Research shows that hormones affect our appetite and the intake of food of course affects our weight and fat-content in the body so it is all relative. If you ever feel like your hormones are out of balance and there is need to level out, there are numerous effective ways to ‘fix’ it.

INSULIN:

This is the main fat storage hormone in an average human body. It basically instructs fat cells to store as much fat as they can and prevents fat from being broken down while you’re pushing your body on the outside to lose fat!  High insulin levels otherwise known as hyperinsulinemia causes obesity and metabolic syndrome by slowing down metabolism rate which means food eaten doesn’t digest properly. Insulin is mostly secreted in high amounts after meals and generally in little quantities throughout the day. It is only fair at this point to provide the reader with tips to level out the insulin level in the body as well as insulin sensitivity:

– Avoid carbohydrate-concentrated diets.

– Reduce intake of sugar.

– Load up on protein: Proteins can be tricksters, it raises insulin levels in the right amount in the short term while contributing to insulin resistance in the long term.

– Eat fats: Is that a frown I see? There are lots of healthy fats that should not be shied from. Especially ones that are sources of Omega-3 fatty acids commonly found in fishes like Salmon, Herring and Lake Trout which counter-act against the effects of Omega-6 fatty acids which contribute to weight gain. Omega-6 fatty acids are surplus in vegetable oil, especially soy oil. Fish oil, even if everyone is not cool with it is the best option to have in your diet to reduce weight.

– Exercise regularly: Studies show that overweight people who jogged or walked briskly had a significant improvement in insulin sensitivity over the next 3 months.

– Magnesium: One of the biggest adversaries to insulin resistance, obese people with insulin resistance tend to have magnesium deficiency as well. So, magnesium intake in meals is essential.

LEPTIN:

Also known as the ‘appetite-reducing’ hormone helps the body reduce intake of excess food by communicating with a part of the brain (hypothalamus) which regulates appetite. Ironically, even though high levels of leptin are found in obese/overweight people, they become resistant to it thereby confusing their brain to think they should consume more food for fuel they don’t need.  When Leptin sensitivity is low or impaired, the body thinks it is starving so you are compelled to eat. Leptin sensitivity can be increased and achieved if these quick tips are followed:

– Supplements: Studies show that diets that contain alpha-lipoic acid and fish oil contribute immensely to weight loss and decrease in leptin.

– Avoid inflammatory foods: Sugary drinks are the main sources of inflammatory foods in the body. They should be substituted with fatty fish.

– Sleep, sleep, sleep : Insufficient sleep leads to low levels of leptin in the body and increase in appetite subsequently.

– Exercise regularly and moderately.

ESTROGEN:

The most important female sex hormone, it is produced in the ovaries and helps in regulating the female reproductive system. Along with a number of factors including: action of other hormones, age and health conditions, high levels and low levels of estrogen can lead to weight gain. Estrogen enhances fat storage from puberty to facilitate fertility before menopause starts. After menopause, estrogen levels drop drastically too and this affects weight. Quick tips to control this essential hormone and make it an ally:

– Cruciferous vegetables.

– Exercises helps steady estrogen levels.

– Eating lots of fiber (Editor’s Note: 15-20g of Fibre per 1000Kcal of food you eat)

– Flax seeds despite the presence of phytoestrogens in them are beneficial to women trying to lose weight.

GLUCAGON-1:

This is a hormone produced when nutrients enter the intestines in your gut. It keeps you feeling full and also plays a key role in maintain a stable sugar level in the body. Studies have shown that men who were given Glucagon-like peptide-1 with the first meal of the day reported that they felt more satisfied and ended up eating over 12% less calories at lunch than they normally did. Women who had spinach and kale in their diets also reported higher GLP-1 levels and increased weight loss. For increased GLP-1 levels, the following tips are essential:

– Consumption of protein-rich foods

– Inflammatory foods should be sought after. Chronic inflammation can be linked to the production of Glucagon-1. There are options on the best dietary plans for weight loss for this hormone as well as others.

– As I’ve acknowledged before, leafy greens like spinach and kale boosts GLP-1 levels thereby aiding weight loss.

– A new option on the market is probiotic supplements which increases GLP-1 levels and leads to substantial reduction in food consumption.

CORTISOL :

The ‘stress’ hormone. It is cliché explaining how stress causes over-eating and weight gain. When stressed, the adrenal system secretes cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels lead to over-eating and weight gain. Women who put on eight in the middle part of their body tend to react to stress quicker, producing cortisol in excess. People who stick to a strict low-calorie diet have reportedly felt more stressed than people who have tried to lose weight with normal diets. Don’t try to lose weight by cutting your calorie levels drastically. Natural real foods should be what your balanced diet is based on.

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GHRELIN:

Commonly referred to as the ‘hunger’ hormone, is secreted in the stomach when hungry which triggers the hypothalamus to notify you that you’re hungry. In obese or overweight people, studies have shown that post-meal, ghrelin only decreases slightly hence the hypothalamus fails to read the ‘I should stop eating, I feel so full’ signal which can lead to overeating. To improve ghrelin function and sensitivity, consider the following:

– Always try to eat protein-rich meal especially during breakfast to promote satiety.

– Avoid sugar-sweetened drinks with meals as they mess up the ghrelin response connection with the brain.

NPY:

neuropeptide Y is a hormone produced by cells in the brain and the central nervous system. It is mostly secreted during periods of food deprivation, stress or fasting. It is an appetite stimulant. Levels of NPY are boosted when under stress which will likely lead to overeating and abdominal fat gain. It is recommended than you load up on protein contents as less protein-rich diets increases release of NPY which causes hunger and increased food consumption. Fasting should be periodic and it shouldn’t be for more than the duration of 24 hours. Feeding the friendly bacteria in your gut by eating soluble probiotic fiber is a great way to reduce NPY levels in the body.

I believe the ways talked about in this article will go a long way in aiding weight loss if stuck to and followed religiously. Weight loss can be achieved naturally with minimal effort, discipline and the best diets to consume in simple terms. Hormones are powerful tools to achieving the body you desire, so fixing the hormones that control weight and getting to know the ways you can do that is huge step in the right direction.

Editor’s Note: Fat loss and weight loss is almost entirely dependent upon how many calories are being burned vs how many calories are being consumed. That is it. There is no magic trick or special piece of advice that you are missing that is going to skyrocket your diet results, which only a few elite fitness guru’s know. However, having a knowledge of proper nutrition and training will help you make sure that you; a) feel better while dieting, b) preserve muscle while losing fat, c) Keep the weight off once you lose it and d) maintain healthy testosterone levels and sex drive. This is a fantastic article to take into consideration when eating on a caloric deficit and creating your meal plans. Bonus Note: At Menprovement, we strongly recommend you get a calorie tracking app/software such as MyNetDiary or MyFitnessPal in order to keep track of how many calories you are both burning and consuming to make sure that you achieve your weight loss goals swiftly and predictably. Thanks for reading!

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