5 Ways to Control Your Weight-Loss Hormones
Struggling with hormones isn’t uncommon. But for many people, hormones are not the first culprit that comes to mind when they are wondering how to deal with weight loss. Yet, your hormones have more power then you realize. With the proper steps, taking control of your hormones can be possible and might just be the needed step towards finally reaching your weight loss goals. So what can you do?
Skipping breakfast seems like a good idea if you’re trying to lose weight, but it might be more damaging than you think. Having a filling, well rounded breakfast to start your day helps to control your blood cortisol levels. These hormones are one of the control panel operators for your food cravings and your appetite. They can help you to feel full during the day and be less likely to reach for a midday snack. Studies have actually shown that in a trials comparing breakfast eaters to non-breakfast eaters, there is a 50% more weight loss by those who took time to eat breakfast in the morning over those who simply skipped it. Maybe mom was right when she told you that breakfast was the most important meal of the day!
How to do it: If you have trouble finding time for breakfast in the morning, make it the night before. Smoothies can be prepped, eggs can be hard boiled, yogurt is good on the go – there are lots of options that are fast and easy to incorporate every morning.
Remember that cortisol level we mentioned above? Well it’s back again, this time with stress. We all lead stressful lives, but the more stress we pile on, the more we trigger that “fight or flight” emotion within us. That emotion is good because it helps us survive. Except with your hectic schedule, your body doesn’t have time to calm itself back down. Stress also releases hormones, including cortisol. As the cortisol increases, so does your appetite. That’s why when you’re stressed you tend to want to binge on that tub of ice cream calling to you from the freezer. Instead of allowing stress to mess with your hormones, take time to slow down. A great way is to make deep breathing a daily habit. Taking a few minutes each day to reset and destress will not only give you some much needed calm in your life, but it also might just be a big help with your weight loss hormones.
How to do it: Pick a time that works and set aside maybe 5 or 10 minutes that you can take for yourself. Sit in a quiet spot and quiet your mind and focus on your breathing as you count your breath in and count your breath out. Don’t worry if your mind wanders, just bring it back. If you find this too difficult at first, there are lots of great free apps to use that can guide you through a few minutes of meditation.
Have you ever been at that point where you’ve started a workout exercise and actually stuck to it, only to find yourself hitting what seems like a plateau? That isn’t unusual and happens to most of us. The answer might be strength training. Strength training has the added benefit of continuing to combat fat even after the exercise is finished. Not only is it combating fat, but also releasing hormones. Some of the hormones released actually fight against hormones that store fat. Adding strength training to your routine is like adding a whole army of fat fighting hormones to help in your weight loss.
How to do it: Set aside a couple days a week, maybe Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and focus on spending a few minutes targeting different muscles. Maybe you focus on your arms one day and your legs another day. You can pick up some light, inexpensive weights to use at your local store or use what you have around your house (as long as both “weights” are even). Take time to really feel each muscles as you preform the moves. As you get stronger, increase the weight and the number of times you perform the move.
Cut out the Caffeine and Alcohol
Are you a coffee addict or like a few extra drinks after work? Well, those beverages might be causing more damage than you thought. Caffeine could be another culprit in your rising cortisol levels, which we’ve learned increases your sense of stress and is linked to weight gain. Be aware of how much caffeine you are taking into your body throughout the day. Caffeine not only can cause undo stress, but it also can rewire the brain in how it controls your hormones, which is exactly what you want to avoid. Alcohol is another hormone affecting culprit. You rely on your body to release hormones at the right time to help you regulate everything in your body, including weight loss. But alcohol can cause damage to the areas that release those hormones so that your body can’t function properly. A better option is to limit the amount of alcohol that you are consuming. Choose healthier options to drink, like an occasional glass of red wine with dinner. Simple changes like these can have a big impact on the hormones that affect your weight loss.
How to do it: Be aware of what you eat and drink. You may not even know how many cups of coffee you sip a day or how many drinks you enjoy at the bar. Try keeping track of your day to day intake. Then begin to cut back. Reduce the caffeinated drinks and possibly replace them with other options, like tea. Reduce your alcohol intake and find healthier options, like the red wine mentioned above.
Sleep is probably the easiest one on the list, yet maybe the hardest to actually achieve. Sleep seems to be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. You probably know about all of its benefits, but with so many things to get done everyday, it is one of the first things to get cut. So you end up going through your days on less and less sleep.
Sleep seems to be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Studies are showing that there seems to be a direct correlation between the rise in obesity and the decrease in the amount of sleep that people are having. While you sleep, your body has a chance to release and control hormones that regulate your appetite and your weight. If you don’t allow yourself enough sleep or your sleep is disturbed, your body will not be able to repair itself. Seeing a direct correlation between obesity and sleep loss should cause our ears to perk up. Not only does your body have a chance to release the hormones it needs to fight fat while you sleep, but lack of sleep also has been shown to cause insulin resistance. And yes, this is what will eventually lead to diabetes. You may take sleep for granted, but it is your body’s main time to be maintaining a healthy you. So take time to mark out enough sleep and make sure the sleep you get is true, quality sleep.
How to do it: The best thing is just to start being aware of sleep. Start thinking of it as the most important part of your day and not just something that you have to fit in and possibly cut out when needed. Remember that sleep is the body’s time to repair, so make it your top priority. We think sleep is so important, that we put together a sleep challenge so that you could have even more tips for having the best sleep possible.
By taking steps to help your body release good hormones, you can actually make a difference in your weight loss all from within. Thankfully, these are not difficult steps and don’t involve starving yourself or having to follow a strict regime. Instead, it is simply about making sure you eat breakfast, de-stressing with some deep breathing exercises, taking time to lift weights, enjoying some protein with your meals, and committing yourself to good, quality sleep. Make these changes and your body will thank you.
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