Many people struggle to lose weight with no success despite doing all the right things. Although the key to weight loss seems to be simple, there may be other factors that might be playing the villain in your fitness journey.
Hormones support many vital functions within the body, including our ability to maintain muscle, lose body fat, and experience stress and hunger. Therefore, when a hormonal imbalance occurs, it becomes considerably harder to lose weight.
But don’t worry if your progress has plateaued, hormones are not the be-all and end-all for weight loss. Remember to prioritize your food quality and calorie intake to reap the benefits of a healthy diet and create an environment for optimal hormone production.
According to Medichecks, Oestrogen and progesterone are the primary female sex hormones and play essential roles in the regulation of appetite, eating behaviors and energy metabolism. The balance between these hormones can have an impact on fat loss and health, with high Oestrogen causing PMS symptoms, weight gain, and fatigue.
Although a natural occurrence, hormone fluctuations during the menstrual also affect weight loss in females. Women tend to eat significantly more calories during the luteal phase (the days leading up to your period) compared to the follicular phase (starting on the first day of your period) , reflecting the effects of progesterone on the thyroid hormone and consequently the appetite. The increase in hunger in the luteal phase means starting a diet may be a lot harder, so perhaps begin in the follicular phase.
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The natural fluctuation in sex hormones isn’t something we can directly control, but we can control the food we eat and the lifestyle choices we make. By implementing the steps listed below, we can begin to control the potential hormonal imbalances caused by diet, lifestyle, and exogenous oestrogens.
MSc BDA & SENr Registered Nutritionist from Medichecks’ online health Portal said that by implementing the simple steps given below, one will be able to optimize their health for weight loss, weight maintenance, and hormonal balance.
1. IMPROVE YOUR DIET
Following a well-balanced diet focusing on unprocessed produce, lean protein sources, whole grains, and plenty of fruit and vegetables will improve health, encourage hormone production, and reduce the risk of disease prevention [6, 7]. You can find my five tips on how a proper diet can improve a hormone imbalance here.
2. REDUCE EXPOSURE TO EXOGENOUS OESTROGENS
Hormonal imbalances may also be affected by our exposure to exogenous Oestrogens. Eating cruciferous vegetables such as kale may help balance the body’s Oestrogen.
3. MOVE DAILY
Regular physical activity will not only help with regulating calorie balance and weight control but will also reduce stress, risk of hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and improve quality of life. Being inactive and sedentary leads to increased circulating Oestrogen, causing a hormonal imbalance and making weight loss even harder.
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Incorporating stress management into your routine is fundamental to living a balanced life. Activities such as meditation and yoga may not be for everyone, but have studies have shown them to improve anxiety, depression, and pain, as well as decreasing physiological markers of stress, including cortisol, blood pressure, and heart rate .
5. SLEEP WELL
Prioritizing sleep will do wonders for healthy cortisol secretion and weight loss. Studies link poor sleep quality with increased hunger and cravings, leading to a higher daily calorie intake
Improving your diet, increasing your physical activity, and finding ways to manage your stress levels will have a positive impact on your health, body weight, and hormone production.
By focusing on calorie balance and food quality, your body weight will start to drop, and hormone levels should improve. A health check could also help highlight any issues so you can take action before they progress.