06 Aug NATURAL WAYS TO BALANCE HORMONES FOR WEIGHT MANAGEMENT
People struggling to lose weight are often under the impression that it is due to their lack of self-control or failure to stick to a diet or exercise plan. However, studies are increasingly showing that weight management can be a function of hormonal balance, with people with optimal levels of estrogen, thyroid, testosterone, insulin and cortisol being more likely to lose weight and keep it off. (1) Doctors and weight loss experts are finding that people who have trouble keeping weight off are often also battling hormonal imbalance, and realizing that strategies that tackle this problem are also highly effective in helping with weight management. Below are five ways hormonal imbalances affects your weight, and the natural strategies you can incorporate into your lifestyle:
Estrogen dominance (3)
Estrogen is a hormone that is responsible for the development of female characteristics (2) such as the development of breasts and the regulation of the menstrual cycle. Estrogen is found in both men and women and serves the function of keeping cholesterol levels in check, regulating mood and keeping bones strong and healthy. However, estrogen dominance or an imbalance in estrogen levels can lead to a slower metabolism, increased storage of fat deposits, enlarged breasts in men and even infertility. People with an estrogen imbalance will then find that they have a hard time losing weight, especially from their hips, waist, and thighs.
Natural remedies: To counter the effects of estrogen dominance and promote a healthy weight, consider putting the following natural strategies in place:
- Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables in a variety of colors (Eat the Rainbow)
- Reduce intake of red meat.
- Remove processed and refined foods as much as possible
- Limit alcohol consumption.
Insulin is the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels in the body and determining if extra sugar will be stored as fat or used as fuel. However, an imbalance of this hormone can lead to a condition known as insulin resistance, which causes the production of abnormally high levels of insulin and leads to extra sugars being stored as fat.
Natural remedies: (4) There are several ways to reduce the effects of insulin resistance. These include:
- Eliminating refined sugars and processed carbohydrates from your body.
- Increasing your intake of good quality lean protein.
- Follow a low GI diet.
- Eat healthy fats such as avocado, nuts/seeds, or coconut oil.
- Get a good night sleep.
- Don’t forget to consume your daily water intake
- Follow the “Complete Rule of 3” at meal times ( a healthy fat, protein, and fiber).
3. Thyroid imbalance
An overactive or underactive thyroid can lead to weight gain, low mood, fatigue, and lethargy. Thyroid imbalances have a variety of causes including exposure to excessive levels of iodine, removal of the thyroid, stress, autoimmune diseases and certain types of medication.
To balance your thyroid levels, consider using the following strategies: (5)
- Eat a diet rich in plant-based proteins and lean, grass-fed meats.
- Increase your intake of foods that contain essential fatty acids (omega 3’s)
- Consider a selenium supplement or consume selenium based foods (i.e. brazil nuts)
- Avoid soy products.
- Follow a natural stress management program. For some easy stress management strategies check out the article here.
Leptin resistance is one of the leading causes of weight gain. It is a hormone that acts by sending messages to your hypothalamus, informing it that your stomach is full. (6) . it regulates the amount of food that is used up as fuel and determines what will be stored as fat. It is produced by the fat cells. However, something can go wrong with the way Leptin sends messages to the brain, causing it to think that we need to continue eating even when we are very full. This is especially the case in obese people who have a lot of fat cells. The result is that we tend to eat more and store more of what we eat.
To counter the effects of Leptin, apply the following highly effective natural strategies:
- Avoid processed and refined foods.
- Reduce your simple carbohydrate intake.
- Move your body every day. Even a simple walk can have beneficial effects
- Get a good night’s sleep
Hormonal imbalances can wreak havoc on your weight management efforts. However, by following a few simple, natural and effective strategies, you should be able to bring your hormones to optimal levels and enjoy the benefits in term of weight loss and improved general health overall.