There is a definite case to be made for the role of hormones in weight management. When our hormones are out of balance, we can experience weight gain and sluggishness that leads to less exercise. This reduction in our physical activity can compound the problem by resulting in more weight gain. Luckily, this is a fight you may be able to win by simply changing a few bad habits. Ultimately, learning how to balance your hormones can help you lose weight.
First Stop: Stress
Many people find that, when under stress, they eat more. While this propensity to over indulge could be the result of an emotional issue, it is more often a result of the hormone Cortisol. Cortisol is released by your body when you have the need for adrenaline; this is often referred to as, “fight or flight.” If you were in a physically dangerous position and needed extra energy to fight someone or flee from something, the release of some of your stored glucose as a result of Cortisol would give you the energy to punch or run. After a release of Cortisol, you find yourself hungry and exhausted.
In today’s society, stress most often comes from work or family situations and, while your body still releases the Cortisol to help you fight or flee- you don’t actually need it. Everyday stressful situations are not resolved my punching your boss in the face or running away from paperwork. So now, you have the exhaustion after the Cortisol is released and the hunger afterward- but no actual glucose burned from physical activity.
Next Stop: Metabolism
Your thyroid is a tricky beast. It is a small gland in your throat that produces two hormones (Thyroxine and Triiodothyronine) which work to increase your metabolism and help you burn more calories throughout the day. When the thyroid doesn’t work properly, your metabolism could slow and you could find yourself suddenly gaining a large amount of weight- even without making any changes to your diet. You’ll also feel sluggish, leaving no energy for exercise.
Last Stop: Insulin
Insulin is yet another hormone that can cause you to gain weight. When your pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, then the food your body breaks down into glucose gets stored as fat. Switching to a higher protein diet and cutting out simple carbohydrates while adding exercise to your daily routine can help you win this battle.
Understanding your body’s relationship with hormones can help you lose weight in a safe way and can impact your health in other positive ways.