5 Hormones Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Goals and How to Tame Them
Women going through menopause, usually around the age of 45, often experience more than just hot flashes and night sweats. Many also find it increasingly difficult to lose weight, which can be frustrating and confusing. Several hormones can be responsible for sabotaging your weight loss goals during this time. Here are the top five pesky hormones that you need to tame to lose weight effectively.
1. Oestrogen (AKA The Temptation Hormone)
Low oestrogen levels are a leading cause of weight gain in women aged 45 and over. Oestrogen is produced in the ovaries, but it is also produced in your body’s fat stores. This can perpetuate a vicious cycle where the more oestrogen-deficient you are, the more fat your body stores, as oestrogen stimulates fat cells to store fat.
To tame high fat stores for oestrogen production, consume foods that contain fibre. Fibre helps to eliminate used oestrogen through the bowels, binding to oestrogen and moving it through your bowels to be eliminated. Drinking green smoothies with fibre-rich fruits and vegetables can be an excellent way to boost fibre intake.
2. Cortisol (AKA The Hangry Hormone)
Increased levels of cortisol in the body can result from high levels of stress. Cortisol is known to increase appetite, and some people may the find themselves eating more frequently thanks to increased stress levels. Chronic high stress levels can prevent weight loss, or even add a pound or two.
Cortisol also increases insulin levels, leading to low blood sugar and increased hunger. Thus, to tame this “hangry” hormone, it’s essential to decrease your stress levels. Find ways to relax or get active, as appropriate for your lifestyle.
3. Leptin (AKA The Satiety Hormone)
Leptin is primarily produced by the body’s fat cells and is supposed to signal to the brain that we have enough fat stored. However, something seems to have malfunctioned in the mechanism that prevents overeating, leaving us feeling rarely satisfied after a meal. High levels of leptin should communicate that we have plenty of fat stored, while low levels of leptin indicate that we are at risk of starvation.
Reducing diet-induced inflammation is key to reversing leptin resistance. Green smoothies with a higher ratio of green vegetables to fruit contain the right lean and “green” quality proteins. You can add two teaspoons of hemp powder or nut butter to these smoothies to increase their protein content, which can help to tame any leptin resistance you may be experiencing.
4. Ghrelin (AKA The Craving Hormone)
Ghrelin is responsible for telling you when you’re hungry and when you need to eat something. It is supposed to switch off once you start eating, but it can malfunction, leading to increased hunger and decreased satiety. Ghrelin is secreted primarily in the lining of the stomach.
To tame this “craving” hormone, it’s important to stay hydrated. Water can help control hunger, so the next time you feel hungry, drink a glass of water first, and you may find your hunger pains abating.
5. Testosterone (AKA The Mojo Hormone)
The decline in testosterone levels in women is solely age-related, not menopause-related, and can begin years before perimenopause. With low testosterone levels, your muscles may atrophy, leading to a sluggish metabolism and weight gain.
To tame this “mojo” hormone, include resistance training in your workout regimen. Resistance training can help to build muscle mass which requires more energy to maintain, leading to a faster metabolism and increased fat loss.
Menopause and the hormonal changes that come with it can be challenging for women trying to lose weight. However, understanding how these hormones work and taking steps to balance them can make a big difference. Including fibre-rich foods and green smoothies in your diet, reducing stress levels, staying hydrated, and including resistance training in your exercise regimen can all help to manage these hormones and make weight loss achievable.