tuned to survival on the savannah and something of a problem in a modern world with modern stressors.
What it does: After a stressful episode, cortisol tells your body to eat more because it’s still assuming you just burned a mass of calories fighting something or running away.
Worse, when you burn fat it tells your body to tke that fat from your rear and hips, leaving belly fat there for last. Belly fat isn’t only the least attractive fat you can carry, it’s actually linked more strongly with heart disease and other ailments than fat in other parts of the body.
What you can do about it: Beating this is all about the stress relief. Identify the stressors in your life and find the “prescription” – whether it’s more exercise, better sleep, meditation or culling certain people or situations from your life.
Because obesity can be its own stressor, you can find yourself in a positive spiral as you reduce stressors in your life.
Less stress = less cortisol = less weight = even less stress = even less cortisol = even less weight. Rinse, repeat.
5. Thyroid Hormones To Lose Weight
What it is: The thyroid gland releases a suite of hormones which regulate many of the body’s most important systems…including metabolic rate and digestive function.
What it does: Thyroid hormones regulate your basal metabolic rate (BMR): how many calories your body burns at rest. An underactive thyroid or other factor that reduces sensitivity to thyroid hormones, can set your BMR so low it’s almost impossible to burn the calories you need to lose weight.
What you can do about it: As with so many things, “traditional” medicine will sell you some pills to fight hypothyroidism. Sometimes they even work. But you can also use natural methods to stimulate thyroid hormones. Some with the longest, strongest history include:
• Eliminate soy, fluoride and canola oil from your cooking and water
• Cut out processed foods as much as possible
• Add iodine and chlorophyll to your diet, along with zinc and selenium
• Eat more apples and pears, which help regulate hormones in general
• Get regular exercise
Using Your Own Hormones To Lose Weight – Conclusion:
If you’re doing everything right with your diet and activity levels, but can’t lose weight, your hormones may be out of balance. Check for symptoms of imbalance with each of these hormones that regulate body weight, then practice some of the known techniques for getting the back into line.
Start with these easy fat-burning recipes