When looking to improve strength, energy and weight loss you want to make sure these 7 hormones are working with you, not against you. Having underlying hormone imbalances will make it more challenging than it needs to be to achieve the lean body that you want. If you have been eating clean and exercising but not seeing the expected results chances are these 7 hormones needs to be investigated.
Which hormones affect your weight most?
- Human Growth Hormone: As we age HGH will decline and is associated with low testosterone (both men and women need testosterone), brittle bones, and faster aging. On the other hand having adequate HGH levels tends to be associated with vitality, more energy, more muscle and better sex drive. Females should not worry about getting “big and bulky.” In fact, having more lean muscle means you will burn more calories even at rest!
2. Insulin: If you are the type to craze on foods all day or have a high carbohydrate diet, chances are your insulin levels are high. Elevated insulin has negative consequences such as inflammation and increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, making weight loss difficult. Insulin also impacts sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone. If insulin is high it stimulates estrogen and lowers progesterone as well as blocks the progesterone receptors. This can manifest as Infertility, PCOS, endometriosis, resistant weight loss, PMS, and other hormone health conditions.
3. Thyroid Hormone: Hypothyroidism is not as uncommon as you may think. In fact, if you have been restricting calories and carbohydrates for years, you may be experiencing the symptoms of hypothyroidism. These symptoms include weight gain, difficulty losing weight, fatigue, joint/muscle pain, and mild depression. If this sounds like you, then your thyroid may be underactive and throwing off your weight loss efforts.
4. Cortisol: Cortisol is your stress hormone. When you are stressed, your body releases cortisol and catecholamines. Your body cannot tell the difference between stress from work or kids or a real life and death situation. Over time elevated cortisol will cause you to store fat around your midsection. It will also increase your appetite and cravings for sugary, fatty foods.
5. Ghrelin: aka the “hunger hormone,” When imbalanced, ghrelin can have you reaching for unhealthy snacks regularly. When you don’t get enough sleep, your ghrelin levels will increase and you will feel hungrier all day.
6. adiponectin: Adiponectin is less talked about but essentially this hormone reduces inflammation and burns fat (how awesome is that!) Adiponectin is produced and released from our fat cells and helps us burn fat by improving insulin sensitivity. How can I boost this hormone you ask? By consuming adequate protein, the right types of healthy fats, and doing strength training exercise.
7. Androgens: Hormones that fall into this category are testosterone, DHEA, and androsterone. While often thought of as male hormones, these are also important to women’s health. DHEA is a precursor to estrogen and testosterone and has an extensive benefit list. It is known to support the immune system, sleep, muscle growth, fat loss, and counteract the negative effects of cortisol. It also is known for anti-aging effects, libido and enhancing motivation. To boost DHEA without supplementing try meditation, exercise, have orgasms, sleep, and manage your stress. There are supplement options available but caution as taking too much can trigger hair loss, anger, acne, facial hair and deepening voice in women.
DHEA is a precursor to estrogen and testosterone and has an extensive benefit list. It is known to support the immune system, sleep, muscle growth, fat loss, and counteract the negative effects of cortisol. It also is known for anti-aging effects, libido and enhancing motivation. To boost DHEA without supplementing try meditation, exercise, have orgasms, sleep, and manage your stress. There are supplement options available but caution as taking too much can trigger hair loss, anger, acne, facial hair and deepening voice in women.
Testosterone is produced by the ovaries in women as well as the adrenal glands. When your body is under more stress (mental-emotional, underlying gut infections or food sensitivities, over exercising etc), it will produce cortisol at the expense of testosterone as well as other sex hormones. Low testosterone in males and females has been associated with low mood, low motivation, weight gain, osteoporosis and heart disease.
What are the signs of an underlying hormone imbalance?
The biggest sign of underlying hormone imbalances is when clients tell me they have been eating “clean” and exercising but are not seeing the results they expect. Other signs would other associated conditions such as acne, PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, mood changes, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome or holding more weight in certain areas like the abdomen or upper thighs. For a more detailed look at common signs of estrogen dominance, and low progesterone download my FREE hormone balancing guide. Click here.
What to do next?
Sleep, resistance training exercise, carb cycling, and intermittent fasting all have evidence to support their role in producing healthy hormone levels. In addition, eating enough of the right foods will help your hormonal output in a big way. Many women are actually not eating enough and this can negatively affect your long-term weight loss efforts. If you are concerned, or suspicious of a hormone imbalance, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider to do some testing such as the DUTCH test.