Hormones regulate almost all aspects of human life, from reproduction to looks and dreams, even the way in which we burn fat. Any kind of hormonal imbalance may prevent weight loss and increase the risk of gaining weight.
Mood swings, problems with memory, concentration and sleep, all this may be due to hormonal imbalance, says Dr. Natasha Turner, author of The Hormone Diet: Lose Fat, Gain Strength, Live Younger Longer. Hormones, in fact, serve to convey instructions. When they get into the bloodstream, they may increase or decrease the activity in various parts of the body. Therefore, hormonal imbalance can even obstruct our diet and exercise plans.
Naturally, different hormones have different effects. For example, too much of the stress hormone cortisol increases appetite and stimulates the deposition of fat around the waist. Too much estrogen causes the deposition of fat around the hips, especially in women who begin to approach menopause.
We prepared a brief overview of the three hormones that prevent the loss of excess weight:
1. Too much insulin
Insulin stimulates cells to absorb glucose, which supplies them with energy. In our stomach and intestines food decomposes into simpler elements, including one type of sugar, glucose. The pancreas responds to sugar by producing insulin, which helps sugar to reach the body cells, that is, to restore the level of glucose in the blood to normal. Sugar which comes into the cell from the bloodstream burns out and produces energy. However, there is a downside of insulin. This powerful hormone is called ‘hunger hormone’ because it literally stimulates appetite for carbohydrates. To make things worse for those who want to lose weight, it turns most of the food into fat which is then stored in the body. At the same time, it prevents burning the fat reserves in the body.
Too much insulin makes you want to eat sweet and starchy foods, which is easily converted into fat. It prevents burning the stored body fat. The abundance of insulin in the blood makes you want to eat more even though you know that you have already eaten enough.
This vicious cycle can be broken if we reduce the intake of carbohydrates, which will cause the secretion of insulin.
Although the pancreas has a very precise response to rises in blood sugar, there are some people whose pancreas, due to some inherited defects, still excretes too much insulin.
If you may have this problem, ask your doctor to measure the levels of insulin and glucose in the blood. This hormonal imbalance is often accompanied by high levels of triglycerides, cholesterol and high blood pressure.
You should also control the intake of carbohydrates; eat enough proteins and fat which do not raise blood glucose levels. Eat more fruits and vegetables that are rich in fiber.
2. Too much cortisol
Elevated cortisol levels have been associated with increased appetite, the loss of muscle tissue, reduction of bone density, depression and memory loss. Chronic stress cannot be accepted as a normal condition. If you want to lose weight, you should reduce sources of stress and learn to react to stressful situations. Before going to bed, drink lemon balm tea or take some other natural remedy that reduces stress levels.
3. Too much estrogen
Estrogen stimulates water retention in the body and increases the fat reserves, especially around the hips and thighs. In addition, women who suffer from ovarian cysts, PMS, stress and depression, may have elevated estrogen levels compared to progesterone.
Taking Indole-3-carbinol, which is found in vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and collards, may help restore balance. You may take I3C supplements. Consult your doctor about it.
If a craving for food disappears, you have enough energy and your mood is stable, it is probable that your hormone level has been balanced.