Hormones always try to maintain homeostasis and keep your body functioning well. However, there are some cases wherein the hormones in your body are not regulated properly, leading to weight gain. However, did you know that you can manage your hormones and use them to your advantage?
In this article, we will discuss three hormones that you should always keep in check if you are trying to shed some extra pounds.
This hormone is produced by fat cells and is responsible for signalling the brain about how much fat is in your body. According to Atlanta Endocrine Associates Medical Director Dr. Scott Isaacs, when the amount of leptin in your body is low, you will tend to feel hungry. Conversely, if the leptin levels in your body is high, you will feel full.
Sounds simple, right? However, according to Dr. Isaacs, it can be a bit more complicated than that. He said that as you become overweight, you will begin to develop resistance to leptin. With this, it is possible that you have high leptin levels, but your brain is not detecting that and you would still feel hungry. According to Susan Carnell, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at John Hopkins Medicine, this can put you at risk of acquiring cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
So how do you regulate this hormone? According to studies, physical activity can aid in managing the amount of leptin in your body. Although any type of exercise can be beneficial, one of the most effective types of exercises if your aim is to reduce the leptin in your body is resistance training. This is according to a recent review of studies on obese and overweight middle-aged adults published in PLOS One. In addition, being more physically active can also help you lose some weight.
According to Dr. Isaacs, getting enough sleep is also important because leptin is produced in your sleep. This is one of the reasons those who are sleep deprived tend to be hungrier. Research studies suggest that acute and chronic sleep deprivation can deplete the leptin levels in your body.
This hormone is produced by the stomach and is called the hunger hormone. When your stomach is empty, the levels of ghrelin is at their highest and then they will decrease once you ate. According to Carnell, when the amount of ghrelin in your body rises, you will seek for food and that stress will further increase the levels of ghrelin. Increased ghrelin coupled with stress can be more intense later in the day, and it is during the evening when there is a higher risk for you to overeat.
If you want to regulate ghrelin levels, it is important to manage your stress and make sure that you get adequate sleep because sleep deprivation can increase your hunger hormones. Furthermore, it is also recommended to consume foods that are high in fiber or protein so you will feel satiated longer.
Also called the stress hormone, as it is responsible for the fight or flight response, cortisol can also promote the release of insulin. This leads to an increased appetite and storage of fat especially around the waist.
You can regulate your cortisol levels by managing your stress. Instead of stress-eating, you can go for a walk in the park, enjoy some time with nature, or do something you are passionate about.
Aside from keeping these hormones in check, it is also important to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle, eat a balanced diet, and get enough sleep and rest if you want to get fit. Not only does losing weight help you look good, but it can also bring countless of health benefits.