HERE ARE 4 WAYS OF KICKING YOUR FAT-BURNING HORMONES INTO GEAR:
Most people have a demanding job, family obligations, and other responsibilities that limit their free time. When we’re in a constant state of hurry, our brain will kick into “fight or flight” mode, producing feelings of anxiety, depression, exhaustion and irritability.
What does all this stress do? It releases the nasty hormone, cortisol.
Among other things, cortisol drives up our appetite, particularly for foods that are sweet (read: sugar), and saturated with “bad carbs.” When we oblige these impulses, our insulin levels briefly spike – and then plummet. The cycle repeats itself until the body and mind are in a relaxed state.
“Stress fat” is a term commonly used in the medical community. This fat also tends to settle in our bellies.
2. GET INTO A SLEEP ROUTINE
Aside from changing us into the cantankerous version of oneself, inadequate sleep and/or lack of a sleep routine (both are usually present) can negatively alter the balance of hormones responsible for metabolism and eating habits.
The participants, following the short-term sleeping period, “(had) total-body insulin response decreased by an average of 16 percent. The insulin sensitivity of fat cells decreased by 30 percent.”
Insulin, more than any other hormonal or physiological factor, affects the body’s ability to absorb or convert fat. When this hormone is not properly functioning, we’re more prone to storing fat than converting it.
3. SWITCH NUTRITIONAL HABITS
It’s not surprising that diet can influence hormones. A diet high in fresh fruits and veggies, low-fat dairy, and whole grains can help.
Cortisol and blood sugar are the main reasons here. A high-fiber diet can stabilize blood sugar – peas, beans, lentils, broccoli and brussels sprouts are all excellent sources of fiber. Stay away from complex carbs such as white bread and pasta.
When our blood sugar is stable, the brain is able to function properly; this helps to mitigate the side effects that often result from low blood sugar, such as dizziness, headache, brain fog, anxiety, and nervousness. Thus, the all-important cortisol hormone doesn’t invade our bodies.
4. MOVE IT!
Again, nothing really groundbreaking here. Exercise is seemingly an anecdote to just about every physical and mental ailment, and optimizing your fat-burning hormones is no exception.
“Your muscles are loaded with insulin receptors. The more muscle mass you have and the more heat you generate from your muscles on a regular basis, the more efficiently you’ll use insulin and burn carbohydrates and body fat,” explains Dr. Christiane Northrup in her book Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom and The Wisdom of Menopause.
Again, contrary to popular belief – and mounting scientific evidence – it is not necessary to train like a tri-athlete. 45 minutes of light-to-moderate exercise, 3 days per week (minimum), is enough activity to stimulate and maintain balances of insulin.