If you just can’t seem to get a hold of your eating habits, it could be your hormones are to blame. To help you out, I’m going to share with you some ways hormones affect your eating that you might not know. Sometimes, when you just “can’t stop eating”, or “are always hungry”, as many people say, it’s not you: it’s your hormones! To get some sanity back, and some clarity, check out these ways hormones affect your eating so you can know who’s to blame for those late night binges: you or your hormones.
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One of the ways hormones affect your eating habits is how you sleep. Melatonin is the hormone your body secretes at night and in the morning. It tells you when to fall asleep, and when to wake up. If you have insomnia, and have been eating late at night causing weight gain, you are probably low in melatonin, or if you can’t seem to stay awake, you could be low on melatonin as well. It is easy to solve this problem. All you need to do is buy a 3 mg or 5 mg over the counter supplement, and take it whenever you want to go to sleep. It is non habit forming, is completely safe, and you won’t have any side effects in the morning. It will reset your levels back to normal, which can become off balance when the seasons change, or if you’ve been under stress. Take it for one week, and you’ll go to sleep when you want, preventing that late night eating because you can’t sleep. You also need at least 8 hours a night to maintain a healthy metabolism, so be sure you get it!
Leptin is a hormone naturally produced in your body that actually lets your brain know how much fat you have, and if you need to eat more to keep your body nourished. The key thing about leptin is, different things influence how this hormone communicates with your brain. When leptin levels rise, your appetite decreases, and when leptin levels fall, your appetite increases. You can see how leptin easily affects your appetite and weight, just with this type of communication. So, how do you make sure your leptin stays at a healthy level? Well for starters, know that leptin actually helps your body burn fat, mainly by thermogenesis, which is the heating up of the body to burn calories, mainly in your muscles. Many people develop leptin resistance from a poor diet, or lack of exercise and sleep. So, to make sure your leptin levels are normal, it is important to exercise daily, eat a low glycemic diet, and make sure you get 8 hours of sleep every night. Each of these things ensure that leptin is being properly produced. A diet high in sugars and processed fats, or refined grains causes leptin resistance, where your body can’t sense when it is full as significantly as a diet lower in glycemic spiking carbs can.
Think of the hormone ghrelin as leptin’s sidekick. They work together, but separately if that makes sense. Ghrelin’s job is basically the exact opposite of leptin. Ghrelin tells your brain when you need to eat, when it should stop burning calories and when it should store energy as fat. It is important to get enough sleep each night because when you sleep, ghrelin levels drop in the body since the body needs less energy during this time. If you don’t sleep long enough or well enough to enter deep sleep, your body will produce too much ghrelin. This tells your body it’s hungry when it’s really not, and it needs more calories, though it doesn’t. So, it also stops burning calories because it thinks there is a shortage in your body and it needs to store them instead of burn them for fuel. The best way to keep ghrelin working properly is to just get enough rest each night, with no less than 7 hours minimum.
Estrogen is a tricky hormone. Your fat burning abilities will be affected depending on your cycle, whether have you have entered or been through menopause yet, or how your body is handling estrogen. When women enter menopause, estrogen levels decrease, which causes the body to burn less fat. A diet high in sugars and fat will cause a surge in weight gain during this time as well, usually around the abdominal area. Many women find they crave high fat and high sugar foods during this time due to the actual lack of estrogen, which makes you feel happy, satisfied, and can even halt your appetite. Yet, if you have too much estrogen in your body, the opposite can happen, because it alters your appetite as well, causing you to eat more than normal. Why? The body loses touch with the effects of estrogen because of the huge excess amount of estrogen in the body. ,Estrogen is hard to control since so many things affect it. The best thing to do is eat a healthy diet, get enough exercise, and be sure to keep in touch with your doctor so your estrogen levels can stay monitored.
When you enter menopause, your body starts producing less HGH, which is also called Human Growth Hormone. This happens simultaneously with the reduction in estrogen and the double loss effect can cause a large weight gain, along with depression. HGH acts like an automatic fat burner in the body. It also increases your mood, metabolism, and your muscle growth. While you can take supplemental HGH supplements, I would suggest investigating this thoroughly before going that route. Many supplements and shots out there can be unsafe, or from unreliable sources, so always be careful when trying these alternative methods.
Many of you have heard of insulin by now due to the effects of insulin on our blood sugar levels. Insulin’s role on the body is to utilize glucose efficiently for energy. When you eat a high fat or high sugar meal, insulin levels rise really quickly to push the glucose from the fat and sugar to be absorbed into the muscle tissues so it can be used for energy. When insulin levels rise, it falls just as fast immediately afterwards, or within 30-40 minutes. When this happens, it burdens the liver, and leaves you tired and lacking motivation. Obviously, you can see how over time, this could cause weight gain, but that’s not where the insulin story ends. Over time, if you continue down a high fat, high sugar diet, insulin’s regulation in the body is greatly thrown off course and fat becomes more easily stored in the body at a much faster rate. This alters your blood sugar levels and you’ll automatically start to crave high fat and high sugar foods, just to pick up your energy levels again, starting the whole cycle over.
Testosterone is the hormone we often think of that only occurs in men, however we have it too ladies! Testosterone helps build muscle, and muscle as you know, burns fat. Most of the time, we have less testosterone than estrogen, but we still always have some, even if it is just a little. When we lift weights, testosterone production increases, and helps the body build muscle and burn fat. So, while you shouldn’t overdo it on the weights, you should not be afraid of lifting weights, and you should do it regularly to keep your weight in check, muscles in tip top shape, and to increase your metabolism. Many women with estrogen dominance have significantly low levels of testosterone, while others can be low in estrogen and have too much testosterone. For this scenario, it is important to work with your OB-GYN so you can be sure your hormones are at their optimal level at all points of your life.
If you’ve ever had a hormonal imbalance, you know how miserable it can make you. The easiest way to combat this is to eat a healthy diet that contains protein, low glycemic carbs and lots of vegetables and some fruits if you’re not too sensitive to sugar. You should also be sure to exercise, get plenty of rest, and lift weights at least three times a week. What’s your biggest concern when it comes to your hormones?
Sources: wholeliving.com, more.com
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