Your body’s hormones play a large role in many aspects of your health and development. Many people associate hormones with puberty, but the truth is that they continue having an impact on your health throughout your life.
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Some hormones are associated with your appetite and weight gain. You can’t get rid of these hormones, nor would you want to, but you can take control of them, which can help you drop excess pounds and achieve your goal weight.
Simply understanding the process gets you one step closer to success. Of course, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before attempting to lose weight so that you can work together to determine a healthy number for you and the best way to get there. Here are the ways your hormones interfere with weight loss.
1. Avoid Anything With Soy
Research finds that women going through menopause experience an alteration in their estrogen levels. This can slow your metabolism, which causes weight gain. Soy can block the natural estrogen in a woman’s body, exacerbating the issue.
When your estrogen levels drop too much, it interferes with leptin, one of your appetite suppressing hormones. When that happens, you feel hungry all the time. By avoiding soy products, you can preserve the estrogen you have and make it work for you.
Soy is found in things like edamame, tofu, meat substitutes and miso. Read food labels carefully to be sure you are avoiding it whenever possible.
2. Reduce Your Dairy Intake
Dairy is important for calcium, but cutting back can help your hormones regulate your weight more efficiently. Dairy foods contain hormones, which can interfere with normal hormone production in your body.
In fact, some pediatricians are recommending hormone-free dairy foods for kids because they can help prevent early puberty, something that can mess with hormones for the rest of your life.
If you’re already past puberty, avoiding hormone-containing dairy foods can help you regulate your weight. Look for hormone-free milk, yogurt, cheese and ice cream. Eat it in moderation for the best results.
If you can’t find hormone-free, limit or avoid these items if you’re struggling with your weight. This has a double benefit since many dairy foods are higher in fat and calories than other items. Limiting or avoiding them can help you lower your overall calorie intake, which is vital for weight control.
3. Get Rid Of Grains
Some studies find that eating grains can mess with your thyroid levels. The hormones produced by your thyroid have a large role in your appetite and weight. Cutting back on grains can help optimize thyroid function so that those hormones remain at steady and healthy levels.
If you are gaining weight and can’t figure out why, it’s vital to have your thyroid checked since it has such a large impact on your weight.
Choosing grain-free foods is one way to help you regulate thyroid function, and you might notice that your weight starts to come off once you’ve done so. Foods that contain grains include bread, pasta, crackers, cereal and baked goods.
Rice, barley, rye and oats are other grains you can limit or avoid. Talk to your doctor before you eliminate an entire food group because this can set you up for nutrient deficiencies.
4. Boost Protein Consumption
Protein helps turn off the production of ghrelin, another specific hormone linked to appetite and weight. Suppressing this hormone can help prevent you from getting hungry between meals and can help you lose weight or prevent it from piling on.
The trick is to choose lean sources of protein so you aren’t taking in too many calories or too much fat. Good choices include sirloin steak, chicken breasts, fish, pork, lamb, beans, nuts, seeds and eggs. A simple boost to your protein intake can be powerful enough to shut off ghrelin production, helping you feel full at times when you normally reach for a snack.
5. Reduce Stress And Caffeine
Stress levels increase the production of cortisol, a hormone that can cause you to gain weight. Caffeine alters your body in such a way that it can mimic the feelings of stress, especially when you consume large amounts of it.
When cortisol spikes, you feel hungrier and are more likely to make unhealthy eating choices. By taking measures to reduce your stress, you can help control cortisol, thereby controlling your weight. Stress is a natural part of life, but some lifestyle changes can help you cope and even take things down a few notches.
Try yoga, aromatherapy, massage or a mini vacation. At the same time, avoid or limit your caffeine intake. It’s found in soda, coffee, tea, chocolate and energy drinks. Cutting back will reduce cortisol levels and help you control your calorie intake.
6. Stop Eating Sugar
If you’re trying to lose weight and curb your appetite, sugar can be a recipe for disaster. Not only does it contain calories, but it’s often found in junk foods that have no place in a weight loss meal plan. At the same time, sugar causes a spike in insulin. When you crash back down to normal, you’ll feel hungry again.
This cycle can alter hormone production and cause you to overeat. When you reduce how much of the sweet stuff you eat, the hormone, insulin is produced in normal amounts so that you have a healthy appetite. Cutting sugar completely is very difficult to do because it can be in products you’d never think it would be.
Read labels carefully, which will help you to make the right choices. Besides being in things like cookies, cake, donuts, soda and candy, sugar could crop up in pasta sauce, salad dressings, condiments, sauces, gravy and prepared foods. Start cutting back slowly to make it easier on your body.
Losing weight involves many things, but the bottom line is that you have to cut calories by eating healthy foods and getting plenty of exercise. Creating this calorie deficit helps you shed the pounds and become healthy. Your hormones are also at play, and since you don’t spend lots of time thinking about them, incorporating healthy lifestyle changes can help you get them under control without tons of time or effort.
Most people have more weight loss success when they start slowly instead of changing everything all at once. Incorporate the changes on this list slowly and one at a time so that you can ease into things. If nothing is working and you’re still having a hard time losing weight, talk to your doctor to rule out possible health conditions that could be linked to the issue.
Working with a nutritionist can also help you create a healthy meal plan that contains the right foods for hormone control as well as those that help you control your calorie intake without getting hungry. Keeping a food and exercise journal is a powerful way to stay on top of your progress and keep you accountable. Good luck!