The Science Behind Hormones And Women's Weight Management
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Kaelin Tuell Poulin ‧ Former IFBB Pro athlete and Co-founder of LadyBoss Weight Loss
As women, we are aware of the hormonal changes that wreak havoc on our waistlines. Sometimes it seems impossible to get rid of our need to binge on a box of cookies. Whether you're in your period, going through menopause, having a stressful few weeks, or DNA, your hormones, hormonal cravings and metabolism changes are real and affect your weight loss efforts.
Research indicates that female hormones and fat retention are connected. To achieve your weight loss goals, it's important to balance these hormones without relying on dubious diets or fancy supplements that promise weight loss. Products geared towards women may be counterproductive. It's best to pursue natural solutions. Here is what you need to do.
#1. The Stresses Of Life Never Seem To Let Up
No matter what you choose to do to ease your stress, you must adopt a calm mindset. Whether you opt for running, hiking, a yoga session, meditation or massage, it's essential that you do it.
This is because when we are tense, our stress hormone, cortisol, is released into our bloodstream. Cortisol ramps up your appetite, so you are tempted to eat anything in sight.
Furthermore, cortisol targets foods that are loaded with carbohydrates and sugar. These foods cause your blood sugar levels to rise and fall quickly, leaving you feeling unsatisfied. It is important to take time for yourself to unwind and keep your cortisol levels in check.
#2. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is crucial for many reasons, but it is especially vital for hormone balance. During sleep, your body renews itself by generating cells and monitoring your hormone levels.
If you don't get enough sleep, your body won't be able to recover from stressful events during the day, meaning you will start the next day with higher cortisol levels. This is not an ideal way to begin your weight loss journey.
#3. Eat Little Meals Instead Of Big Ones
If you focus your calorie intake on several mini-meals a few hours apart from each other, you can trick your hormones into working for you rather than against you. If your mini-meals balance the right amount of fats, proteins, and carbs.
Smaller meals stimulate the growth hormone in your body during metabolism so that your system ends up operating more efficiently and burning more calories. Using tricks like these throughout the day will optimise your body's functioning so you can make the most of your diet and exercise plans.
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#4. Hormonal Changes And Body Weight
Many people think that reducing calorie intake and increasing physical activity is the only key to losing weight. However, many other external factors can affect weight and chances for successful weight loss.
One of these factors is hormones. Certain hormones can facilitate weight loss, while others can hinder it. Below, discover some of the various hormones that impact weight loss and ways to manage them effectively.
One hormone that can make for easier weight loss is adiponectin, a hormone that basically instructs your body to burn up fat and use it as fuel. Adequate amounts of this hormone in the body have been shown to make weight loss easier, while not enough of this hormone can make weight loss much more difficult.
Unfortunately, the more fat a person has in his or her body, the lower that person's adiponectin levels tend to be. Fortunately, though, there are ways to naturally increase the amount of this hormone in the body.
Eating more magnesium or taking a magnesium supplement and engaging in intermittent fasting have both been shown to boost adiponectin levels.
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Another important hormone to be aware of is ghrelin, which is associated with feelings of hunger. Not eating raises ghrelin levels in the body, causing you to feel hungry. The higher your levels of ghrelin, the hungrier you will be, and the harder you will find it to resist temptation and to avoid eating unhealthy foods.
To keep ghrelin levels low, you'll want to make sure you're eating often. Eating once every six hours, at least, can keep ghrelin levels low and help you to avoid hunger. Also, eating a healthy breakfast can be helpful, since ghrelin levels are particularly high in the morning.
Just as you don't want too much ghrelin in the body, you also don't want too much cortisol. Cortisol, often called the "stress hormone" because it is released when the body experiences stress, leads to food cravings, especially for sugar and carbohydrates.
It also encourages the body to break down the muscles instead of fat, which is the last thing you want. And, worst of all, when cortisol levels are high, they prompt the body to store fat in the stomach area. Cortisol is basically every dieter's worst nightmare, but you can drive your levels down by taking in less caffeine, getting more exercise, and reducing stress in your life!
As you can see, hormones can play a role in weight loss, but remember, you are in control, not your hormones. If your hormone levels are problematic for you, follow these tips or find more information on how to get them in the balance!
#5. How To Eat And Workout
Changing hormones as you age can make it more difficult to lose weight unless you know how to eat and workout for mature women. You don't have to accept weight gain as a part of ageing. You can stay fit and prevent packing on those extra pounds by following a few tips.
#5.1. What To Eat
As you age and start going through perimenopause and menopause, your oestrogen and progesterone production fluctuates. This means you need to eat smart so you can naturally balance these hormones. Eat more foods, like broccoli, cauliflower, fibre and green tea, to help the body deal with excess oestrogen.
This means women should eat higher amounts of fruits and vegetables and oestrogen-free proteins - more organic meats and no soy products. A lower calorie diet focused on cardio only does not help more mature women lose weight.
How To Eat & Exercise?
#5.2. How To Exercise
Women believe that activities like yoga and walking can assist them in regaining their figure, but this is untrue. To restore HGH levels in the body, you must undertake weight training. This will reduce fat accumulation around the waistline and other parts of the body as you age.
Practicing strength training 2-3 times per week is necessary. The advantages comprise a decrease in abdominal fat, better mood, stronger skeletal structure, enhanced physical power, and a toned body. Do not eliminate cardio exercises entirely. Regular exercise can help decrease stress and the quantity of cortisol that is released in the body.
#5.3. Dietary Supplements
Good nutrition is crucial alongside exercise and healthy eating habits. To safeguard your bones, essential nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, and fish oil must be included in your diet. Although weight training can help, it is not enough on its own. These provide additional benefits, like lowering inflammation, balancing hormones, and reducing the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
The Bottom Line
Hormones collaborate to boost or reduce hunger and store fat. Luckily, adjustments to your diet and lifestyle are potent enough to influence these hormones. You need not tolerate weight gain, bulging belly, and saggy appearance due to aging. Instead, take measures to assist your body in handling hormonal transformations and maintaining a youthful shape.
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Hormones have a crucial impact on appetite, metabolism, fat storage, and energy usage. Losing balance in their levels can lead to weight gain or make it harder to shed some pounds. Women can experience significant weight fluctuations due to hormonal changes throughout their lives, from menstruation to menopause.
Several hormones play a role, including:
- Thyroid hormones: Regulate metabolism and energy use.
- Insulin: Manages blood sugar levels and fat storage.
- Cortisol: Known as the stress hormone, it can promote belly fat when levels are elevated.
- Oestrogen: Its decline during menopause can lead to weight gain.
- Progesterone: Its decrease may cause water retention and bloating.
- Leptin: Signals satiety and if out of balance, can lead to overeating.
Diet, exercise, and stress management are crucial. Consuming a balanced diet rich in whole foods, lean proteins, and healthy fats supports hormonal health. Regular physical activity, especially strength training, can help balance certain hormones. Managing stress through practices like meditation and yoga can keep cortisol levels in check.
While menopause is a significant factor leading to hormonal shifts and potential weight gain, it's not the sole culprit. Ageing, genetics, lifestyle, and underlying medical conditions can also influence weight. However, the decline in oestrogen during menopause often results in fat accumulation around the abdomen.
HRT can help alleviate many symptoms of menopause, including the slowing down of metabolism. Some women find it easier to maintain or lose weight when on HRT. However, it's essential to consider the potential risks and benefits. Always consult a healthcare provider to determine if HRT is right for you.
Consult a doctor or endocrinologist first to detect any imbalances by conducting tests. They can advise on possible treatment options or lifestyle changes. To support hormonal health, nutritionists can give tailored dietary advice as well. Keep in mind that it's important to comprehend and pay attention to your body, as each woman's hormonal journey is different.
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