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The Effects of Hormones and Weight Gain

Posted by Gillian Day BHSc. Comp Med, Adv Dip Nat, AFMCP Grad
The Effects of Hormones and Weight Gain

“I was fine until I had kids.......moved house.........changed jobs. Since then, I’ve never been able to lose weight”

Does this sound familiar?If so, you’re in the right place as this is what I’ve heard daily in my clinical practice. Last week I scratched the surface on some of the reasons why people fail to maintain weight loss or reach a weight loss plateau. The first thing you need to know is that the basic foundation of calories in - exercise out, still applies. If you eat too much junk and you don’t move your body, then stop reading now. But, if you feel like you’ve been doing all the right things, and you’re still finding it hard to lose weight or maintain your weight loss, then keep reading. So what are the hormones at play when we’re talking about weight, how do you know if you have an imbalance, and; what can you do to support them I hear you ask – read on……

Insulin

When you eat - blood sugar rises and when working well, the hormone insulin lowers blood sugar by escorting it in small amounts to your liver, large amounts to your muscles, and tiny or zero amounts to fat storage. When it’s not working well, we call this ‘insulin resistance’. Insulin resistance means, whilst your blood sugar may be normal, but your insulin may be high due to your liver and muscles not responding properly to the insulin that’s made by your pancreas. When this happens, less and less of it will be taken to the liver and the muscles, and more and more of it will get a front row seat to fat conversion. Chromium is a star performer in helping our body use the blood sugar and insulin we make. It’s in my favourite multi to support your blood sugar; Herbs of Gold Glucoplex

Magnesium is the magic mineral needed as well as much research suggests that lowered magnesium status in the body is one of the key causes of insulin resistance. A lot of my clients hate taking pills, so consider Floradix Magnesium Mineral Drink to support your body.

Cortisol

Our beloved stress hormone. We often talk about cortisol in a negative way, however it’s actually critical to our survival, e.g. without cortisol in the morning, we  would struggle to even wake up!

The primal response of the body when cortisol is activated is to store fat, particularly around the middle. Hoarding body fat in this way was really useful for our ancestors as they didn’t know when they were going to get their next meal. However today, food is so very abundant and times of famine are so very rare. We are so good at being in a constant state of stress or fight or flight due to work, family and life commitments which means we're really good at storing fat - obviously all sorts of drama for those of us wanting to lose weight.

Obviously reducing stress in your life is paramount; but for many of us, it takes time and is easier said than done. This is where I see herbs and nutrients really come into their own to help with symptoms like mood swings, feelings of anxiety or overwhelm, insomnia, PMS, sore muscles, no libido – the list goes on!. I urge you to listen to these messages and take action as it is the body giving you warning signals it’s not happy. It's up to you to listen to these signals.

If you’re tired but wired and can't sleep, consider Thompsons Sleep Support as it contains a water-based Kava extract, clinically proven to support anxiety.

If you find you can get to sleep, but can’t stay asleep, we call this maintenance insomnia and it can be linked to your blood sugar levels. Consider Amazonia Raw Slim & Tone protein drink 1 hour before bed.

Licorice is a known adaptogen, which basically means your body will adapt to stress more effectively. Find it in therapeutic amounts in Natures Sunshine Licorice Root.

Thyroid

Our hormonal/endocrine system performs similar to an orchestra, and every orchestra requires a conductor. Enter the thyroid gland, who’s primary role is to conduct and communicate how other hormones should stay in tune with the other instruments, aka, hormones in our delicate endocrine orchestra. Stress and prolonged levels of high cortisol can make your thyroid sluggish which slows down your metabolism. Are you constipated, always feel cold - particularly in the hands and feet, are your muscles sore, do you have dry skin and brittle hair or nails? These are just some of the signs that your thyroid gland isn't happy. If this is the case then you need zinc, iodine and selenium in therapeutic ranges to help you not only build thyroid hormones, but convert them to active thyroid hormone your body can actually use. Find all 3 in Carussos Thyroid Manager.

Oestrogen

At healthy levels, oestrogen actually helps keep us lean by supporting the production and utilisation of insulin in the body. However, when oestrogen is too high or too low, it can turn us into a weight-gain machine. As oestrogen levels climb, the cells that produce insulin become strained, and you can become insulin resistant. To support healthy levels of oestrogen in the body, you need healthy detoxification. Super Sprout Broccoli Powder is 1 of my favourite products for this very purpose.

Leptin

How awesome is leptin? We didn’t even know it existed 25 years ago, yet it is so incredibly important when we’re talking about weight. Leptin is a hormone produced by our fat cells that tells us,

  1. we’re full &
  2. how much energy we’re spend

Low levels of leptin make us want to eat more and slow down our metabolism, making it tricky for us to, you guessed it ‘lose weight’. Interestingly, the more fat cells we have and the more fat we carry in the body, the more leptin we will have too. However, when you have too much of any hormone in your body, including leptin – we become ‘resistant’ to the message of the hormone and with leptin, this means you won’t get the message to stop eating. A diet that’s rich in fibre and omega 3 fats will help. Melrose Organic Omega Fibre will help power this process in your body and is 1 of our top sellers.

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