You’re overweight because you have no self-control!
Any woman will tell you how frustrating it is while beginning an exercise program with a male partner or spouse, when he begins to lose weight easily, but she struggles, even when she’s doing everything right. Maybe she’s been told that she’s overweight because she has no self-control. She may even begin to believe it. Nothing could be further from the truth!
It’s no secret that women and men lose weight differently and carry different amounts of fat on our bodies. Women are made to have more fat around the abdomen and hips to nourish life through childbearing. It’s not always a question of eating less and exercising more. Our hormones are a significant cause of problems with losing weight.
Here are some common hormonal issues you may be struggling with:
- Elevated Cortisol-cortisol is a stress hormone, and if you are struggling with hard-to-lose belly fat, this is likely the culprit. Cortisol is the result of high stress, and this is a huge problem in society today. It also affects other hormones such as estrogen, thyroid hormones and testosterone. Cortisol is also responsible for stress eating, sugar cravings and poor sleep. The most effective ways to manage an elevated cortisol level is by managing stress. Some simple ways to do this are yoga, meditation, adequate sleep, frequent breaks and downtime.
- Low Thyroid hormones-lower levels of thyroid hormone causes a sluggish metabolism. Stress and high cortisol can slow down your thyroid, but other causes of low thyroid and slow metabolism include endocrine disruptors found in the environment, Vitamin D deficiency and gluten sensitivity. Symptoms of low thyroid include weight gain, fatigue, brain fog, and depression. Usually, you can manage these hormone levels by controlling your exposure to toxic components found in canned foods, plastic water bottles, flame retardants, mattresses, children’s pajamas. Adding a vitamin D supplement and oral probiotic will help improve your resistance to these toxins. Try a run of eliminating gluten from your diet for a couple of weeks and if you notice improvement in weight loss and energy levels, gluten may have been a significant problem.
- Insulin Resistance-insulin is responsible for storing fat, and when there’s excess insulin in your system, you’ll store more so it can be used, mainly in the belly. When we consume too many simple carbohydrates (sugars), our bodies have to rapidly produce large amounts of insulin. Over time, our cells can no longer keep up and become ‘resistant’. Build a diet that consists primarily of lean meats and other proteins, high-fiber grains, vegetables and legumes, leafy greens, and fruit to help balance insulin levels. If you’re already insulin resistant, always eating breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks.
- Manage carbs: each meal should have no more than 15 grams of carbohydrates in the form of vegetables and fruits (eliminating “white” food such as bread, pasta, and sugar) and some lean protein.
- Get healthy fats, or those rich in essential fatty acids (EFAs), avocados, cold-water fish like salmon and tuna, flax seed, and eggs.
- Get regular exercise of 30 minutes or more per day, 3–5 times a week to help regulate metabolic function and support hormonal balance.
- Decrease stress to help shrink the strain on the adrenal glands and keep your insulin levels in check.
Finally, quit smoking, moderate alcohol intake, and get enough sleep to help with any blood chemistry surges.
- Low estrogen-decreased amounts of estrogen cause increased appetite. Increase your estrogen with regular exercise with higher intensity using weights, orgasm, flax seeds and magnesium.
- Low testosterone-slows your metabolism and makes you more resistant to weight training. Increase it by eliminating sugar and alcohol. I often find that women who want to lose weight make radical vows to give up everything, exercise maniacally… except their glass or two of wine each night. Do you want to lose weight or do you want to numb out with alcohol?
By balancing these hormones, you’ll notice some weight loss. In addition, weight loss can also help balance these hormones. Because belly fat has a much higher concentration of estrogen; drop 5 pounds and you’ll see your estrogen levels swing into that sweet spot of not too high and not too low. Give up alcohol, and it lowers cortisol, raises testosterone, and balances estrogen.
Thank you for reading my blog about hormones and weight loss! If you’ve found some value in this, please share.
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