HORMONES AND WEIGHT
You may have an excellent diet and exercise plan, but if your hormone levels are off they can prevent you from making any headway. Fortunately, scientists have identified the key hormones playing an integral role when it comes to Weight Loss. By addressing these with science-based medical testing, we can supercharge your weight loss program.
HOW IMPORTANT ARE HORMONES?
Have you tried numerous fad diets that leave you frustrated, hungry, and without body fat loss? Your hormones may be responsible. When men or women try to lose weight they often focus their energies on diet and exercise. However, other factors such as metabolism and hormone levels are just as important. Hormones are what your body relies on for metabolic programming. Hormones are naturally occurring chemical software codes instructing your body how to coordinate and control various physiological processes. With well over 60 different hormones at work regulating your body, it’s a complicated process, and experts are only recently starting to understand the implications to your health.
WHAT IS INSULIN?
Insulin is an essential hormone produced in the pancreas and used to manage blood sugar levels. Insulin production is regulated based on blood sugar levels and other hormones in the body. In a healthy individual, insulin production and release is a tightly regulated process, allowing the body to balance its metabolic needs. If you frequently crave sugar and feel like a meal isn’t complete without dessert, there’s a good chance you’re suffering from insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is brought on by continuous daily consumption of refined sugars requiring the pancreas to overwork to keep up with the high demand. Eventually, this creates insulin resistance exacerbating the problem as now the pancreas needs to produce more insulin to achieve the same result.
Insulin allows the cells in the muscles, fat, and liver to absorb glucose that is in the blood. The glucose provides energy or fuel to these cells as needed, and if not it can convert unused energy/fuel into fat for later use. Insulin also affects other metabolic processes, such as the breakdown of fat or protein. Over time, consuming too much sugar makes your cells insensitive to insulin, which in turn blocks sugar from entering your cells. That sounds like a good thing but it’s not. This tricks your body into thinking you aren’t getting enough sugar, even though your blood is flooded with it, and as a result, you crave sugar even more. When that happens, you have become insulin resistant and it becomes harder to lose weight.
Avoid processed foods, sugars, pastas, breads, and alcohol to reduce the amount of insulin your body needs to manage blood sugar levels. Insulin is a dominant hormone and when present in the bloodstream blocks the metabolization of fat. Since insulin’s job is to transport energy to the cells, any unused fuel will get stored as fat. Aim for high fiber foods that are slow to digests (low glycemic index) and healthy proteins.
WHAT IS CORTISOL?
Cortisol (naturally occurring anti-inflammatory) and often called the “stress hormone” because of its connection to the stress response, however, cortisol is much more than just a hormone released during stress. Understanding cortisol and its affect on the body will help you balance your hormones and achieve good health.
Cortisol helps regulate blood sugar levels, metabolism, help reduce inflammation, and assist with memory formulation. It has a controlling effect on salt and water balance and helps control blood pressure. All these functions make cortisol a crucial hormone to protect overall health and well-being.
Problems associated with high cortisol levels can be rapid weight gain in the face, abdomen, and chest. When your body is over stressed, it produces cortisol which instructs your body to hold onto fat (especially the fat around the mid-section), break down muscle and bone, and raise blood sugar, all in preparation for fight or flight.
Reducing stress is the key to keeping cortisol levels under control. Meditation, long walks, warm baths, herbal tea, or socializing with friends are all very effective, especially if practiced daily.
WHAT IS GHRELIN?
If you find yourself in a constant state of hunger, your hormone Ghrelin may be at fault. It is produced in the gut and communicates with the brain when it is time to eat, commonly referred to as the “hunger hormone”. As your stomach empties your Ghrelin levels rise, signaling the brain to consume more food. When your stomach fills, the opposite happens and your brain will receive the signal it is now satiated and time to stop eating. This is why it is important to eat slowly and chew food thoroughly, this gives time for your Ghrelin levels to rise and signal the brain to stop eating.
This hormone also responds to other types of stress besides hunger. Chronic stress from lifestyle factors or lack of sleep can also stimulate the production of Ghrelin causing people to eat for other reasons besides the need for sustenance or recovery. Overeating due to stress and lifestyle is a major contributor to excess weight gain.
Eat smaller meals, chew your food thoroughly, eat slowly to allow time for Ghrelin to signal the brain, aim for high fiber, high-quality protein, and low sugar or no sugar foods or substitutes. These foods will take longer to digest, leaving you feeling fuller and more satisfied. Avoid processed foods and limit sugars to reduce the amount of insulin needed to balance blood sugar levels when consuming high carbohydrate foods.
Lastly, you can reduce Ghrelin levels by reducing stress with long walks, meditation, full nights sleep and regular exercise.
WHAT IS LEPTIN?
Leptin and Ghrelin work in tandem to control your appetite. The body’s fat cells produce Leptin, signaling the brain to stop storing fat. Think of Ghrelin as the gas, and Leptin as the brakes to your built-in appetite and suppression system.
However, if you begin to suffer from excessive weight gain you become more resistant to Leptin requiring the body to produce more to achieve the same results. As Leptin becomes less effective it breaks down your appetite and suppression system, setting you up for runaway weight gain, usually leading to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, insulin resistance, and chronic inflammation.
Consuming a higher percentage of protein to carbohydrates will increase Leptin sensitivity and reducing carbohydrates and triglycerides which impair the transport of Leptin.
WHAT IS TESTOSTERONE?
Testosterone is the main sex hormone found in men. It controls male physical features. The testes (testicles) make testosterone. Women have testosterone too but in much smaller amounts than in men. Testosterone also helps your body burn fat and build muscle. If testosterone levels are low, it becomes nearly impossible to lose weight or build muscle. Testosterone levels are highest by age 20 to 30 and begin to decline around age 30 to 35.
Low testosterone can lead to decreased muscle and bone strength, less energy, lower fertility, decreased libido, excess body fat. Some contributors to low testosterone levels are poor nutrition, serious illness, excess belly or visceral fat, a diet high in sugars, excess alcohol, lack of sleep or proper rest, not enough exercise. Living a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and a good diet helps maintain normal testosterone levels. Over the last 3 decades males have seen a decline in testosterone levels of over 30%. Currently 1 male out of 4 suffer from low testosterone or (Hypogonadism).
Stress has a major impact on testosterone levels, so reducing stress levels is critical. Additionally you can also boost your testosterone by improving diet and sleep habits, or with a medically supervised testosterone replacement therapy program.
WHAT IS GROWTH HORMONE?
Human growth hormone (GH) is a substance that controls your body’s growth. GH is made by the pituitary gland, located at the base of the brain. GH helps children grow taller (also called linear growth), increases muscle mass, and decreases body fat. GH also helps control the body’s metabolism—the process by which cells change food into energy and make other substances that the body needs.
In adults the production of human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) play a vital role in breaking down fat so that it can be used for energy and muscle building. If either of these hormones are low, you may experience runaway weight gain and inability to keep or add muscle.
The best way to naturally boost your own growth hormone levels is with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or Resistance Training Exercises, healthy diet and adequate amounts of sleep and rest. Otherwise there is the option to supplement with peptides. Peptides are naturally occurring short strains of amino acids and serve as building blocks for protein.
WHAT IS MELATONIN?
Melatonin is known as the sleep hormone, but new research shows it also has an impact on weight gain. For example, one study found obese participants who took 5 mg of melatonin nightly for six months reduced their body mass index by 5 percent. In a healthy, normally functioning individual, melatonin is released in a rhythmic cycle, with more melatonin produced in evening when the amount of light entering the eyes is reduced.
Melatonin is essential to signal the start of relaxation and lower body temperature essential for restful sleep. Levels of melatonin are higher at night, signaling the body that it is time to rest.
If you have tried Fad Diets, Cutting Edge Exercise Programs promising a new you without any success, it may be time to take a new approach. At Peak Male Institute we don’t believe in Fad “Die”-t’s, we believe in “Live-It” Programs designed to address the system as a whole. To effectively lose body fat, add or retain muscle, especially as we age, requires a program that addresses a Lifestyle that includes diet, sleep, hormone levels, and exercise. All of these factors are essential in establishing routines that support your bodies processes to achieve optimal health.