Losing weight is not an exact science. It's different for everyone because everyone is different. However, we all probably know that losing weight means we have to be in some type of calorie deficit for an extended period of time. Calories in versus calories out, right? But, according to Alan Hopkins, MD, Medical Director of Texas Metabolic Centers in Austin, TX, successful weight loss is not just about reducing calories, it’s also about regulating hormones that contribute to weight gain and a slowed down metabolism.
“Stress, sleep problems, and the typical Western diet lead to significant hormone abnormalities,” Hopkins said. “These hormones, principally, insulin, produced by the pancreas, and cortisol, produced by our adrenal glands, are ‘fat fertilizers.’ When present in excess, the body’s metabolism is disrupted, leading to feelings of fatigue and irritability, and ultimately, weight gain.”
Below are three tips to help you keep your hormones regulated while you are working towards your weight-loss goals. If you’re not already on a nutrition plan, be sure to stop by your local NUTRISHOP store to speak with experienced nutrition coaches who can help you get on the right meal plan for your goals.
Get More ZZZs
Lately, we keep hearing the benefits of sleeping more, but are we really listening? Sleep deprivation reduces alertness, increases your risk for disease, messes with your hormones, and worse, increases weight gain. Whereas, “proper sleep allows for essential hormones to reset and function optimally,” explained Dr. Hopkins.
One example, he said, is cortisol, which is the get-up-and-go hormone that’s typically excreted at low levels while you sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, cortisol will elevate. Increased levels of cortisol mean increased levels of insulin, which can ultimately lead to abdominal fat storage. Ugh! So aim for eight hours of sleep each night.
Reduce Stress in Your Life
Stress boosts cortisol, which can make your body store fat and lower your metabolism. Get this: a study published in Biological Psychiatry showed that when women experienced stressful events before a high-fat meal, their metabolisms slowed way down and it took their bodies much longer to burn calories and fat. Yikes!
So, reducing stress is very important, but not with comfort foods. Find a more productive way to de-stress like yoga, meditation, or even a hot bath. Whatever you do, make sure that you never ever stress eat, because that can make things, both physically and emotionally.
Try HIIT Workouts
High-Intensity Interval Training is still wildly popular because you can exercise in a shorter amount of time and achieve greater benefits than you would from a steady, longer workout. When muscles are stimulated through vigorous exercise such as HIIT, it releases hormones that help build more muscle mass. Building muscle mass is crucial in that the more muscle you develop, the more calories you’ll burn – and the faster your metabolism will run, even while you are at rest. Traditional cardio at a steady pace might be a great way to get in some physical activity, but it is not a great way to rev up metabolism.