So it’s that time of year again, when we decide to lose some weight for the New Year. Many of us start off well but by the end of January we are losing the will!
But it’s not just diet and exercise that affects your weight. Your hormones play a huge part, which is why it is so much harder to lose the weight as you get older.
Hormones control our metabolism, hunger, cravings, energy levels, motivation and the way we store or burn fat. No wonder we find it difficult!
Here are my top 5 hormones that influence your weight;
- Cortisol – our stress hormone. This is the one that stores fat around the belly area. The more stress in our lives, the more cortisol we produce and the more we hang on to fat and crave more sugar!
- Insulin – our ‘fat storing' hormone. It takes sugar out of the blood and into our cells to use as energy. But if we are eating too many carbs/sugar and don’t need all that energy, it gets stored as fat.
- Thyroid – our metabolism regulator. So if you have low thyroid (hypothyroid), your metabolism slows down and you can have fatigue, low mood, brain fog, thinning hair, dry skin, and of course you won’t be burning much fat.
- Ghrelin – one of our hunger hormones, telling the brain we need to eat. Think of it as your growling stomach. And there’s more of it around when we eat carbs rather than protein, and also when we don’t get enough sleep.
- Leptin – this is your friend for weight loss – it tells the brain that you’re full and you don’t need any more to eat. Unfortunately it loses its power the older you are and the more fat you have!
So how can you control these hormones so that they help you lose weight?
- Chill out – try deep belly breathing, yoga, meditation, walking in nature, Epsom Salts baths, relaxation Apps – whatever works for you. Just schedule something in every day. This can reset your cortisol and get that belly fat down.
- Balance your blood sugar – don’t skip meals, eat a good protein breakfast (eggs, whey protein shake, natural yoghurt), avoid high carb foods (bread, pasta, baked goods). Stay away from caffeine and alcohol – these are stimulants that can upset your blood sugar and raise insulin (and cortisol!).
- Get your thyroid tested – if you suspect you may have low thyroid, ask your Doctor for a full set of tests – TSH, fT4, fT3 and TPO antibodies. Or go see a qualified nutritionist who can get you tested privately.
- Get proper sleep – good quality sleep (7-8 hours a night) is so important for health and weight loss. Poor sleep has been proved to increase your appetite hormone ghrelin and when you’re tired you are least likely to choose healthy options. Check out my sleep tips here.
- Eat fat to lose fat – healthy fats (olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, oily fish, avocadoes, organic meat) help to fill you up so that you’re not reaching for a snack later. They are also essential for hormone production and have been proved to help with weight loss. So get some avocado on your new year shopping list! Check out some recipes here.
So now you know what your hormones are up to, you can get some control back and make them work in your favour.
If you need any help with any of this, click here for your FREE Hormone Balancing Guide.