Metabolic hormones like leptin control how much we eat. When out of balance, they can cause to gain weight and make losing weight nearly impossible.
Metabolism is a complex process that our body goes through when we eat food and our body changes that into energy.
Ideally, we all want a higher metabolism. But realistically, there is a minimal basal metabolism that we all have. For example, females burn about 1200 to 1400 calories, whereas males burn about 1400 to 1600 daily. However, we can boost our basal metabolism in many ways.
Losing weight can be challenging. The reality is that the model of “eat less and exercise more” has not produced long-term results. Restrictive dieting over time can lead to an increase in body weight because of the phenomenon of body weight called the “body weight setpoint.” The body is programmed to maintain set weight through a myriad of hormones that regulate hunger, calories, and body fat. When restricting calories, the body adjusts by slowing down its metabolism.
For example, a person wishes to lose weight and restricts his calories to 1200 per day. In that case, weight loss is likely to occur initially. Then, however, the body’s hormones will adjust, and that person will only burn 1200 calories a day. When metabolism slows to adapt to our caloric intake, weight loss stops.
Often we see that when a plateau occurs, something else in life comes up. For example, a vacation with excess baggage of calories, alcohol consumption, or a stressful event triggers emotional eating. When our body experiences a caloric intake over what its metabolism can burn, weight gain occurs rapidly. Weight loss followed by weight gain is yo-yo dieting which burdens many people on their journey to wellness and leads to more weight gain.
Before considering any weight loss treatment plan, you should understand that your diet is what you eat every day—a person who is healthy practices consistent daily behaviors.
Boosting metabolic hormones to burn more fat
Your metabolism is unique, just like your fingerprint. Some people metabolize food super fast. For other people, it is a little bit slower. This metabolism of food is essentially your body taking what you have eaten, breaking it down, and converting it into energy. The faster your body does this, the less likely you will store what you have consumed as fat. All fat is essentially stored energy for your body to use later.
Now, the slower your body metabolizes energy, the more likely you are to store it as body fat. Another critical component of metabolism is the BMR or Basal Metabolic rate. This is also unique to us as individuals. Your Basal Metabolic rate is how many calories you need to survive at rest. If you say that your body needs X calories, how will you lose or gain weight? It all hinges on your BMR.
Metabolism relates to losing or gaining body fat and getting leaner. So many people are struggling, and if they knew just these three simple things that they could do to speed it up, they would be a lot more successful in the process.
Limit your meals to three or four meals in a day – Each time you eat, the sugar level in your blood rises. Your body releases insulin that helps store excess sugar as fat. By restricting the number of meals that you consume, you prevent these sugar spikes and fat buildup.
Try Intermittent fasting – When we eat, our bodies go into storage mode. When we are in the fasting state, we are in the fat-burning mode. Another thing that happens in the fasting state is that our body releases chemicals such as adrenaline and noradrenaline. These chemicals attach to those beta two receptors to activate them to signal our bodies to release the stored fat to be burnt for energy. This helps to overcome the alpha-2 to beta-2 receptor ratio.
Secondly, being in the fasting state helps with the blood flow circulation to the lower abdomen. So this tool helps to mobilize the fat in this area to be burnt for energy.
Build more muscles to burn more fat- A pound of muscle uses 50 calories a day. So, suppose you increase your lean muscle mass by ten pounds. In that case, that is an additional 500 calories that your body is going to burn.
The connection between metabolic hormones and weight loss
Over the years, we’ve emotionalized weight loss. So many people blame their physiology on themselves. To treat obesity requires a physiological approach. Indeed, there are emotional components that come into play. We’ve always been told that caloric intake matters, and we need to consume fewer calories and burn additional calories. If we can switch this balance in the right direction, then the weight will come off, and that it is our disability to control our eating and exercising habits. This is a dramatic oversimplification of obesity and weight gain.
Many hormones stop you from losing weight. You may be struggling with your weight issues despite exercising and following a proper diet. This is because many metabolic hormones come into play which slows down or even stops your weight loss. Some of them are:
Insulin helps you prevent yourself from obesity and type 3 diabetes.
What is insulin resistance?
When you eat food digestive system breaks down the carbohydrates and changes them into glucose. The glucose goes into your bloodstream to be used for energy. However, glucose cannot be used for energy if it does not enter the cells. Therefore insulin acts as a key to opening the door of the cells for glucose to enter. But when you have insulin resistance, the gates of the cells do not open easily as they resist insulin. Since the glucose cannot enter the cells and remains in the blood, the blood sugar level remains high and stimulates more insulin release, worsening the situation and trapping you in a vicious circle. However, the good news is that insulin resistance can be reversed.
How to reverse insulin resistance?
You can improve your insulin sensitivity by changing your diet and lifestyle.
- Avoid refined carbs, especially sweet food and drinks, because they spike your blood sugar level and lead to excessive insulin release.
- Avoid eating too frequently because what you eat is essential and when you eat is also crucial. If you have three meals a day and snacks in between, insulin will be continuously released, which can deteriorate your insulin sensitivity.
- Regular Exercise helps in reducing insulin sensitivity.
- Get more sleep because fewer hours of sleep also cause insulin resistance.
The hormone known as Leptin is released by fat cells within your body. This hormone regulates many functions in the body:
- It regulates your appetite
- Metabolic rate.
- Motivation and mood
- Sex drive.
Leptin’s primary job as far as your body composition goes, is to help you maintain healthy body weight. Your brain monitors your body’s leptin levels to understand how much food is being fed to understand if energy is abundant or it is scarce. Your brain then calibrates various physiological systems accordingly. When your leptin levels are high, you feel full, your metabolic rate is high, and you feel elated. However, obese people face difficulty in losing weight because they have a lot of stored fat. Obese people have a lot of Leptin floating around because it is released from fat cells, and they become resistant to Leptin. Your brain then ignores Leptin’s message to turn off hunger and ramp up calorie burning. Even when overweight, your body goes into starvation mode and lowers your metabolism to conserve energy. Hence you cannot lose weight.
How to reverse Leptin resistance?
- The African mango, also contained in some herbal medicines and weight loss supplements, regulates blood glucose and leptin levels.
- Reconnect with nature and go out to get some sunshine as Vitamin D helps in leptin resistance.
- Stay away from stress.
- Get restful and regenerative sleep at night. Eat healthily and avoid sugar and grains.
- Do not eat anything 3 to 4 hours before going to bed.
Cortisol in the body is a hormone that reacts to all kinds of stress. If you experience physical stress, mental stress, losses, trauma, maybe poor eating, all trigger cortisol. Cortisol then changes the body to adapt to all types of stress. People find it difficult to lose weight when they are facing high-stress levels because this is a dominating hormone that can nullify all the other fat-burning hormones.
How to lower cortisol levels in your body?
- Anything that increases the level of growth hormone will help lower cortisol. The release of growth hormone diminishes as you age. However, this hormone activates during sleep. Try getting more sleep or do something to improve your sleep. Then you can help lower your cortisol.
- Vitamin D helps in lowering cortisol, so spend some time in the Sun.
High levels or very low levels of estrogen lead to fattening. This is because estrogen leads to estrogen-sensitive tissues. Estrogen-sensitive tissues lead to more estrogen and fat gain in the area. For women, these areas are usually the waist, belly, buttocks, and a little bit of breast. In the men, we have the waist and the breast tissues. Gynecomastia or male breasts is the result of accumulating fat in the estrogen-sensitive areas.
How to deal with estrogen dominance?
Take care of your liver.
If the liver is not functioning correctly because the thyroid is underactive, estrogen builds up in your body.
Keep your digestion healthy.
If you are struggling with constipation, then too estrogen builds up in the body. Eat healthy for healthy digestion.
Boost your progesterone
If you have normal amounts of estrogen but not enough progesterone, that can also come out as estrogen dominance.
If you are doing everything to lose weight and yet feel flogging a dead horse, you must consider some natural herbs and plant extracts to help balance your metabolic hormones. These natural supplements can help you deal with your physical, mental stress and inability to lose weight due to perturbed hormones.
Mike Dorfman is BS in Biochemistry from the University of Colorado. Mike’s has worked as a personal trainer for Gold’s Gym and helped many clients achieve their weight-loss and fitness goals.
To health first, weight-loss second. Mike and Tetrogen are here to help you make the transition to the healthier, happier, and thinner you!