Did you know that whether or not you lose fat or gain fat very much boils down to your hormonal environment? Most people hate thinking about this. We like to think WE are in complete control over things, but the truth is, we aren’t. Our hormones are. Our hormones are what dictates what we eat, what we think, and even how we behave.
So would it come to any surprise that hormones also influence fat loss results? Let me share with you some information that I know will completely change the way you view your weight loss plan…
The real fact of the matter is that whether you get slim and toned or start looking softer and less defined may come down to whether you can control your hormones or whether they are left to run wild?
It’s true. You have three key hormones in your body that dictate the fate of your fat, so to speak. They are:
The good news is that if you are smart in how you approach your lifestyle, nutrition, and workout program, you can gain control over each of these hormones and get that body of your dreams…
Before I tell you how, let me first give you a primer on each of these hormones.
Think of leptin as the guard of your body fat cells. This hormone, made by your fat cells, closely monitors how much body fat you currently have and how much energy you’re taking in. When either of these declines (likely due to a successful weight loss program!), Leptin concentrations drop and this signals your metabolic rate to slow down, hunger to ramp up, and for you to basically feel miserable.
Leptin is your body’s way of preventing you from starving to death. Your body doesn’t realize you’re just trying to get slim and healthy. If you are eating in a calorie deficit, it believes a famine is taking place.
Chances are you’ve heard of insulin before. It’s the hormone produced by the pancreas in response to you eating carbohydrates. The more carbs you eat and they faster they break down and digest, the more insulin you release.
Insulin’s role is to move into the blood stream and take any excess sugar present out of the blood and move it to storage. Since high blood sugar levels can become very dangerous, your body keeps blood sugar tightly guarded. While it’s good that insulin does this (as it keeps you alive!), the bad news is that the storage place it puts that sugar is often your fat cells.
Too much insulin on a regular basis can mean the faster accumulation of body fat….
Finally, the last hormone to know about is cortisol. This is your ‘fight or flight’ hormone – the stress hormone that prepares your body for battle. Now, if you were back in the ancient era where your main stressor was a saber tooth tiger chasing after you, you’d be thankful for cortisol because it helps spike blood sugar levels, ensuring you have sufficient energy to make your get-away to safety.
But, in today’s times where our stressors come more from our bosses, fights with our significant others, or our finances, we rarely do any running.
As such, this blood sugar spike means an insulin response will soon follow and that sugar is going to be taken up to body fat storage.
All in all, cortisol has the ability to cause the breakdown of lean muscle mass tissue (bad) and the accumulation of body fat, especially around the abdominal region (also bad).
It’s an enemy to be avoided….
So how can you control these hormones? Here are six steps to follow.
- Eat Protein With Every Meal
To best control insulin levels, eating protein with each meal is a must. Protein will slow down the process of digestion, ensuring that your blood sugar doesn’t rise too quickly. This means less insulin is released and less fat is gained.
While you may think meditation is only for monks who live in solitude, this just isn’t the case. Just a few minutes of meditation per day (or even every other day!) offers a world of great benefits.
Research has shown that mindfulness based stress reduction (meditation) is associated with improved glycemic control in those with type 2 diabetes, illustrating that it can boost insulin sensitivity and thus improve how your body handles the carbohydrates that you eat.
Additionally, studies also suggest that meditation can help to improve mood, promote relaxation, and decrease cortisol levels as well.
The simple act of meditation may help you control two out of three of the hormones that help keep you lean.
- Feast On Healthy Carbs Once Per Week
The facts are, the longer you diet in a reduced calorie state, the greater the chances are leptin levels will decline. This is a natural response by the body and is pretty much unavoidable.
This said, one way you can temporarily boost leptin higher, thus offsetting the reducing to your metabolic rate is by consuming a high carb diet for a few meals.
Studies suggest that temporarily spiking your carbohydrate intake is going to mean ‘resetting’ leptin levels, so to speak, making further fat loss easier.
Just don’t thin this means you should go off eating cake, cookies, and white bread however. Stick to healthy sources of carbohydrates for optimal results.
- Get More Sleep
Sleep is critical to your overall well-being, so not something you want to short yourself on. When you aren’t sleeping enough, this can set you up to experience insulin resistance and poor glucose metabolism.
When you do sleep enough however, your glucose metabolism will be improved and thus, you’ll control your level of insulin better as well.
- Count Grams Of Fiber
Another quick tip to help control insulin – start counting your fiber intake. Many people are fast to track how many carbohydrates they consume in their daily diet and while this is a good number to measure, you also need to pay attention to your fiber intake as well.
Fiber is what slows down digestion and keeps your blood glucose levels stabilized.
- Strength Train
Finally, don’t forget to add strength training to your program plan. Strength training is one of the best exercises for helping to boost insulin sensitivity as well as for helping to better manage your metabolic rate and body weight.
Additionally, proper strength training can also reduce stress, which in turn, can lower cortisol levels as well.
Just be careful you aren’t in the gym training for longer than 45-60 minutes or you may find that increases your cortisol levels instead.
Whether you strength train in a gym or at home, make sure that you get it in.
So there you have six great tips on how you can take control and better manage these fat-busting hormones.
Are you doing everything you can to gain control?
If you want more help with your nutrition plan, be sure to check out my free five day diet.