How to Stop Your See-Sawing Hormones from Ruining Your Weight Loss
Pity your poor hormones. They get blamed for everything. Experiencing mood swings? It’s your hormones. Having hot flashes? It’s those darn hormones. Always feeling tired? It could be your hormones again.
While moodiness, physiological changes, fatigue and many other symptoms are indeed caused by hormonal imbalances, it’s not like your hormones wake up one day and decide to make life difficult for you.
The role of hormones is to keep all your systems stable, balanced and functioning normally – a condition known as homeostasis. Your body craves homeostasis because it means that everything’s okay.
Hormones are produced by glands in your body to regulate many of your body’s functions and behaviours to maintain homeostasis. If, for example, your blood sugar increases after a meal, your pancreas releases insulin to bring your blood sugar levels back into balance.
Homeostasis, Your Hunger Hormones & Weight Loss
Your appetite and weight are kept in homeostasis by hormones too. There are two main hormones that affect when you eat and when you don’t.
Ghrelin is produced when you haven’t eaten in a while and it increases your appetite. Under normal conditions, ghrelin is produced about every four hours, which accounts for the spacing of breakfast, lunch, dinner and your night-time snack.
Leptin tells you when you’re full and blocks your appetite.
When your body is nicely in homeostasis, ghrelin and leptin levels go up and down like a see-saw; when one rises the other falls.
But lots of things can affect homeostasis and that perfect see-saw of leptin and ghrelin. Including your efforts to lose weight.
Regardless of your weight, when your body senses that you’re losing weight, it will reduce your levels of leptin. Your body sees the weight loss as a threat to homeostasis and, potentially, its survival. Lower leptin levels make you feel hungrier, so you eat more. So much more that you might put back on all the weight you lost. It’s why most people who lose weight on a crash diet gain it all back over time.
At the same time as your leptin levels are lowered when you lose weight, your ghrelin levels increase. That produces a double-whammy on your weight loss as it takes more to make you feel full and you’re always hungry.
How to Lose Weight & Maintain Homeostasis
One of the ways to help you lose weight and keep it off is to minimize the effect of your weight loss on your body’s homeostasis. Your body knows that your weight levels can fluctuate somewhat and it won’t set off any alarm bells if you lose weight at a relatively low rate.
Here are just a few ways to keep homeostasis intact while still losing weight.
1. Keep Your Weight Loss Goals Reasonable
Imagine what losing 20 pounds in a month does to your body. That’s probably more than 10% of your body disappearing in a relatively short time. Set more reasonable weight loss goals, and achieve them over time to avoid the type of weight loss that can cause your ghrelin and leptin levels out of whack.
2. Balance Your Diet
In addition to getting your fats, proteins and carbohydrates in proper proportion, try to cut back on simple carbs, like sugars, and get more complex carbs, like whole grains. Protein helps lower ghrelin production and the fibre in complex carbs helps you feel fuller for longer.
3. Supplement as Needed
Even if you set better weight loss goals and eat a healthy, balanced diet, the change in your eating habits can still affect your ghrelin/leptin (and other hormones that regulate your appetite and digestive system) balance and make you feel hungry. The right program of herbal supplements in combination with your balanced diet helps to maintain your body’s homeostasis.
If you would like to find out more about how to lose weight and keep it off, and get the advice and support you need to make it happen, call or visit the nearest Herbal One Centre and speak to a nutritional counsellor.