In our last article, we talked about many of the hormones that influence out weight and what we can do to keep them appropriately balanced. The list was so long that we decided to break it into two articles. So many of us think that we are the victims of our hormones. To some extent, that is true, but we have more control over those hormones that we are lead to believe. Read below to read about how hormones influence your weight and what YOU can to do maximize your body’s performance. Remember, taking a hormonal supplement is a partial solution and comes with side effects. Learning to preserve and enhance what your body is supposed to do is amazing!

  1. Estrogen – Most women don’t think much about estrogen until menopause, but it is a hormone worth learning about far before this happens. Being aware and prepared is key to handling life changes with the least amount of metabolic upset possible. Estrogen is considered both a fat storing and a fat burning hormone. It also is believed to help women deal with stress, which is part of why women often experience more unstable moods during menopause. While we can do nothing about how much estrogen is produced in our bodies, we can control how many hormone disruptors are put onto our bodies and into our skin. Avoiding parabens in lotions is a great way to avoid creating a further imbalance. The Environmental Working Group website is a great place to find products that are free of hormone disruptors. They also have a great “Healthy Living” app where you can scan products in the store to see if they are free of hormone disruptors. Eating a plant based diet with moderate portions of organic meat and limiting dairy are nutritional steps that you can take to balance your estrogen levels naturally as well.
  2. Progesterone – Progesterone is the hormone that works with estrogen. This hormone blocks the effect of cortisol, which helps us to feel less stressed and to burn fat instead of store it. The way to ensure the best levels of progesterone are to get adequate sleep and to engage in stress reducing activities. The less stressed the body feels, the more likely for progesterone to be balanced.
  3. Incretins – Incretins are the “food sensors” in our small intestines. These hormones help the body to sense the nutrient ratios in the foods that we eat. There are two types of incretins, GLP (glucagon-like peptide) and GIP (glucose dependent insulinotropic peptide). GLP is like a fat burner and GIP is like a fat storer. The more fat and sugar you eat in a meal, the more the small intestines release more GIP relative to GLP, and the more protein and fiber in the meal causes release of more GLP compared to GIP. Like the other hormones, you have control over the secretions of these hormones. Eating high vegetable/moderate protein meals causes a greater ratio of GLP to GIP, which makes the body burn more fat instead of storing it.
  4. Irisin – The exercise hormone. So many fitness professionals over the years have touted the weight loss benefits of exercise as being purely related to the calories burned, but current research says otherwise. While yes, it is good to burn calories, exercise is also a huge component in controlling the hormones in the fat burning process. Irisin is a hormone that is secreted by the muscles after they have been exercised which helps the body to burn more fat. It has also been linked to the lengthening of telomeres (the caps on the end of our strands of DNA). As we age, the ends tend to get shorter and frayed which leads to more rapid aging. The release of irisin by the muscles as a response to exercise helps to slow this process. The most effective way to maximize production is to exercise the large muscle groups often with weights.

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  • Take charge of your hormones! There are so many things that you can do to control what is going on hormonally inside your body. Read over your last article that outlined other hormones that are controllable through your behavior. The guidelines remain the same. This is just further validation that you are doing the right thing : ).
    • Eat protein and veggies
    • Avoid stress as much as possible
    • Get adequate sleep
    • Limit processed foods and excess starches
    • Strength train