Hormones play a big role in the way our body functions and affectively have a huge impact on your overall health. This includes weight loss, weight gain and fat storage.
Yes a lot of it does have to do with genetics but our hormones (and in effect our lifestyle) can also influence the way we store fat, where it is distributed around the body and issues such as cellulite.
But it’s not just about weight!
Hormones are chemical messengers that play stimulus to all the main bodily processes; Growth and development, Metabolism, Sexual function, Reproduction, and Mood.
If you have symptoms like fatigue, skin issues, weight gain, weight around the middle, trouble sleeping, always sleeping, PMS, endometriosis, infertility, PCOS or other issues, chances are you have hormone imbalance.
In saying this, If you suffer from any of these symptoms I recommend referring to your GP in order to get an accurate diagnosis.
Tips For Achieving Hormonal Balance
The good news is that you can naturally improve hormonal balance just by making a few simple lifestyle changes.
Below are some tips on how you can improve hormonal balance:
- Swap long cardio sessions for short sprint or HIIT sessions
Exercising for long, extended periods can place a lot of stress on the body, (metabolic functions/ energy systems and fat burning) putting your hormones into overdrive. In contrast sprint training and HIIT will get you into that fat burning zone without placing prolonged stress on your body.
- Include weights and body weight training in regime
While extended cardio can be bad, short bursts of heavy lifting and body weight training can be beneficial since they trigger a cascade of beneficial hormone reactions. There are many examples of this type of training on my Instagram page
- Eat your Healthy fats (avocado, coconut, chia seeds)
Your healthy fats/ Omega 3 fatty acids are one of the best ways to boost testosterone or female hormones. Cholesterol is needed for formation of healthy cell membranes and is a stimulant for all steroid hormones (progesterone, estrogen, FSH, ect). We cannot have proper hormonal balance without adequate amounts of saturated fats. Yep! Saturated fats aren’t always evil…
- Avoid man made fats (margarine, vegetable oil, canola oil)
Your body needs natural (omega 3 fatty acids- healthy fats mentioned above) in order to produce hormones and rebuild cells. When we give it these unstable man made fat (Omega 6 polyunsaturated) it is forced to use them instead, which not only impedes the process but may also lead to cell mutation.
Now this one it so important! Getting your recommended daily amount of shut eye (8 hours) can do so much in regards to balancing out your hormones and just makes you feel so much better!
Physical, mental and emotional stress -all cause major spikes in cortisol, one of the main attributors to fat storage. Have some down time and be present…. So much easier said than done I know but even a simple meditation or stretch video on Youtube can do wonderful things for lightening your mood.
- Try adding natural hormone enhancers such as Maca root and Cacao to your diet.
Maca- Is a root vegetable with a history of boosting hormone production and libido. Maca is also high in minerals and essential fatty acids, making it great for hormones. It is also great for PMS, increasing fertility, and improving skin.
Cacao- The magnesium levels found in cacao means that it supports hundreds of reactions in the body and often contributes to better sleep (which is great for hormones!). You can also just use magnesium supplements in your diet (found in both tablet and liquid form).
- Limit your ‘white foods’ (white flours, sugars, etc.)
White flours, simple carbs reek havoc on your insulin levels, a hormonal spike that nobody wants.
BPA, Parabens, Pesticides found in everyday items such as plastics, teflon, household chemicals and even unwashed fruit can totally mess with your hormones. Check the label for BPA free when purchasing water (or do not leave your plastic bottles exposed to heat or light), replace teflon cookware that is peeling and wash your fruit and vegetables with vinegar (sounds strange but it is the most effective way of washing the wax off).
Leptin is a hormone that regulates hunger and metabolism. We can create a deficiency and resistance in our leptin levels by consuming too much sugar or processed foods, skipping meals or by skimping on sleep—which can result in more food cravings and a slower metabolism. The fix? Eat whole foods, steer clear of sugar, don’t over-exercise, under-eat and get some sleep.
Leptin is such an interesting topic! I really recommend reading up on it if you are interested in metabolism and weight loss.
Remember if you have any queries feel free to comment on here or contact me via email.