Hormones and Weight Loss — What Every Woman Needs to Know

So what is the relationship between hormones and weight loss? We look at the 5 hormones that can influence female weight problems and make it hard for them to lose weight.

Hormones and Weight Loss

Hormones and Weight Loss

Many women find they put on weight around the time of their period. Sometimes the amount of weight gain can be as high as five pounds.

The menopause can cause women to suddenly start gaining weight as well. Even women who have never had a problem remaining slim.

The problem areas of weight gain are around the stomach, the arms and can even show in the face.

The reason women gain weight during their periods is the same as the one that causes them to do so during menopause. It all comes down to a matter of hormones.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. We don’t have to let hormones rule or lives.

Although that’s exactly what they do on a biological level, there are steps we can take to prevent our hormones from stealing our curves and making us fat.

There are some women only diet supplements on that address these very issues

Getting Past the Weight Loss Enigma

When it comes to the subject of losing weight and keeping it off, people tend to forget women are different from men. When men want to lose weight, they don’t have so many hormonal issues holding them back.

Discussions and advice about weight loss normally focus on diet and exercise. There’s nothing wrong with that. Getting your diet right is the first step to weight loss success and exercise always helps.

The problem is, it’s all too easy to overlook the hormonal issues that can play such a big part in keeping women fat.

Our bodies produce more than 50 different types of hormone. Some of them have the task of regulating appetite and metabolism. Both of which play a role in weight gain and weight loss.

Nevertheless, don’t make the mistake of going too far the other way and blaming everything on your hormones. That’s as pointless as saying you’re just big-boned.

Regardless of the various hormonal issues women can face, it’s still important to take a responsible attitude and start making healthy lifestyle choices.

Five Hormones That Can Influence Female Weight Loss

1. Insulin

Insulin is an important hormone. Among other things, it helps us to process the sugars we get from our food. It also helps us to put them to use.

When we eat carbohydrates, it causes our blood sugar level to rise.

Simple carbs, like white bread, pasta, and table sugar push blood sugar levels up faster than the complex carbs we get from vegetables, whole-grains, and certain fruits.

It is important to understand the truth about carbohydrates.

Some people are insulin deficient. This causes a chronic problem. It’s called diabetes. When you are diabetic your body is unable to convert the sugar in your blood into energy.

Contrastingly, diabetics can also become insulin-resistant. When this happens, the body is not only left with a sugar build-up, it may have too much insulin as well.

Both scenarios can cause a lot of problems. One of them is weight gain and you don’t have to be diabetic to become insulin resistant.

Steps You Can Take to Improve Insulin Sensitivity

Fortunately, there are ways you can increase your insulin sensitivity. A simple lifestyle change may be enough to do the trick. All you need to do is switch to a low-carb diet. Try going keto if you want, but there is no need to be quite that extreme.

Low-carb diets are pretty trendy at the moment. Lots of women are doing them because lowering your carb intake can be a good way of losing weight.

If you like the idea of eating a low-carb diet and are unsure about the best way to proceed, your doctor should be able to provide you with invaluable advice. If you have one, your nutritionist could help too.

Certain supplement ingredients can help control insulin too. Chromium is one of them.

Green coffee bean is another. However, if you are already diabetic or think you may be becoming so, you should avoid using such options without your doctor’s say so.

Leptin and Ghrelin
Leptin and Ghrelin before and after eating

2. Leptin

Leptin is your body’s in-built hunger suppressant. It has the important task of sending your brain the signal that says it’s time to stop eating.

Unfortunately, things can sometimes go wrong. When leptin is low, your brain may not get the message. That makes it easier to eat too much and gain weight.

Research shows many obese people are low in leptin while others are leptin resistant.

Science has yet to determine why these things are so but the problem may be genetic.

Inflammation might be a contributing factor as well. This may be caused by poor diet, not enough sleep, stress, lack of exercise, or many other lifestyle factors.

Loving Your Leptin: What You Can Do

There are a few things you can do to try and keep your leptin level is where it needs to be.

Removing the threats that may disrupt your leptin level is a good first step. The good thing is, adopting a healthier lifestyle will take you a lot of the way.

Avoid processed foods and ones that are high in sugar and fat. Processed foods can contribute to stubborn stomach fat. This will lower the risk of inflammation.  Getting more sleep will help too. As will learning to avoid stressful situations.

If you can’t avoid stress find new ways to deal with it such as taking up yoga or meditation.

Getting more exercise may also be beneficial for your leptin level. There’s also a lot to be said for eating more Omega-3. It may improve leptin levels by supporting a healthy inflammatory response.

Mackerel, walnuts, and chia seeds are a few good sources of Omega-3 and there are plenty more. It’s also possible to buy Omega-3 in supplement form.

It’s not just about preventing inflammation though, Omega-3 can benefit your health in many different ways. (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-health-benefits-of-omega-3)

3. Ghrelin

Ghrelin could be seen as being the nemesis of leptin. Instead of reducing hunger, it increases it.

When the stomach is empty, ghrelin increases, sending a message to the brain that lets it know it’s time to eat. The brain responds and feelings of hunger kick-in.

Research suggests a relationship between ghrelin and sleep. Levels rise when we are asleep. So if you are prone to waking up hungry, you now know the reason why.

How You Can Get to Grips with Ghrelin

The ways to control ghrelin before it can control you are similar to the methods that work for leptin. It’s all about improving your lifestyle habits.

If you start getting more active, eat sensible amounts of healthy food, and get some good quality sleep, you will find yourself well on your way.

True you may find that you still wake up hungry, but don’t sweat it. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Have a bowl of oatmeal or a couple of slices of toast made with wholemeal bread. Keep it healthy though. Skip honey or jelly and go for guacamole on toast instead.

It’s also good to avoid high-fructose corn syrup. Give sugar-sweetened soft drinks a wide berth too. They can interfere with ghrelin response after you’ve eaten your meals.

Eating more quality protein, like lean steak or skinless chicken breast is another good way to keep your ghrelin levels in check.

Cortisol is a stress hormone
Cortisol is a stress hormone

4. Cortisol

Cortisol is a stress hormone you make in your adrenal glands. When stress levels go up, cortisol levels rise accordingly.

Many things can send your cortisol levels through the roof. The stress from work or difficult relationships are just two of the things that can do it. The stress that results from physical injuries can do it too.

The hormones in our bodies react with each other in different ways and cortisol influences insulin. When you are under stress, for any reason at all, cortisol levels go up and cause your insulin levels to do the same.

The presence of extra insulin in the blood causes blood sugar levels to drop. Your body responds to this by hitting you with cravings for sugar, carbs, and other high-calorie foods. The ideal solution would be to concentrate on low calorie foods.

High cortisol is not just bad for your waistline. It’s also detrimental for your overall physical well-being.

Apart from pushing up your blood pressure, long-term elevations of this important hormone can interfere with your immune response.

In addition to all these things, high cortisol levels can disrupt the way other hormones work, leading to further risks of weight gain and ill health.

Keeping Your Cortisol In Check

By the time you’ve read about hormones and weight loss far, you probably won’t be surprised to learn having a healthy lifestyle is one of the best ways to keep cortisol levels in check.

Apart from getting plenty of exercise and eating right, other things you can do are meditation and yoga.

Regular massage sessions can be a big help too. If you are in a loving relationship, your partner may be only too keen to lend a helping hand. A pre work out supplement could also be beneficial.

5. Estrogen

Estrogen is the female sex hormone. It the hormone that helps make a woman a woman. In early life, estrogen aids the formation of the female reproductive system.  It’s also responsible for the development of female characteristics.

Despite the fact that we usually refer to estrogen in the singular, it’s actually a group of hormones. There are six of them in total.

During menstruation, estrogen cultivates an environment that is receptive to fertilization and nourishing an early embryo. That’s why estrogen levels fluctuate so much at this time.

Estrogen serves many other roles in the body as well. One of the things it does is help provide strong bones. It also benefits the liver and heart.

Unfortunately, when estrogen levels get out of control, as they are apt to do, it causes women to gain weight. (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/277177.php)

Hormones and Weight Loss – Regulating Estrogen: What You Can Do

One of the things you can do to help control estrogen is to stop using birth control pills and choose an alternative means of contraception instead.

If you are no longer of childbearing age, your doctor may suggest hormone replacement therapy.

Regardless of your age, losing weight can also help because being overweight or obese can cause your estrogen level to spike, making weight gain a self-feeding problem.

Needless to say, making healthy food options and getting plenty of exercise can also be a big plus.

About Eloise Bel

Eloise Bel (Certified Holistic Nutritionist & B.A. in Communications) Eloise is an experienced journalist with a strong grounding in holistic nutrition. She has an in-depth knowledge of the supplement industry and has been specializing in the weight loss sector since 2008. LinkedIn

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