You are always on a diet, barely eating anything. Or you exercise until your biceps are sore and you are blue in the face. But nothing seems to work. Weight loss used to be so easy for you but now even losing a few pounds is a battle you can’t seem to win. Like many women, you are at your wit’s end about what to do. But your inability to control your weight may be due to something you never thought of; your hormones. The following hormones can make the difference between you losing and gaining weight
Leptin is a hormone that is made in your fat cells. It sends a message to your brain that tells it that you are either hungry or full. It works pretty well when it is in balance but, if it isn’t you can over eat and gain weight. Prolonged leptin imbalance may result in leptin resistance. People with leptin resistance will feel hungry even though they just ate a full meal. But there are ways to avoid leptin resistance. Here are a few:
- Avoid foods that are Leptin resistant. This means stay away from foods containing trans fats and processed foods. A long term diet of these types of foods can eventually lead to leptin resistance.
- Avoid sugar. Sugar can make leptin levels spike and cause you to feel hungry when you’re not.
- Exercise. Regular exercise increases both your energy and your metabolis
Ghrelin like Leptin controls appetite. When the stomach is empty it releases Ghrelin into the bloodstream. The brain then gets a message that it is time to eat. The more of this hormone that is in the bloodstream, the more you will want to eat. The less of it, the more satiated you will feel. In many overweight people this hormone is not in sync with the brain and they tend to eat when they are not hungry. There are ways to get Ghrelin back in balance:
- Eat more protein. Protein tends to make your stomach feel like it is full. It can prevent Ghrelin from sending out the wrong message to the brain. If you are vegan don’t worry. The protein source can be plant or animal- based.
- Avoid foods containing high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup can wreak havoc on your hormones. Studies have shown it and other forms of sugar are one of these main causes of weight gain.
Ever hear women talk about gaining weight when they started to go into menopause? Well, estrogen is likely the culprit. Estrogen is a hormone that is produced in the ovaries. When estrogen is in balance, the optimal amount of fat is stored to maintain the functioning of the reproductive organs. But, when there is an estrogen imbalance, like when a woman goes through menopause, too much fat is stored and you can gain weight.
For women who want to replace the estrogen they lost during menopause there are a few options:
- Hormone Replacement Therapy or HRT. Your doctor can prescribe estrogen to replace the amount lost from menopause.
- Avoid BPA. BPA is an endocrine disrupting chemical. The endocrine system produces hormones that regulate metabolism. When BPA gets into your system it can interfere with the functioning of these hormones. BPA can be found in plastic food containers and water bottles. Reduce your exposure by using paper or glass containers to microwave food. Also, opt for reusable BPA -free water containers instead of plastic bottles.
Avoid phthalates. Phthalates are endocrine disruptors too. These chemicals are in many man- made fragrances. Reduce your use of fragrant cosmetics, soaps, or detergents. Try fragrance-free products instead.
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