The “stress hormone”. Your body produces cortisol when it senses stress. While it’s often necessary, too much cortisol means your body is spending a lot of time in “fight or flight mode” vs. “rest and digest” mode. Your body is storing fat instead of burning fat. Excess cortisol usually leads to excess abdominal fat (the worst kind for your health), sugar and carb cravings, and can even break-down muscle tissue (terrible for weight-loss!).
Tips for balancing cortisol levels:
Find ways to manage stress – take deep breaths in and out when you feel stressed I use squar e breathing, incorporate 10 minutes of mediation into your day, practice yoga, cut back on stimulants like coffee and sugar, and do light exercise regularly – even 15-minute breath walking can turn your world around!
Insulin is secreted when you eat sugar (and foods that convert to sugar) in order to regulate the level of glucose in your blood. Too much insulin production can lead to insulin resistance, which naturally leads to excess sugar in your blood. This sugar gets stored as fat, making weight-loss extremely difficult.
Avoid high-sugar, low-fibre foods that spike your blood-glucose (especially refined carbs containing white flour and/or sugar); instead, go for lots of fibre and veggies and healthy fats! Also, drinking water with apple cider vinegar before a high-carb meal is said to help reduce blood glucose levels, preventing insulin spikes.
3. GHRELIN & LEPTIN
Ghrelin is the hormone that your body produces to signal hunger, while leptin signals that you’re satiated. If you’re still hungry after a decent meal, that’s likely an indication that you have elevated ghrelin levels.
Lowering ghrelin and boosting leptin:
Get more sleep! Lack of sleep can increase ghrelin levels and lower leptin. I recommend 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. Get a sleep monitor on your phone. Even one night of not enough sleep can raise ghrelin, making you excessively hungry!
This is the hormone produces in your fat cells that boosts your metabolism and tells your body to burn fat! Unfortunately, usually the more fat you have, the lower levels of adiponectin.
Raising adiponectin levels:
Magnesium can help boost your adiponectin levels, so try increasing your intake of magnesium-rich foods, including spinach, pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate. Eating healthier fats like avocados, chia and flax seeds, extra virgin olive oil and wild salmon, while cutting back on simple starches, sugar. Lastly, intermittent fasting has been linked to higher adiponectin levels.
5. THYROID HORMONES (T3 & T4)
Thyroid hormones impact your metabolism, energy, mood and more! Too little thyroid hormones (a.k.a hypothyroid) usually means your metabolic function becomes impaired, resulting in weight gain.
Balancing your thyroid hormones:
Iodine is used to produce these hormones, so eating iodine-rich foods like seaweed will boost your thyroid hormones. Also, getting adequate sleep, managing stress, reducing fluoride, checking for mercury toxicity, and having adequate levels of vitamin D, zinc, selenium and iron are all key. But the best treatment will depend on your particular case, so get your thyroid hormones checked to determine the best course of action for you. The normal TSH panel for thyroid is inadequate on its own so make sure your doctor also requests that T3 and T4 levels as well.
I suggest you get your hormones checked (especially your thyroid) and work with a functional medicine doctor and/or Health Coach to help guide you. Because while these dietary and lifestyle suggestions help A LOT, some healthy supplementation can help jump-start that hormonal balance linked to your weight loss, and having some guidance is key. If you want to learn more or are curious on how I can support you on this journey, contact me.