For some of us, our weight is constantly on our mind. Whether it’s gaining, losing or just keeping things steady, it can be distracting. Your hormones affect your weight by influencing appetite and fat stores. But if things ever get out of hand there are ways you can ‘reset’ them to level things out and control your body.
How to Reset Hormones
This hormone is produced by beta cells in the pancreas and allows the cells to receive blood sugar for energy. It’s secreted throughout the day in small amounts and in larger amount after meals.
It represents the main fat storage hormone by telling fat cells to store fat and prevents stored fat from breaking down. Insulin resistance is a common cause for blood sugar levels to increase. Elevated insulin or hyperinsulinemia causes problems like obesity and metabolic syndrome. You can normalize these levels by:
- Minimizing/avoiding overeating of sugar, refined carbs or fast food as they cause insulin resistance
- Eat more protein as it raises insulin in the short term and contributes long term to reducing insulin resistance
- Increase your healthy fats intake like omega-3 which is found in fish
- Exercise regularly to improve insulin sensitivity
- Magnesium improves insulin sensitivity as magnesium deficiency and insulin resistance have a correlation
- Drink green tea- it lowers blood sugar
Produced by fat cells, it acts as a satiety hormone that reduces appetite and makes you feel full. It does this by communicating with the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates appetite. High levels of leptin are present in obese people, but instead of causing them to have a reduced appetite, their body becomes resistant to it.
It confuses their brain into thinking they should eat more. The causes of leptin resistance can be chronically elevated insulin levels and inflammation in the hypothalamus. You can improve sensitivity by:
- Avoid inflammatory causing foods like sugary drinks and eat more anti-inflammatory foods like fatty fish
- Exercise, exercise, exercise
- Lack of sleep can cause problems with leptin levels, so get your 8 hours!
Often called the ‘hunger hormone’, it’s released when your stomach is empty and tells your hypothalamus that you need to eat. The levels are highest or lowest about an hour after your meal. Levels are lower in obese people as the hypothalamus doesn’t receive the signal to stop eating. Improve ghrelin levels by:
- Avoiding sugar, high-fructose corn syrups and sweetened drinks which impair ghrelin response
- Eating more proteins with every meal
Produced by the adrenal glands, it’s also called the ‘stress hormone’, as it’s only released when your body is stressed. Elevated levels will lead to overeating and weight gain. Reduce cortisol by:
- Balancing your diet, don’t cut calories to the extreme as it will increase your stress
- Practice meditation
- Listening to music has also been found to reduce cortisol levels
The primary female sex hormone, it’s produced by the ovaries and regulates the female reproductive system. High and low levels of estrogen can lead to weight gain, but this depends on age, state of health and other hormones.
It promotes fat storage at puberty to maintain fertility during the reproductive years. Estrogen levels drop during menopause however, because less is produced in the ovaries. Manage these levels by:
- Eating more fiber
- Cruciferous vegetables have beneficial effects on estrogen levels
- Flax seeds are beneficial
- Exercise normalizes levels in premenopausal and postmenopausal women
Neuropeptide Y (NPY)
Produced in the brain and nervous system to stimulate your appetite, especially for carbohydrates. NPY is at its highest during periods of fasting, food deprivation or stress. Control it by:
- Eating more protein than usual
- Avoid fasting for over 24 hours as it can increase NPY levels
- Feed the good bacteria in your gut and reduce NPY levels by consuming lots of soluble prebiotic fiber
It’s produced from nutrients entering the intestines in your gut. It keeps blood sugar levels stable and makes you feel full. A decrease in appetite after weight loss surgery is due to an increase of GLP-1. Increase these levels by:
- Consume proteins by eating more fish or yogurt, and this improves insulin sensitivity too
- Chronic inflammation is connected to reduced GLP-1, so eat anti-inflammatory foods
- Eat leafy greens like spinach and kale as it helps with weight loss
This hormone is produced in the gut cells. Higher amounts of it reduce food intake, much like the previously mentioned hormones. Increase your CCK by:
- Eating more protein at every meal
- Bad fats trigger the release of CCK, so eat more good fats
- Consume meals that are high in fiber
Peptide YY (PYY)
A hormone released by cells in the intestines and colon to control appetite. Having more PYY reduces food intake and the risk of obesity. Increase the levels by:
- Consuming less carbs and processed foods because this stabilizes blood sugar levels
- Eat more protein and fiber
Whether it’s through lifestyle or dietary changes, there are ways you can keep control over your weight. Take what you know now and apply it!
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