Hey friends! I just want to thank my friend and holistic nutritionist, Christa Cheverie for writing this wonderful post to help shed some light (and hope!) on the mystery of HORMONES, in particular with regards to weight loss! I'm loving this post for all kinds of reasons, including the fact that it something so many of us struggle with at certain points in our lives. No matter where you are in your life, there is a good chance there is some info here that can help you live a more harmonious existence...
So without further adieu :)
So without further adieu :)
Are You Living In Hormonal Harmony?
Does a day go by that we don’t hear or read something about hormones?
Can’t sleep? That’s your hormones.
Weight increasing? ‘Do you think it’s your hormones?’
Can’t poop? Uh huh…hormones.
PMS? Oh yes, that is definitely your hormones!
As women, our lives are riddled with hormonal fluctuations whether it is our monthly visitor, pregnancy, or ‘the change’. We will all experience hormonal changes through out our lives.
Our hormones even fluctuate on a daily basis. Have you ever had a craving so bad it was like an out of body experience? Your mind screams, ‘NO! Don’t do it! Don’t go in there!’ But your body says, ‘Screw you lady’ and walks into the convenience store anyway, buys the peanut butter cups, and devours them….please don’t tell me I’m alone!
So, what exactly are hormones, anyway?
Hormones are simply chemical messengers that regulate key functions in the body. They are produced by the endocrine system and they regulate everything from growth and metabolism to mood and personality to our resistance of disease.
If you want ice cream, fall asleep early, or just need to dance, that’s your hormones. If you feel happy, sad, hungry, or randy? That’s your hormones too!
Anything you feel, desire, or do originates with hormones.
There is an orchestra playing in your body
Imagine, for a moment, an orchestra. All of the instruments are playing together in harmony and it sounds beautiful. Then one of the strings breaks on a cello. At first, everything sounds ok, but pretty quickly all of the other instruments are also pulled out of tune.
The same is true for your hormones. They work so closely with one another that if one is pulled out of balance, it doesn’t take long for the rest of them to follow.
The short answer: EVERYTHING!
It is your hormones that tell your brain when you are hungry and when you are full. They tell your body what to do with the food you are taking in. Should it be burned as fuel or stored as fat? They also tell your body where to store the fat. Does it go in a ring around your abdomen or straight to your hips? (Read more about abdominal fat at christacheverie.com). When we exercise, it is hormones that tell us how the energy should be spent.
Hormones control all aspects of how we gain and lose weight
First, we have the thyroid, a gland found in the neck, which uses two key hormones to control our body’s metabolic rate.
Then we have The Big Four.
Insulin (AKA the fat storage hormone) takes glucose or sugar out of the bloodstream and to the working muscles and brain for fuel. Once the muscles and brain are full, insulin signals the body to store the rest as fat.
Cortisol (aka the stress hormone) is released in response to perceived physical or emotional stress. When we have a long-standing stressor in our lives such as a bad relationship, caring for a sick loved one, or a bad work environment, the hormone stays in our blood stream. This reduces thyroid function (read metabolism), causes blood sugar imbalances, and signals fat to be stored, right around your middle…how rude!
Ghrelin is a hormone released by the stomach lining before meals to stimulate hunger and is suppose to shut off after meals.
Leptin controls feelings of hunger and being full. If your body becomes leptin resistant, you don’t feel full and keep eating. As you can imagine, this is a serious problem for weight loss!
It basically looks like this….
If our hormones are out of whack, we become insulin resistant which is going to store our energy as fat, cortisol will reduce our metabolism and make sure that stored fat hits our mid sections, ghrelin keeps telling us that we are hungry, and leptin resistance will make it impossible for us to feel full.
Sounds pretty daunting right? Let’s talk about how to get your orchestra back in balance.
How To Balance Your Hormones
Eat breakfast within 30-60 mins of waking up – keeps your blood sugar balanced and reduces cravings through out the day.
Always have a high protein (20g+) breakfast – reduces the hunger stimulating hormone ghrelin and studies show that has an affect on how much you eat later in the day.
Consume good quality fats such as avocado, nuts and seeds, ghee, organic butter, coconut oil, and eggs. Reduce highly processed, inflammatory, vegetable oils like canola, vegetable, soy, peanut, and margarine.
Have between 30-60g of fiber per day. Fiber enhances blood sugar control and promotes regularity allowing the body to excrete extra estrogen and toxins
Remove processed carbs such as baked goods, breads, crackers, packaged goods, chips etc to keep your blood sugar balanced
Exercise lightly. Intense extended cardio exercise (more than 40 mins) creates stress in your body and signals the release of cortisol which is going to store fat...ON YOUR BELLY!
Do deep belly breathing to reduce stress – In through your nose and all the way down to your belly for a count of 4, hold for 1, and then out for a count of 6.
Follow these tips and your orchestra will sound beautiful again in no time!
By Christa Cheverie CNP