Are lack of willpower and self-control what’s preventing you from losing weight? Maybe not.
Your hormones might be to blame.
I’m not just talking about sex hormones here; I’m talking about the hormones that directly affect your blood sugar, your metabolism, and your appetite!
Let’s go over a few of the critical links between your hormones, and how they affect your energy and weight. The links may be stronger than you think.
WHAT ARE HORMONES?
Healthy, happy hormones are what nutritionists dream of, and for good reason.
Your hormones are part of the master control system of your entire body.
Hormones are chemical messengers made by one part of the body that are used to communicate with another part. For example, the hormone insulin is made in the pancreas. When your blood sugar gets too high, insulin is released into your bloodstream. Then, it goes to your muscle cells and other cells to tell them to absorb that sugar out of the blood. But here’s the kicker, if your blood sugar is still too high, insulin will send out a signal telling your body to store the excess as FAT.
Your hormones control not only your blood sugar, but also your metabolism and your appetite (plus a host of other things). I probably don’t need to tell you that managing healthy blood sugar levels, maintaining a healthy metabolism and controling appetite are all important for optimal energy and weight.
So, how can your hormones get out of whack and zap your energy and pile on the pounds?
COMMON HORMONAL IMBALANCES
When everything in your body is running smoothly, your hormones keep everything under control, leaving you with ample energy and a healthy weight.
But often there are hormonal imbalances. One common issue is that there may be too much or too little hormone released to have the desired effect. This is known as hypo- (too little) or hyper- (too much) “hormone.” For example, hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is a condition in which your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of certain important hormones.
Another common issue is that, even if the right amount of hormone is released, the cells they communicate with can start ignoring them. This is known as hormone “resistance.” An example of this would be insulin resistance, a condition in which the body’s cells become resistant to the effects of insulin.
As you can imagine, if your hormones have such critical jobs, including controlling blood sugar, metabolism and appetite, they can definitely cause issues with your energy and weight.
HORMONES AND ENERGY
Your metabolism is key for controlling your energy. Metabolism itself is basically how much energy (calories) you burn. The main players involved in metabolism are your thyroid hormones.
Your thyroid releases hormones that affect the metabolism of all the cells in your body. If it’s too low and your metabolism goes down (hypothyroid), you may feel cold, hungry and tired. If it’s too high and your metabolism is too fast (hyperthyroid), you may feel hot, jittery and lose weight.
What you actually want is an ideal metabolism, ideal energy use, ideal temperature, and an ideal weight. Your thyroid hormones are the master controller here.
HORMONES AND WEIGHT
Your weight may be controlled by hormones more than you think! Insulin controls your blood sugar, and whether that sugar is going to be stored as fat or not. When your blood sugar gets too low, you may start craving sweets and carbs.
You also have hormones that control your appetite! How hungry and how full you feel are controlled by the hormones ghrelin & leptin. When those hormones get out of whack, you may find yourself wanting to eat because your body thinks you’re hungry and not satisfied…even if that’s not true.
Craving food (especially sweets and carbs) and not feeling full are going to be huge drives for you to eat more. Even if your body doesn’t truly need more food, the hormonal signals will tell you that you do.
I can’t forget to mention the stress hormone cortisol. When it’s too high for too long, it tells your body to store fat; and not just any fat – belly fat!
SUMMARY AND WHAT YOU CAN DO
Your body is very complex and uses hormones to control a huge number of functions. They control your blood sugar, metabolism, and appetite, amongst others. These hormones directly affect your energy levels, your weight and even where your body fat is stored.
Here are a few “hormone stabilizing” tips that might help you with your energy and weight:
1. Get regular exercise to use up excess blood sugar before insulin signals your body to store it as fat
2. Try stress-relieving activities like deep breathing, yoga, walks in nature, meditation or even colouring to reduce your (belly-fat inducing) cortisol.
3. Support your thyroid with iodine-containing cranberries and sea vegetables. Enjoy foods rich in selenium (brazil nuts, tuna, salmon, turkey) to help convert the thyroid hormone T4 to the active form, T3.
4. Help balance your hormones by eating chia, flax and hemp seeds.
5. Avoid blood sugar spikes by replacing your juice or soda with water, fruit-infused water or herbal tea.
Need help lowering your cortisol levels? Grab your FREE guide here: Stress Management and Self Care.
If you need some support with your energy levels and/or weight, contact me to book a FREE 15 minute introductory session to discuss your health and wellness goals.