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How To Balance Hormones And Lose Weight Outsmart Your Weight-Gain Hormones with Nutrition

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how to balance hormones and lose weight

Do you eat a balanced diet and stick to your workouts but still have trouble losing weight? In this case, your hormones might be the culprit. If you have struggled with this, read on to learn how to balance hormones and lose weight.
 
Cortisol, ghrelin, leptin, and other hormones influence body composition. They play a critical role in metabolism, fat loss, and muscle growth as well as appetite control. Even the slightest imbalance can affect your health.
 
We all have at least one friend who barely eats and yet, looks chubby. We also know people who eat everything in sight without gaining a pound. Metabolism isn't the only factor that impacts energy expenditure. Your hormones matter too. Even if you have a fast metabolism, hormonal imbalances can make you sick and fat.
 
Surprisingly, the same hormones that regulate mood and libido also influence body weight. Moreover, they can trigger food cravings, promote fat storage, and keep you from getting lean. Thus, it's crucial to restore your hormonal balance… And you can do this through diet and lifestyle changes.

Factors That Influence Body Weight

how to balance hormones and lose weight

Body weight depends on a variety of factors. Some people are naturally slim just because of a different body/mind type.  Others struggle with obesity their entire lives. Besides your genetic makeup, these are the factors that influence your weight:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Prenatal factors
  • Body type
  • Hormones
  • Fitness level
  • Eating Habits
  • Resting metabolic rate
  • Smoking and drinking habits
  • Medications
  • Certain health conditions
  • Social factors
For instance, certain drugs may cause weight gain. Antidepressants, anti-allergens, antihypertensive agents, and glucocorticoids increase appetite and promote fat storage. People with diabetes, insulin resistance, or metabolic syndrome are more likely to gain weight.
 
As you age, your metabolism slows down. This causes your body to use less energy to sustain itself. Lack of exercise only makes things worse. Additionally, certain foods can increase or slow down your metabolism. For example, cinnamon, hot peppers, and protein-rich foods raise your core temperature and metabolism.
 
How much you weigh also depends on your body type and exercise habits. Every one of us has a unique body type with different needs.
 
Athletes and regular gym goers tend to burn more calories.
Physical activity, especially strength training, builds muscle and increases metabolic rate. Exercise also stimulates the release of certain hormones to help your body burn energy more efficiently.

Hormones and Weight Loss:

What's the Link?

As you see, weight loss isn't all about calories or metabolism. There are many other factors involved in this process.
 
Your hormones are an important piece of the puzzle. These chemical messengers impact sex drive, fat storage, mood, behavior, brain function, and energy levels. They also influence your metabolic rate as well as your ability to gain or lose weight.
 

The most important hormones involved in body composition include:

  • Testosterone
  • Estrogen
  • Growth hormone
  • Cortisol
  • Insulin
  • Leptin
  • Ghrelin
  • Thyroid hormones (T3, T4, and THS)
When your hormones are out of balance, you might feel hungry and moody, experience cravings, and gain weight. Unless you have an underlying condition, you should be able to fix this problem without medical treatment.
 
A balanced diet combined with physical activity can naturally balance your hormones and help you lose weight. You will also feel more energized and have a better mood. Enhanced mental focus, improved sleep, and reduced hunger are just a few of the many benefits of a healthy hormonal system.
 
First, let's take a look at the most important hormones and their role in weight loss:

Testosterone

 
Testosterone, the primary sex hormone, plays a crucial role in weight loss. Both men and women produce this hormone, but in different amounts. T levels in women are 10 to 14 percent lower than those in men.
 
Evidence shows that low testosterone is often the culprit behind obesity. After age 30, your body's testosterone production drops. This leads to muscle loss and fat storage. At the same time, your metabolism slows down.
 

Symptoms of Low Testosterone

Fatigue, mood swings, irritability, low energy, and increased hunger are common among those with testosterone deficiency. These side effects are more pronounced in men than women. Both genders experience loss of strength, weight gain, tiredness, and lethargy.
 

Boost Testosterone Naturally

Luckily, you can naturally boost your T levels by making lifestyle changes. Weight lifting, High-Intensity Training, and bodyweight exercises help increase testosterone production. You want to limit cardio and focus on strength training.
 
Also, it's important to cut back on sugar and eat more protein. Avoid estrogen-forming foods, such as flaxseeds, soy, sugary treats, dairy, and processed meats. Beware that food additives mimic estrogen in your body, which then affects testosterone levels.

Estrogen

 
Just like testosterone, estrogen occurs in both genders. Females produce estrogen in larger amounts for pregnancy and breastfeeding. For this reason, women tend to store fat on their hips and thighs.
 
When produced in excess, estrogen promotes fat storage and affects your mood. Additionally, its levels fluctuate over the course your menstrual cycle and also spike at menopause which can lead to weight gain.
 

Boost Estrogen Naturally

The best way to keep your estrogen levels under control is to eat clean. Processed foods are chock-full of chemicals with estrogen-like properties. These compounds mess up your hormones and wreak havoc on your health. Since alcohol increases estrogen levels, limit or avoid it completely. Eat low-carb, high-protein foods and add healthy fats to your diet.

Human Growth Hormone (HGH)

 
Lately, more and more companies are offering HGH in powder, pill, or injection form. These products appeal to athletes and people looking to build muscle or lose fat. But, their safety is still questionable.
 
Under normal conditions, the pituitary gland produces growth hormone. It contributes to muscle building, cognitive function, physical performance, and bone development. This hormone also influences body weight and metabolism. Its levels increase during adolescence and drop with age.
 
According to a 1990-study, subjects who received HGH injections had a 14 percent reduction in body fat and an 8.8 percent increase in lean mass. But still, you don’t need injections to reap the benefits.
 

Boost HGH Naturally

From strength training to intermittent fasting, there are plenty of ways to increase your HGH levels.
 
For instance, intermittent fasting lowers estrogen and boosts HGH production by up to 2000% in men and 1300% in women within 24 hours. At the same time, it slows down aging, improves body composition, and enhances immune function.

Cortisol

 
Do you eat more or crave unhealthy foods when you're stressed out? Believe it or not, it's perfectly normal. Stress increases cortisol levels in the body, causing a chain reaction. This hormone is produced by the adrenal glands and supports health. Cortisol lowers inflammation, regulates your metabolism, and stabilizes blood sugar levels.
 

The Stress Cortisol Connection

Chronic or prolonged stress causes your body to produce cortisol in excess. This leads to weight gain, brain fog, poor sleep, migraines, depression, mood swings, poor concentration, and fatigue. Elevated cortisol levels affect your ability to build muscle and recover from training. In the long run, this condition triggers muscle loss and abdominal obesity.
 
Cortisol has a direct impact on eating behavior and body weight. It not only causes hunger but also affects food choices. Most people crave sugary or fatty foods when they're stressed. This hormone may also impact insulin response and glucose metabolism. It's a major contributing factor to obesity.
 

Natural Ways to Lower Cortisol

To keep your cortisol levels low, avoid stress at all costs. Try Yoga Nidra, meditation, yoga, pilates, or exercise as a way to relax. Since sleep deprivation raises cortisol, make sure you get enough rest. Use essential oils or take a warm bath to relax before bedtime.

Insulin

 
Insulin helps your cells break down glucose for fuel. If your body has enough energy, you store glucose as glycogen in the liver. The excess gets deposited as fat.
 
Diabetes, metabolic syndrome, bad eating, and other factors can affect insulin sensitivity. This puts you at risk for weight gain, heart disease, and chronic illnesses.
 
To improve insulin sensitivity, clean up your diet and exercise more. Spice up your meals with cinnamon, eat high-fiber foods and avoid stress.
 
The whole point is to keep your blood sugar levels low. For instance, every time you eat chocolate or bread, which has a high glycemic index, your insulin levels spike.

Leptin and Ghrelin

 
These two hormones are strongly connected. Leptin curbs appetite and signals your brain that you've had enough food. Ghrelin has the opposite effect. Its levels go up every time you skip a meal and drop after eating. When leptin levels are high, your body suppresses ghrelin.
 
Research indicates that high-protein foods reduce ghrelin levels, leading to better appetite control. Other studies have found that poor sleep increases ghrelin production and triggers hunger.
 
Simple lifestyle changes, such as getting more sleep, eating a bit more protein, and avoiding crash diets, can help balance these hormones.

Thyroid Hormones

 
The thyroid gland produces hormones that influence your weight and metabolism. The same hormones impact your mood and energy levels. When your thyroid doesn't make enough T3 and T4, you may develop hypothyroidism. This condition decreases your metabolic rate and promotes weight gain.
 

Signs of Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism also affects your ability to focus, drains your energy, and causes mood swings. You may forget things, feel exhausted for no reason, and experience depression. Anxiety, hunger pangs, low libido, and difficulty concentrating are among the most common symptoms.
 

Foods that Support and Heal Your Thyroid

Depending on the severity of your condition, you may be able to restore thyroid function through diet. Certain foods are particularly beneficial for the thyroid gland. These include Brazil nuts, sea vegetables, oysters, fatty fish, green tea, egg whites, and sweet potatoes.
 
Choose foods that are high in iodine, selenium, and omega-3s. Avoid inflammatory foods, gluten, sugar, and alcohol. High-mercury fish, raw cruciferous veggies, soy, and peanuts disrupt thyroid function, so ditch them from your diet. Limit your exposure to stress and get at least eight hours of sleep.

How to Balance Hormones To Lose Weight

Hormone-Balancing Foods for a Strong, Lean Body

 
By now, you should have some ideas of what to eat to reset your hormones to lose weight. High-protein foods must come first on your list. Also, it's important to boost your intake of fiber and essential fats. These nutrients support hormonal balance and thyroid health. They also suppress hunger and aid in weight loss.
 

To make things easier, we've compiled a list of hormone-balancing foods you should be eating:

  • Nuts (except for peanuts)
  • Whole grains (preferably gluten-free)
  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Lentils
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Coconut oil
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Hemp seed oil
  • Cod liver oil
  • Avocado
  • Pastured eggs
  • Vegetables (artichokes, collard greens, cucumber, zucchini, spinach, asparagus, tomatoes, onions)
  • Beets
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Butternut squash
  • Organic meat
  • Wild caught fish
  • Spices (garlic, turmeric, chili, cayenne, ginger, cinnamon, cumin)
  • Adaptogenic herbs (Shatavari, Ashwagandha, Holy Basil)
  • Green tea
  • Chia seed
  • Fresh fruit
  • Oat bran and psyllium husk (as a source a fiber)
  • Dark chocolate (at least 80% cocoa)

The foods listed above contain nutrients that support hormonal balance.

Now let's look at essential fatty acids. You can find these healthy fats in avocado, extra virgin olive oil, salmon, tuna, sardines, nuts, and seeds. Due to their anti-inflammatory properties, they offset the harmful effects of high cortisol levels. A diet rich in essential fatty acids may relieve PMS, bloating, menstrual bleeding, and delay aging.

Omega-3s

When consumed as part of a balanced diet, Omega-3s lower the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, obesity, stroke, and osteoporosis. Additionally, they may prevent colon, breast, and prostate cancer.
 
Considering these facts, it's no wonder why you should consider adding plenty of essential fatty acids to your diet. Health care professionals recommended them to women with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) and hypothyroidism. They also appear to be beneficial for those going through menopause. Men with low testosterone can restore their hormonal balance by eating more fats.
 

Good food sources of Omega-3s include:

  • Salmon
  • Walnuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Sardines
  • Hemp seeds
  • Anchovies
  • Egg yolks

How Does Protein Impact Your Hormones?

Along with essential fatty acids, protein contributes to a healthy hormonal system. Your body uses this nutrient to produce hormones and enzymes. Protein also supports muscle growth and repair, promotes the formation of new cells and tissues, and keeps your bones healthy. Moreover, it revs up your metabolism and makes weight loss easier.

 

Protein performs essential functions in your body, such as:

  • Provide structural support
  • Receive and send chemical signals
  • Transport nutrients to your cells
  • Synthesize and repair DNA
  • Catalyze chemical reactions
  • Support enzyme productions
  • Regulate metabolism
  • Aid in the production of hemoglobin
Many hormones, such as oxytocin and insulin, are actually proteins. Testosterone and estrogen are lipid steroids.
 
One of the main benefits of protein lies in its ability to suppress appetite. You've probably noticed that eggs, beans, or fish keep you full longer than chips or pretzels do. A high-protein diet may help improve appetite control and reduce cravings. Additionally, this nutrient supports immune function and helps prevent muscle loss.

Get Your Proteins From These Sources

Yet, not all proteins are equal. For instance, about 90 percent of soy crops are genetically modified. The long-term effects of GMOs on human health are unknown. One thing is for sure: soy increases estrogen levels in the body, messing up your hormones. There are better sources of protein available.
 

Vegan or Vegetarian?

If you're a vegan or vegetarian, choose pea or hemp protein, lentils, seeds, or quinoa. Macadamia and Brazil nuts are high in protein, selenium, and fiber. Researchers have found that estrogen levels in vegetarians are up to 30 percent lower than those in meat eaters. Switching to a plant-based diet could be the key to optimal hormonal health.
 

Best and Worst Sources of Animal Protein

Wild-caught fish, pastured poultry and eggs, wild or grass-fed red meat, and oysters are some of the best animal protein sources. Processed meat, conventional red meat, and high-mercury fish are the worst.

According to study women who consume red meat are more likely to develop metabolic syndrome, type II diabetes, and cardiovascular problems

Avoid Fish With Mercury

If you eat fish for protein, avoid high-mercury varieties.

The worst offenders are:

  • Swordfish
  • Tilefish
  • Shark
  • Tuna
  • King mackerel

Mercury disrupts endocrine function and increases the risk of thyroiditis. Upon ingestion, it binds to your estrogen receptors and affects thyroid health. Women with high levels of mercury in their bloodstream are twice as likely to develop thyroid disease compared to the average population.

 
To stay safe, eat low-mercury fish like clams, scallops, herring, anchovies, salmon, sardines, trout, tilapia, snapper, cod, crab, or flounder. Wild-caught salmon is rich in protein and essential fats, making it ideal for those with hormonal imbalances. 
 
Other low-moderate mercury fish include canned tuna, carp, lobster, halibut, Mahi Mahi, monkfish, croaker, squid, mullet, and hake

What about Fruits and Vegetables?

how to balance hormones and lose weight

Now you might wonder which fruits and vegetables are best for hormonal health. Rich in beta-sitosterol, avocado should be a staple in your diet because it helps to lower inflammation, restores low DHEA, and keeps cortisol levels within normal limits.

Another excellent fruit choice is apple, which contains quercetin. This antioxidant wards off chronic diseases scavenge oxidative stress and balance hormone levels.
 
Citrus fruits, such as lemon, lime, grapefruit, and oranges, are high in vitamin C, which increases progesterone and nitric oxide levels in your body. According to a study, vitamin C can regenerate testosterone molecules by up to 58 percent. It also protects your cells from oxidative stress and improves immune function.
 
Your diet should also include flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds. They're chock-full of omega-3s and fiber and deliver large doses of protein. And don't forget about berries loaded with anthocyanins. These compounds improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar by up to 10 percent.
 

Cruciferous Vegetables

 
Most vegetables are safe for those with hormonal imbalances. Beware that cruciferous veggies contain goitrogens, which may affect thyroid function. Eat them cooked to inactivate these compounds and reap the benefits. If you suffer from hypothyroidism, avoid cruciferous veggies. Stick to dark leafy greens, tomatoes, aubergines, cucumbers, lentils, and sprouts.
 
Spinach, kale, Portobello mushrooms, broccoli, and lettuce are your best choices. These vegetables pack a lot of fiber, to help lower blood sugar levels and support weight loss. Moreover, they contain plant sterols with beneficial effects on the hormonal system.
 
Make a habit out of eating garlic. It's one of the healthiest foods packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. When you eat regularly, it improves your body's ability to synthesize iron, leading to better hormonal health. Garlic also kills harmful bacteria, stabilizes blood pressure, and lowers cholesterol levels.

Junk Foods

As a rule of thumb, if you want to balance your hormones and lose weight you want to limit junk food, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. Eat organic whenever possible. Find more time for yourself and keep stress to a minimum. Get active and use exercise as a way to balance your hormones.

Conclusion of How To Balance Hormones and Lose Weight

If you are over-weight, eventually it will become your greatest health challenge. And I know losing weight is not easy. And for many women, it's not about willpower – it's about hormones.

But at the end of the day, you have more control over your health and weight loss than you think you do. Through proper nutrition, you can balance your metabolism, lose weight, flatten your belly, sleep better, have more energy, build more muscle, and feel better in general.

Through the ages, food was considered the most important aspect of good health by healers around the world. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, lived by the rule that food should be our medicine.

Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food. ~Hippocrates

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