That's right. You think you had it all figured out. You just started working out; you're getting more sleep; eating a little better, then BAM! Nothing seems to be changing. Although the scale is not a determination on how healthy you are, I as a trainer know my clients and people for that matter will get on the scale to see if anything changed. If one of your goals is to lose weight, then this could be extremely frustrating. From my experience with personal training for over 20 years, some people may even quit their fitness program, because they feel that nothing is working. Have you ever wondered how your hormones are doing? WebMD defines hormones as substances produced by your endocrine glands that have a tremendous effect on bodily processes. They affect growth and development, mood, sexual function, reproduction, and metabolism. In layman terms, they affect everything in your body! In addition to insulin control and blood sugar balance, hormones control your metabolism which means they are connected to the amount of fat you gain or lose. Here are the main hormones that affect weight:
1. Insulin: This hormone is secreted by the pancreas. It regulates glucose (sugar) levels and promotes fat storage (usually around the stomach area). Foods that help the secretion of insulin are refined flours and sugars.
2. Cortisol: This is a stress hormone and works hand-in-hand with insulin. If you become stressed, your cortisol levels increase. Insulin is then raised which makes weight loss extremely hard.
3. Glucagon (My brotha from another mutha): Glucagon is a fat burning hormone and is secreted by the consumption of protein. Think of it as the opposite of what insulin does.
Now that we have a basic understanding of these specific hormones, here are ways to help hormonal balance and promote weight loss:
1. Eat foods that stimulate glucagon such as: chicken, fish, turkey, cottage cheese, yogurt, lean red beef, eggs, protein powder
2. Eat less insulin stimulating foods. White sugar, excess alcohol and all processed flours are what you need to avoid.
3. Drink your water. Drink at least 3-4 liters per day.
4. Exercise. Exercising is the number one way to lower cortisol response.
5. Drink green tea which helps boost metabolism
6. Hug someone. Hugging naturally lowers cortisol levels
7. Meditate or Pray
8. Take time for YOU! Even if it's just 20 minutes per day.
What's the take away from this blog? Do not assume anything. If you feel you're doing everything right, it could be your hormones. It's always good to go to a medical professional and have them checked.