How Hormonal Imbalance Can Affect Weight Loss

A lot of people struggle with weight loss as their attempts are often unsuccessful. This could be a consequence of a hormone, known as leptin, which prevents healthy weight loss. It is released by the cells and its function is to balance the levels of energy and the body weight. 

It crosses the blood-brain barrier and then binds to the receptors in the center for appetite in the brain and signalizes the brain to determine how much food the body needs.

Hormonal Imbalance, Leptin Resistance and Obesity

Furthermore, it improves the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, and thus, it encourages the fat tissues to burn energy. However, in a lot of cases, the body can develop leptin resistance. 

This may occur in situations when the blood doesn’t reach the targets for appetite control or when the receptors bound by leptin fail to function properly and don’t signal the cells to respond to the hormone. As a result, the person is overweight or obese and is unable to lose weight.

Leptin resistanceis also directly tied to insulin levels. Many people these days are Leptin resistant and there are many health problems tied to this problem. High leptin levels have been tied to high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease and stroke, as well as blood sugar related problems.

High levels of Leptin and the accompanying leptin resistance can also decrease fertility, age you more quickly and contribute to obesity.

Another important hormone whose excess level could lead to weight gain is ‘cortisol’.  Levels of "the stress hormone," cortisol, rise during tension-filled times. This can turn your overeating into a habit. Because increased levels of the hormone also help cause higher insulin levels, your blood sugar drops and you crave sugary, fatty foods.

Excess weight gain creates inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, leading to additional accumulation of fat, which in turn disrupts the hormonal balance in the body, and causes diseases and various conditions.

If the leptin levels have been high for a longer period of time, the individual could lose sensitivity to it, which further results in the brain failing to obey the signals for speeding up the metabolism and stop eating.

The following are the most common symptoms of leptin resistance:

v  Weight gain
v  Cravings
v  Stress eating
v  Late night eating
v  High blood pressure
v  Difficulty falling and staying asleep
v  Inability to lose weight
v  Sugar cravings
v  High level of triglycerides
v  Anxiety
v  Lack of motivation
v  Need for snacks after meals
v  Tiredness after meals

Factors that Contribute to Leptin Resistance

As with all hormone issues, Leptin resistance is a complex issue with no singular cause, but there are many factors that can negatively impact Leptin levels including:

Ø  Fructose consumption (especially in forms like High Fructose Corn Syrup)
Ø  High stress levels
Ø  Consumption of a lot of simple carbs
Ø  Lack of sleep
Ø  High insulin levels (vicious cycle here)
Ø  Overeating
Ø  Exercising too much, especially if your hormones are already damaged
Ø  Grain and lectin consumption
How To Reverse Leptin Resistance And Maintain Hormonal Balance?
Is the resistance treatable?

The answer is, yes. To burn belly fat, you need to balance hormones regulation your the belly fat — insulin, leptin, cortisol, growth hormone, and adiponectin.

Follow these 3 strategies to balance your hormones and lose weight:

WEIGHT LOSS STRATEGY NO 1: Foods you should stop consuming -

     1.      Limit Fructose

Fructose is the most metabolically dangerous sugar, as it does not signal the brain that you are full. It goes directly to the liver where it gets stored as fat and stimulates insulin and leptin resistance. This, in turn, causes inflammation, a stressed liver, and belly fat.

2.      Avoid Gluten and Dairy Products

Gluten and dairy products are the most common food intolerances, and their avoidance will help you lose weight, and treat inflammation, and insulin resistance. Before buying packed food check the label, if it contains gluten.

3.      Avoid Sugar craving

Give up those sugary drinks for just a few weeks and see the difference. Research also suggests that carbohydrate at breakfast is important to help guard against abdominal obesity. Quickly digested carbohydrate foods with a high glycemic index (GI) – e.g. white bread, refined cereals, pastries – are less effective at promoting weight loss because they spike blood sugar and insulin, which can trigger hunger and inhibit the breakdown of body fat. Stop consuming high-calorie beverages.

4.      Avoid Alcohol

Avoid alcohol if you intend to lose weight. Alcohol has also been shown to inhibit the secretion of leptin, which might explain why alcohol increases your appetite and subsequent calorie intake over 24 hours when consumed. Alcohol also increases insulin resistance. Alcohol interferes with your sleep cycle once you’re out. A disturbed sleep, change the hormonal balance in your body, which results in weight gain and increased belly fat.

WEIGHT LOSS STRATEGY NO 2: Foods you should consume -

     1.      Power up with protein

Adding protein to breakfast slows digestion and promotes a feeling of fullness throughout the morning. Studies suggest protein-rich solid foods curb appetite better than protein-rich drinks. Breakfast foods high in protein include egg whites, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, regular yogurt, low-fat milk, turkey breast, smoked salmon and tofu.

2.      Add healthy carbohydrates

Eating carbohydrate-rich foods such as whole grains and fruit in the morning meal fuels your brain and muscles. Foods with a low GI release sugar more slowly into the bloodstream and don’t produce an outpouring of insulin. Low GI breakfast foods include grainy bread, steel-cut and large flake oats, 100 percent bran cereal, oat bran, apples, citrus fruit, grapes, pears, nuts, milk, yogurt, and soy beverages.

3.      Have Omega 3 Fatty Acids:

Eat Foods Rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Omega 3 Fatty Acids can help reverse the harmful effects of fructose and is also high in other beneficial nutrients, so it helps you lose weight, and improve your memory and learning skills. Taking more Omega-3s and minimize your Omega-6 consumption (vegetable oils, conventional meats, grains, etc) to get lower inflammation and help support healthy leptin levels.. Fishes like salmon, Mackerel, and Herring are rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Also include walnuts, almonds, and flaxseeds in your diet.

4.      Increase your Adiponectin levels

Adiponectin is a protein that is involved in regulating glucose levels as well as fatty acid breakdown. Adiponectin works between fat cells and the brain, so its low levels stimulate the storage of fat in the body, and vice versa. If you raise its levels, your body will burn fat. Therefore, consume more pistachios and pumpkin seeds, and get at least 35 grams of fiber daily, to optimize its levels.

Vegetables like spinach have certain enzymes and antioxidants which stimulate the protein hormone. Pumpkins and pumpkin seeds also do the same.

Monounsaturated fats: Research has found that replacing saturated fat with monounsaturated fat caused increases in adiponectin levels. Even better-monounsaturated fats seem to redistribute fat away from your belly. You can find monounsaturated fats in Avocados, Olive oil, Macadamia nuts, Peanuts, and Sesame Oil.

Exercise: Studies have shown that the more you move… the higher your adiponectin levels. Any exercise will do, just make sure to remain consistent. What I also like is that the fatter you are the more adiponectin is created through exercise

WEIGHT LOSS STRATEGY NO 3: Healthy Lifestyle Changes -

     1.      Practice High-intensity interval training

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) helps you burn body fat. This workout includes exercising at a high intensity for 30-75 seconds, with a 2-3 minute break in between, consisted of exercising at a lower intensity. Any exercise will do, just make sure to remain consistent. Further, more adiponectin is created through exercise.

2.      A Mini Fast

Intermittent fasting is an effective tool to lose weight. Intermittent fasting will help you reduce reducing visceral fat. It can help you eat fewer calories and optimize numerous hormones related to fat loss. Insulin: Insulin increases when we eat. When we fast, insulin decreases dramatically. Lower levels of insulin facilitate fat burning. Human growth hormone (HGH): Levels of growth hormone may skyrocket during a fast, increasing as much as 5-fold. Growth hormone is a hormone that can aid fat loss and muscle gain, among other things. Norepinephrine (noradrenaline): The nervous system sends norepinephrine to the fat cells, making them break down body fat into free fatty acids that can be burned for energy.
Research suggests an 18-hour window for women and a 16-hour window for men of intermittent fasting will help you reduce reducing visceral fat and lose weight.

3.      Get Enough Sleep

Leptin imbalance might also be a consequence of sleep deficiency and sleep disorders; therefore, you should get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep daily. All in all, if you have problems with weight loss, make sure you check your leptin levels first. Research in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism has shown that sleeping fewer than six hours reduces leptin and stimulates ghrelin: causing you to feel hungrier and less satiated! 

You need to sleep 7-8 hours every night in order to burn belly fat, as sleep controls cortisol and insulin levels in the body.  Within just four days of sleep deprivation, your body’s ability to properly respond to insulin signals begins to diminish (University of Chicago researchers found a 30% drop insulin sensitivity caused by lack of sleep). 

When you’re not responsive to insulin, fat cells are far less able to release fatty acids and lipids to produce energy, the blood glucose remains higher, and any extra fats and sugars circulating in your blood cause you to pump out even more insulin. 

When you don’t sleep enough, your cortisol levels rise. Not only does cortisol up-regulate food reward centers in your brain that make you want to eat more food, but cortisol can also inhibit the breakdown of fat for energy and increase the breakdown of muscle.

How Hormonal Imbalance Can Affect Weight Loss

4.      Manage Stress

Chronic stress boosts cortisol levels in the body, causing weight gain, storage of fat, and the breakdown of muscles. Levels of "the stress hormone," cortisol, rise during tension-filled times. This can turn your overeating into a habit. It is a must to find an activity that relaxes you, such as meditation, exercise, walking, yoga, essential oil baths, reading, etc. 

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