When your hormones are perfectly balanced…you’ll start feeling and looking better.
While everyone is counting calories, points, and tracking steps you’ll be focusing your energy on your hormones.
What really matters.
Sure calories matter, exercise matters, your habits definitely matter, but when it comes to a fat-burning metabolism, the only thing that really matters are your HORMONES.
In the past you’ve probably been told in order to lose weight, you need to address your eating, exercise more, eat less, exercise less, etc…
This might blow your mind, but being overweight has very little to do food, exercise, sleep, stress, or your habits.
For most women, the reason you have more fat than you’d like is because of an imbalance in one or more of the 9 hormones listed below.
The Nine Hormones That Decide Whether You Have a Fast Metabolism or a Slow Metabolism
Hormone #1: Insulin
What Does it Do: Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use sugar (glucose) from carbohydrates in the food that you eat for energy or to store glucose for future use. Insulin helps keeps your blood sugar level from getting too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia).
Insulin is often described as a “key,” which unlocks the cell to allow sugar to enter the cell and be used for energy.
If you have more sugar in your body than it needs, insulin helps store the sugar in your liver and releases it when your blood sugar level is low or if you need more sugar, such as in between meals or during physical activity. Therefore, insulin helps balance out blood sugar levels and keeps them in a normal range. As blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas secretes more insulin.
How it Causes Weight Gain: Insulin increases the storage of fat in fat cells and prevents the cells from releasing it for energy.
How it Helps You Lose Weight: Simply put, keeping your blood glucose level in check (i.e., below 110 mg/dl) will cause your body to consistently burn more stored fat. A diet replete with good protein and carbohydrate sources will minimize insulin spikes, increase glucagon, and ultimately promote less fat storage, all other factors being equal.
Hormone #2: Ghrelin
What Does it Do: The ghrelin hormone is released primarily from cells in the stomach and travels to the brain. There, it interacts with both the hypothalamus (the brain’s physiological eating center) and the brain’s pleasure centers to arouse hunger.
How it Causes Weight Gain: Ghrelin stimulates the brain, which leads to an increase in appetite, and it slows metabolism and decreases the body’s ability to burn fat. Ghrelin also favors the amassing of fatty tissue in the abdominal area. In experiments, people who got injections of ghrelin before a buffet meal ate 30 percent more than a group of eaters not given extra ghrelin.
How it Helps You Lose Weight: If you want to lose weight you want less ghrelin, so you don’t get hungry. If you want to gain weight, say if you’re scrawny, then you want more ghrelin — or at least you want it to stay high as you eat, so you’ll want to eat more.
The best way to keep ghrelin low is to eat high-quality foods in the right macronutrient ratios. I teach the 33/33/33 macro-balancing principle that promotes a flexible, sustainable, and enjoyable way of eating.
You can learn more about that on the next page.
Hormone #3: Glucagon
What Does it Do: Glucagon’s main job is to keep blood glucose from dipping too low by making sure the liver releases enough glucose.
How it Causes Weight Gain: Insulin has a sister hormone, and its name is glucagon. It’s a critical component of your fat-burning biochemistry.
When blood sugar is low, and you need more energy, (but food isn’t available), glucagon is secreted. Its purpose is the exact opposite of insulin’s. Glucagon goes into the cells and causes fat to be released. And it does so with the help of a fat-burning enzyme called hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL).
Much like glucagon is the “opposite” of insulin, HSL is the “opposite” of LPL, the fat-storing enzyme we spoke of earlier. HSL breaks down triglycerides (the form of fat stored in your cells) into fatty acids and glycerol, so as they travel around the bloodstream they can be burned for energy or excreted
This glucagon-HSL axis is what I call the “fat-burning switch.”
How it Helps You Lose Weight: Glucagon can actually raise your blood sugar by converting glycerol in your fat cells into glucose for fuel. Glucagon also signals the fat cells to release free fatty acids (a process called lipolysis). Glucagon signals the body to release stored fat to be used as fuel.
Numerous research studies illustrate the effects of these two opposing hormones. The simplest of these was featured in the Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology. In the study, researchers injected one group of rats with insulin and another group of rats with glucagon.
The rats that received the insulin gained body fat and ate more. The rats that received the glucagon lost body fat. Glucagon is essential for breaking down body fat and burning it for energy.
Since glucagon signals the body to release stored fat, the best way to regulate it is to reduce insulin by eating plenty of protein, healthy fats, and the right carbs in the right ratios.
Carb-cycling is essential for losing weight and still being able to enjoy carbs. Learn how carb-cycling will help you drop easily lose stubborn belly fat.
Hormone #4: Leptin
What Does it Do: If you have no control over your appetite, you could have a leptin problem. Leptin is secreted by your fat cells and manages how much fat is stored around the organs and skin. When fat cells are filled with an abundance of food, more leptin is secreted, and the leptin enters your brain to stop your hunger signals, controlling your appetite.
Leptin helps leave you full and satisfied.
Fat cells produce leptin in proportion to body-fat levels: the more fat you have, the more it makes leptin.
It enters the bloodstream via your circulatory system. Leptin binds to protein in the blood, and when leptin reaches capillaries in the brain, it travels across the blood-brain barrier, binding to leptin receptors on the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus. Leptin lets your hypothalamus know when it’s time for you to stop eating, then it increases your metabolic rate in order to achieve energy balance (known as homeostasis).
Conversely, leptin also tells us when to eat – when you have less body fat, less leptin signals the brain, and you get the message “I’m hungry!”
Leptin is the satiety hormone produced by fat cells, so it would seem logical that those with more fat cells would produce more Leptin, which would signal the body to eat less food and weight would normalize. This over-simplified idea is great in theory, but doesn’t always occur, especially in those with damaged metabolisms or endocrine problems (which includes most overweight people).
How it Causes Weight Gain: If you’re eating low-fat foods, refined carbs, sugars, and polyunsaturated fats leptin levels become imbalanced and you’re body will continue to “beg” for food. You’ll continue to eat poor-quality foods, which will lead to consistent fat storage.
How it Helps You Lose Weight: When you eat fruits, vegetables, gluten-free grans, adequate protein, and saturated fats leptin will effortlessly communicate to your brain that you are full and satisfied.
In order to lose belly fat you need to reset your leptin sensitivity. The 3-Week Metabolic Diet Challenge is designed to keep inflammation and triglycerides low by limiting fructose, eliminating toxins, and reducing food rewards and cravings, all of which reset leptin levels and allow for effortless weight loss.
Hormone #5: Human-Growth Hormone
What Does it Do: The body naturally produces growth hormone (HGH or simply GH) in the pituitary gland, and, as its name implies, it is responsible for cell growth and regeneration. Increasing muscle mass and bone density are impossible without GH, but it also plays a major role in maintaining the health of all human tissue, including that of the brain and other vital organs.
How it Causes Weight Gain: Growth hormone leads to weight gain when it is too low. Lack of quality sleep, lack of exercise, and insufficient protein leads to decreased growth hormone.
How it Helps You Lose Weight: Two major factors that contribute to increased GH levels are ones you can control without drugs: weight training and proper sleep. The more you exercise, the more GH you release naturally. A recent study observed significant increases in circulating GH and IGF-1 after intense resistance exercise in a group of trained men but found no significant diferences in untrained men who performed the same workout. GH is also secreted while you sleep, and studies have shown a spike in GH levels at the onset of deep sleep, so getting the recommended seven to nine hours per night is essential to maintaining GH. Diet is the third major factor in keeping GH levels topped of.
It’s necessary to eat a balanced diet. Eating to stay lean is also key; fat gain leads to low levels of GH.
I have a great fat loss presentation I made for you specifically about to how to increase growth hormone using a specific form of metabolic training and diet plan. You can learn about how Juanita transformed her body in 9 weeks with The Flat Belly System.
Hormone #6: Progesterone
What Does it Do: Progesterone is one of the hormones in our bodies that stimulates and regulates various functions. Progesterone plays a role in maintaining pregnancy. The hormone is produced in the ovaries, the placenta (when a woman gets pregnant) and the adrenal glands. It helps prepare your body for conception and pregnancy and regulates the monthly menstrual cycle. It also plays a role in sexual desire.
How it Causes Weight Gain: Your estrogen to progesterone ratio is the most important thing to remember when looking at progesterone and weight loss. The main cause of hormone-related health problems in women is not due to the absolute deficiency of estrogen or progesterone but rather the relative dominance of estrogen and relative deficiency of progesterone. Estrogen excess may result in such common maladies as depression, weight gain insomnia, anxiety, blood sugar imbalance, migraine headaches, and chronic fatigue due to adrenal gland exhaustion.
Moreover, stress can result not only in adrenal gland exhaustion, but reduced progesterone output and increased estrogen production.
Too much estrogen turns more calories into fat. Fat cells make more estrogen, and estrogen causes more growth of fatty tissue. This excess fat usually builds up around the abdomen. Estrogen dominance can also cause a release of excess insulin. Too much insulin can lead to sugar cravings that are difficult to ignore.
How it Helps You Lose Weight: Progesterone Helps Your Thyroid Hormones Function More Efficiently. When you have low levels of progesterone your liver produces excess amounts of a protein called Thyroid Binding Globulin (TBG). This TBG binds to the the thyroid hormones your body makes. This basically means it blocks, or ties up the hormone so that it is not able to be utilized properly by your body. The net effect of this is a form of Hypothyroidism that some refer to as Type 2 Hypothyroidism, which does not show up on blood tests since the problem is within your cells rather than in your blood.
Progesterone Lowers Insulin Levels. Insulin is affected by hormone imbalance, and estrogen dominance can lead to the release of excess insulin. Increases in insulin can lead to sugar cravings that can be hard to control. This is why many women crave chocolate or other sweets during PMS. It’s all making sense now isn’t it?
Progesterone is a very important for losing fat and avoiding estrogen dominance.
Hormone #7: T3
What Does it Do: The thyronines act on the body to increase the basal metabolic rate, affect protein synthesis and increase the body’s sensitivity to catecholamine’s (such as adrenaline). The thyroid hormones are essential to proper development and differentiation of all cells of the human body. These hormones also regulate protein, fat, and carbohydrate metabolism, affecting how human cells use energetic compounds.
Thyroid hormone has actions beyond metabolism and keeping you fit: it provides energy, improves thinking abilities, boosts the immune system against infections and cancer, decreases bad cholesterol, and lowers blood pressure.
How it Causes Weight Gain: Low-fat diets lead to a disturbance of insulin, leptin, and T3 levels, which slows down your metabolism, lowers your body temperature, and decreases nutrient absorption.
Strict low-carb diets lower the conversion of T4 to T3, reducing thyroid function.
Both low-fat and low-carb diets are disastrous for your health and will never help you get fat-burning metabolism.
A very serious condition called hypothyroidism or inactivity of the thyroid has a number of symptoms like fatigue, gain in weight abnormally, metabolic disorders like drop in metabolic rate.
How it Helps You Lose Weight: T3 is your active thyroid hormone, which decides whether you have a fast or slow metabolism. If you block the production of T3 you will store fat, so your goal is to increase your T4 to T3 production to promote a fast metabolism and increased weight loss.
The best way to boost T3 is to eat thyroid promoting foods, perform high-intensity metabolic training, and avoid inflammatory foods.
Hormone #8: Cortisol
What Does it Do: The main stress hormone. Otherwise known as the “fight or flight” hormone. In small amounts it keeps you alive, but in today’s stress-filled society, cortisol tends to be in excess. In the right amounts cortisol increases energy and reduces inflammation.
How it Causes Weight Gain: Excess cortisol reduces the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone secreted by the pineal gland. A drop in melatonin means a drop in sleep quality and even insomnia. Decreased sleep leads to a decrease in HGH, the hormone that helps you fit and young.
How it Helps You Lose Weight: Cortisol, when controlled by eating high-quality foods, sleeping enough, and managing stress plays a important role in weight loss. Cortisol can boost energy levels and increase T3 production, resulting in an increased fat-burning metabolism.
Hormone #9: DHEA
What Does it Do: DHEA, a steroid hormone made in the adrenal glands and brain is one of the most plentiful hormones in the body.
DHEA is well-known to improve your well-being, boost energy levels, fight depression, and plays a role in weight management.
How it Causes Weight Gain: Decreased DHEA is associated with obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, and accelerates aging. DHEA is also a major precursor to estrogen and testosterone, which are important hormones that regulate several metabolic functions.
How it Helps You Lose Weight: DHEA naturally increases serotonin, which tells your brain when you’ve had enough to eat and inhibits the conversion of glucose to fat. DHEA also protects against arteriosclerosis and improves insulin sensitivity.
How to FIX your hormones and start losing weight today:
1.) Eat a hormone-balancing diet. The nutritional principles in The 3-Week Metabolic Fat Loss Challenge, which is low in sugar, high in good fats, and high in fiber, can help balance hormones.
2.) Limit or remove inflammatory foods. Excess inflammation can compromise liver and kidney function, which inhibit detoxification and create hormonal imbalances, high triglycerides and fatty liver. The majority of inflammation comes from eating inflammatory foods. Avoid these if you want to balance your hormones.
3.) Get moving. Exercise helps balance hormones, reducing estrogen and increasing growth hormone, testosterone, which helps you lose fat and build muscle.
4.) Stay consistent. Even the best program is useless if you aren’t consistent and committed to making the necessary changes to transform your health and body.
5.) Sleep well and control your stress. Even though sleep and stress don’t have any calories or nutrients, they are extremely important when it comes to balance your hormones.
The Hormone-Balancing Diet You Need To Start Today
I created a unique diet challenge called The 3-Week Metabolic Fat Loss Challenge after seeing so many of my clients struggle with dead-end diets.
Most diets restrict calories, provide bad exercise advice, and make healthy eating impossible and miserable. Not the 21-day plan I designed that helps you balance your hormones, boost fat-burning hormones, and helps you lose 9-21 pounds in 21 days, just like Crystal did:
You can read about her journey and many others by watching the free fat loss presentation here:
Keeping your fat-burning hormones working for you instead of working against you,
Holistic Nutritionist and CPT
P.S. Your hormones dictate how healthy you are, how thin you are, how much energy you have, and even how happy you are. Why wouldn’t you want to optimize every aspect of your hormonal health using the best and most effective hormonal focused programs out there? Make the smart choice and focus on your health, hormones, and metabolism!