The Skinny on Hormones
You probably recognize testosterone, estrogen and HGH as hormones. Perhaps not as common is the vital role hormones play in maintaining a healthy weight. If you are trying to lose weight this year, understanding how to harness the power of four key hormones is crucial for burning fat, controlling hunger, building muscle, and much more. Let’s take a look at the hormones responsible for helping regulate your weight:
Ghrelin Ghrelin is your hunger gremlin. It is produced in your stomach and works with your brain to signal that you are hungry. Reducing calories, in an effort to lose weight, causes an increase in ghrelin. But even after 12 months of reduced calories, research shows that ghrelin levels stay elevated. In other words, your body never adapts to eating less and continues to send hunger signals. This is why maintaining weight loss is often harder than losing it and why our Maximized Living eating plans do not focus on counting calories. Our focus is on changing the type of food you eat. The good news: Intense exercise decreases ghrelin levels, making it a key component to fat loss and weight maintenance.
Leptin Leptin is an adipokine hormone released exclusively from fat cells. Leptin interacts with your brain to get your body to eat less and burn more calories. The more body fat you have, the more leptin your fat cells will release. However, too much body fat leads to too much leptin being released—a condition called leptin resistance. When this occurs, your brain becomes numb to leptin’s signal. To maximize leptin sensitivity, get adequate sleep and pack your diet full of antioxidant-rich berries and green and red vegetables. Losing weight also enhances leptin sensitivity and provides some momentum, as the more weight you lose, the more effective leptin will become in your body.
Adiponectin Adiponectin is another adipokine, but unlike leptin, the leaner your body is, the more adiponectin your fat cells will release. Adiponectin enhances your muscle’s ability to use carbohydrates for energy, boosts your metabolism, increases the rate in which your body breaks down fat and curbs your appetite. You can maximize your adiponectin levels by moving more during the day (getting leaner) and replacing carbohydrates in your diet with monounsaturated fats (olives, avocados, nuts, coconut, etc).
Insulin Insulin aids in exercise recovery, muscle building and maintaining optimal blood sugar levels. However, insulin and carbohydrates are very tightly linked and when carbohydrate intakes are high and insulin is left to run wild in the body, it can inhibit the breakdown and burning of stored fat. The more carbohydrates you eat, the more insulin will be released. To optimize insulin for fat loss, get most of your carbohydrates from vegetables and some fruit. Limit grains and starches to smaller portions directly after exercise.
Don’t wait until January to accomplish your weight loss goals, when swimsuit season is here, and even more importantly— your health is at stake. You can learn how to harness the power of your hormones to conquer weight-loss and turn goals into success by visiting your local Maximized Living Doctor today!
Dr. Katie Benson has been serving Marysville, Ohio and the surrounding communities since 2008. Dr. Benson and her team of assistants strive to provide the highest quality and most cutting-edge wellness care in all of Central Ohio. Her wellness clinic has become one of the largest in the state and continues to grow.