Obesity has become a major issue, causing plenty of health problems such as osteoporosis, risk of strokes and artery buildup, unbalanced cholesterol levels, slow metabolism, and related issues, fatigue, high blood pressure, depression, etc.
Nowadays, obesity is triggered not only by an unbalanced diet, low nutrition, and lack of energy. There is one crucial factor to consider: hormonal imbalance.
The hormones in our body are the ones that “dictate” our wellbeing, as well as our physical appearance. They are essential for managing and aligning the activities of the various organs and body systems. And when there is a imbalance, we experience health problems with distinct intensity, which lower our quality of life.
However, there are four hormones that directly impact our weight and BMI by messing up our metabolism, water retention mechanism, digestion system, and calorie burning process.
Let’s learn how those hormones trigger weight gain and how to balance them out.
Table of Contents
Estrogen is the hormone, which is responsible for the “female physical characteristics,” as well as for healthy skin and bones, and storing fat cells.
Increased levels of this substance in the body are a prerequisite for weight gain, mainly in the belly area, as they can eventually result in more severe issues such as infertility, metabolic rate-related diseases, or depression.
The causes for increased levels of estrogen are often triggered by menopause or the consumption of foods that have been exposed to hormonal treatment. Those include fruits and vegetables with pesticides, meat, and poultry (mostly chicken), processed foods, as well as containers and bottles with BPA.
How to balance estrogen levels?
- Stay away from non-seasonal fruits and veggies. They are often treated with pesticides and nitrates.
- Consume only bio or organic meat, which is indicated to be “hormone-free.”
Remove processed food and sweets from your eating regime.
- Eat foods that are rich in fiber: those are seeds, veggies, oats, whole grains, etc.
- Detox. Drink more tea and water, eat antioxidants, do exercise, and be more active!
Cortisol is the hormone, which is released in stressful situations together with adrenalin. Too much of this body substance imposes health risks related to arteries buildup and storing fat cells around the internal organs, and multiple body areas: the belly, neck, face, thighs, arms, etc.
In fact, according to a medical study in the Australian Monash University, high blood levels of cortisol are related to increased food intake, reduced energy expenditure, and proneness to obesity or weight gain.
How to balance cortisol levels?
- Cut your caffeine intake. Too much coffee = too much cortisol and adrenalin in the blood.
- Meditate and breathe. Those activities help us to balance our nervous system and reduce the stress levels in our daily life.
- Get some good night’s sleep. When the brain is rested, it is less prone to perceive certain situations as stressful.
Leptin is the hormone, which is responsible for telling us when to stop eating. It’s produced in the fat cells in the body and gives the brain an alert when we are already full and should stop consuming food.
When we have too much leptin in our body, we bear the risk of becoming leptin resistant. Such a health condition causes us to unconsciously increase our daily food intake, as this leads to the consumption of more calories and eventual weight gain. Because in the long run, when we don’t know when we are full, we continue eating until we overeat (and consume an excessive number of calories).
In fact, a Dutch study confirmed that people who had high leptin blood rates were continuously gaining weight, compared to the non-weight gainers, who had significantly low levels of the hormone in the body.
How to balance leptin levels?
- Eat food rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
- Get enough night sleep.
- Reduce the intake of carbs, sugar, and sweets.
- Exercise regularly.
The main function of this hormone is to balance the blood sugar levels and to support the body cells to convert the glucose in the blood into energy.
When we eat too much sweets, carbs, or drink alcohol, our pancreas produces insulin in order to “deal” with the increased blood sugar. But why insulin makes us gain weight?
When too much insulin is in the body, the cells become resistant to it. Just like the case with leptin. This health condition is called insulin resistance and is a medically proven prerequisite for diabetes type 2. In that case, the sugar from the blood is not used for fueling the cells with energy, but instead, it’s stored ad fat cells. The main weight gain areas are the belly, neck, arms, and upper thighs.
How to balance insulin levels?
- Adopt a low carb eating regime. This way, you will reduce sugar intake.
- Consume fewer calories on a daily basis.
- Include protein in every meal.
- Increase the consumption of foods rich in fiber.