When it comes to weight loss, whether you’re looking to lose 5 lbs or 50 lbs, many people reach a plateau and no matter how much they exercise or how much they change their diet, they can’t seem to reach their goal. This can be extremely frustrating and demotivating! o what other factors could be involved? In one word: hormones. So, let’s look at how hormone levels may be affecting our weight loss and fitness goals.
Are you one of those people who under times of extreme stress just can’t seem to lose weight and may even gain some? Well, there may be a reason for this and cortisol is most likely the culprit.
Cortisol is our primary stress hormone, released from our adrenal glands during periods of stress. Cortisol is released normally in the body, with levels being high in the morning and naturally declining throughout the day. It’s when we have chronically elevated levels of cortisol that problems begin to arise. This disruption in cortisol levels not only encourages weight gain, but contributes to where we gain it, usually sending it straight to our middle! This type of fat differs from the normal forms and is called visceral fat. It doesn’t lie below the skin, but surrounds our abdominal organs and is strongly correlated to heart disease. Stress is not the only reason that cortisol levels may be off.
Signs of excess cortisol: moodiness, weight gain (especially around the middle), decreased libido, acne, muscle weakness, irregular menstruation, facial hair growth in women, poor sleep and frequent infections.
Solution: Manage your stress!
Truestar Solution: If the stress won’t change, try TrueSTRESS Support orTrueENDURANCE, which contains botanicals such as Withania somnifera (Ashwaganda) and Eleuthrococcus senticosus (Siberian ginseng) to help the body manage stress. You can also try TrueB Complex for a healthy dose of B vitamins to help get those cortisol levels under control.
Remember, although exercise is good for us, over-training is a form of stress on the body, so be sure to support your body and allow it to repair!
Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that regulates the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood, transporting it into our cells so it can be burned for fuel. However, abnormalities in the insulin-glucose transport may contribute to health problems when the insulin levels are too high and specifically, weight gain in the “love handles” region. This imbalance may be caused by poor diet, lack of exercise and aging. As we age, our bodies become more resistant to insulin, so the body compensates by increasing insulin levels in an attempt to get that glucose into the cell. Insulin resistance is associated with inflammation in the body, obesity and may lead to Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. So, it is essential that we control our insulin levels, not only for weight management, but also for disease prevention and longevity.
Signs of excess insulin: weight gain (especially in the love handles), cravings, chronic hunger, sleep disorders, mood swings, menstrual irregularities.
Solution:Exercise, specifically increasing muscle mass can improve our body’s sensitivity to insulin.
Diet: Fiber: We should be consuming about 30 g of fiber daily, although most of us don’t meet these requirements and we are closer to 12 to 17 g/d. Studies are finding that consuming dietary fiber can enhance insulin density and may play a role in regulating insulin levels and preventing Type 2 diabetes, as well as decreasing cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Truestar Solution: Try TrueGLUCO Control, which contains key amounts of chromium, a trace element that plays a role in normal carbohydrate metabolism and may increase insulin binding and sensitivity.
Don’t forget the basics, with TrueBASICS for Men / Women, which contain magnesium. Magnesium deficiency has been associated with insulin resistance and is involved in a number of reactions required for glucose uptake.
Thyroid hormones are the masters of our metabolism and we all know that a slow metabolism contributes to weight gain. Our lifestyle habits can also affect our thyroid levels. Drastic caloric reduction can actually cause a decrease in the production of our thyroid hormones, contributing to slower metabolic rates. Replacing carbohydrates for fat in the diet, often observed on carbohydrate- restricted diets, results in thyroid changes typically observed during times of starvation. Protein and carbohydrate consumption can actually improve thyroid hormone production. o, crash dieting and macronutrient eliminations, which are very common in FAD diets today, will negatively affect your thyroid hormones.
Signs of low thyroid hormones: weight gain, dry skin and hair, cold intolerance, hair loss,lethargy, fatigue,constipation, irregular menstruation.
Solutions: Be sure to follow a balanced diet rich in all three macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Additionally, the amino acid L-tyrosine may also support the function of the thyroid and can be taken in supplement form.
Truestar Solution: TrueBASICS A/O and TrueRENEW, which contain key nutrients and amino acids that will support the function of your thyroid.
However, if you suspect you have a thyroid imbalance, be sure to consult your doctor!
Ghrelin & Leptin
Many people may be unaware that sleep influences our hormone levels. Lack of sleep is associated with an imbalance in our cortisol levels, discussed above, but it also throws off two key appetite-regulating hormones: leptin and ghrelin.
Do you notice that on days following a night of poor sleep that you tend to eat more? There’s a reason for this. Studies find that lack of sleep actually increases appetite and food intake that is excessive in relation to your actual daily need and that our appetite-regulating hormones are greatly affected by our sleep pattern. These hormones are: leptin, an appetite suppressant (tells us we’re full), and ghrelin, an appetite stimulant (tells us to eat). When we suffer from sleep deprivation, our body decreases leptin and increases ghrelin. This means we eat more, even though we don’t need it!
Lack of sleep = More ghrelin + less leptin → weight gain
Solution: Get your beauty sleep!
Truestar Solution: TrueSLEEP, which contains that essential melatonin with additional calming botanicals to help you get the sleep you need.
We now know that our weight is not only dependent on our exercise habits and diet, but also on our lifestyle habits that influence our key hormones that regulate our weight and appetite.
And, don’t forget, if you think you might be suffering from any of the above hormonal imbalances, see your health care provider for the best possible care.