If you’re struggling to get rid of stubborn body fat, you may have a hormonal imbalance. Hormones are critical messengers in the body. When you have a lack of balance, it can cause belly fat to accumulate. Unfortunately, with the fast-paced modern lifestyle, hormonal issues are becoming increasingly common. It’s not unheard of for men and women to have thyroid problems or insulin sensitivities (both connected to hormones).
Plus, certain hormones decrease naturally with age, and for a variety of reasons, some people experience a more substantial dip than others. Even if you don't have a thyroid issue or insulin concerns, a hormonal imbalance can add unwanted pounds.
This article shows you how to balance hormones to lose weight and feel great naturally.
The connection between hormones and sugar is clear. When you overeat sugar and refined carbs, it not only impairs hormonal function but increases the chances of diabetes, obesity, and other diseases.
When you eat sugar, it causes a spike in insulin. The amount of the peak depends on where the sugar comes from in your diet. Added sugar in processed foods causes more significant spikes, but even fruits and vegetables have some natural sugar in them. The more processed sugar you consume, the more insulin flushed into the bloodstream. If you have a continuous flux of insulin, you may become insulin resistant.
Sugar messes with hormone function by stressing the adrenal glands, which produce essential hormones, such as cortisol (stress hormone) and aldosterone (regulates blood pressure. Refined sugar also wreaks havoc with the thyroid, responsible for cognitive function, maintaining metabolism, and body temperature. It also causes a depletion in vitamin B.
You can lower your refined sugar intake by limiting processed foods and sticking to a diet high in whole grains, fiber, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Stress causes hormonal disruption. The more stress you have, the higher amounts of cortisol and adrenaline your body produces. While both can be life-saving hormones when you’re in danger, they can lead to overeating and obesity. In fact, studies show that stress adds belly fat.
People lead stressful lives for many different reasons. In a Gallup News Poll, 79% of adults feel stress sometimes or quite often during the day. Chronic stress wreaks havoc with hormones. To combat stress, many men and women engage in meditation, practice yoga, and listen to relaxing music. If possible, mitigate the source of the stress. Your hormones will thank you.
Engaging in regular physical exercise improves hormonal imbalances. The biggest reason is exercise helps diminish insulin levels and improve insulin resistance. One purpose of insulin is providing cells access to amino acids and sugars circulating.
Some sugar is good for the body and provides much-needed energy and sustaining muscle. However, accomplishing this task doesn't take a lot of insulin, and if you have too much, it causes serious issues. Exercise also renews levels of other vital hormones that decline due to age, such as human growth hormone (HGH), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and testosterone.
While vigorous aerobic activity is beneficial in balancing hormonal health, low-impact activities like yoga and walking can be equally effective, too. You can start with 20-30 minutes per day to see results.
Eating protein has some profound effects on hormones. Research shows that consuming at least 20-30 grams of protein each meal reduces the hunger hormone ghrelin. It also produces PYY and GLP-1. Both hormones give you the sensation of being full. In one study, the participants had 25% less hungry ratings than those who didn’t eat a high-protein meal.
For each meal, choose foods high in protein, including:
By choosing foods high in protein and lower in saturated fat, you’ll be on your way to balancing your hormones and slimming down.
Estrogen is an important sex hormone produced in the ovaries and lesser amounts in the adrenal glands. While it's known as a female hormone, men produce small quantities, too. Estrogen is essential for the regulation of a woman's menstrual cycle and fertility. It helps maintain a healthy pregnancy.
As part of a normal woman’s life, she makes the transition from fertile to infertile. When this happens, she’s going through menopause. Many things change during this time, but one of them is a woman’s hormones become out of sync. One of those hormones is estrogen. It’s common for women to have high levels of estrogen when experiencing menopausal symptoms.
When you have high levels of estrogen, it changes how a woman stores fat. It turns the fat storage from the hips and thighs to the belly, which produces insulin resistance. Menopausal and obese women have excess estrogen. You can lower estrogen through exercise, diet, and hormone replacement therapy.
Testosterone is the male sex hormone produced in the testes. Even though testosterone is a male hormone, women produce small amounts as well. It's responsible for building muscle, promoting masculine features (deeper voice, facial hair), and stronger bones. The levels of testosterone naturally reduce as men age.
Some evidence shows that testosterone deficiency promotes weight gain. Testosterone builds muscle mass, and the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. Muscle deficiency is one of the main reasons for weight gain in men. Some research also shows that obesity leads to lower testosterone levels. It's a little like what comes first, the egg or the chicken.
Increasing testosterone levels may be as simple as increasing muscle mass through exercise, diet, or supplementation. Testosterone creams help balance hormones naturally, too.
Hormones are critical for optimal health. They affect almost every part of our bodies, from fertility to metabolism. When you have an imbalance, it can lead to low energy, diabetes, and obesity. However, balancing hormones through healthier lifestyle choices is within our control.