When you hear the word ‘hormone’ you might think about sex, the menstual cycle and menopause. But did you know that about e-v-e-r-y proces in the human body is regulated by hormones?For example, they regulate the growing proces, our metabolism and immunesystem. But did you know they also rule our appetite and how much energy our body uses? They regulate the degree in which we gain or lose muscle and they also regulate the degree in which the body stores energy as fat. Therefore hormones are playing a big role when it’s about gaining or losing weight.
Hormones are regulatory biochemicals that are produced in our glands and which are transported by the circulatory system (bloodstream) throughout our entire body. As said before they regulate all different kinds of processes in the human body.
The hypothalamus (part of the brain) ‘measures’ the amount of hormone in our body. If neccesary the hypothalamus sends signals to our glands to stimulate or to decrease the production of hormones. In a ‘healthy’ body the hormone levels are in balance. But this balance is easily disturbed…
Hormones and overweight
As described earlier, hormones play a big role when it comes to gaining or losing weight. The hormone insulin is involved in this proces, which is produced by the pancreas. The mainfunction of insulin is to maintain our blood sugar. To illustrate: if you eat something that boosts your bloodsugarlevels than the pancreas comes in action and starts producing insulin. The insulin picks up the sugar from our bloodstream to bring back the balance to our bloodsugar.
If you eat too much products high in sugar every day, your body will eventually react slower to insuline and pick up less sugar from the bloodstream, with the result that your body will produce even more insulin. In turn, your body will react even more slowly to the insulin, and a vicious circles arises and your body will store the energy as fat…
Not only insulin is an important hormone when it comes to our bodyweight and the development of overweight. Other hormones such as estrogen, testosteron, progesterone, growth hormone, cortisol, leptin and grehlin are important factors to consider!
Out of balance
It’s noteworthy to state that our hormones are easily knocked out of balance by factors such as our nutrition (or malnutrition), exercise (exessive exercise or the lack of…), stress, lack of sleep or irregular sleep and the intake of different kinds of toxins (for example the toxins in tabacco when smoking).
Hormones, nutrition and lifestyle.
Nutrition is a factor that can easily bring our hormones out of balance. One big problem is that many foodproducts contains (loads of..) sugar and carbs. By an exessive use of high sugared products we exhaust our pancreas and our body will store the sugars as fat. Another problem is that many products are highly manufactured and far from natural. They contain all kinds of toxins and substances (such as pesticides) that have a bad influence on our hormonal balance. They can have a similar effect as estrogen and therefore outbalancing the levels of our natural estrogen in our body. Too much estrogen makes us fat…
Stress is also a factor of great influence to hormonal disbalance. Stress stimulates the production of cortisol, which brakes down muscletissue. Muscles are important for our metabolism; losing muscletissues slows down the metabolism which means our body stores more fat!
Tips for a healthy lifestyle and balanced and happy hormones
Please note that this is just a small list with a few tips that I find most useful.
- Eat natural foods, as nature intended (fresh fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds, meat, fish, etc). Eat a varied diet.
- Try avoiding high sugared and processed foods (Don’t understand the ingredients on the package? Don’t eat it!)
- Try avoiding ‘fast carbs’ (foods with a low Glycemic Index)
- Avoid toxins as much as possible: don’t smoke, easy on the alcohol, coffee and black tea, avoid chemical edditions (E-numbers)…
- Avoid stress (also as in foodallergies, they ‘stress’ the body!). Take time to relax and breathe well (yoga) and make sure you have enough sleep.
- Exercise on a regular basis, but don’t overdo it. There’s no need for hours and hours of cardio training, this Will only stress your body! Pick up some dumbells and also train your muscles!
Love, E ♥
Note; this article is far from complete! Hormones are a complex matter, but I’ve tried to describe some headlines as simple as possible to give an insight in the relationships between hormones, nutriti0n and overweight/weightloss.
Want to read more about this subject? (Dutch literature)
- De Hormoonfactor by Ralph Moorman
- Een gezonde eter voelt zich beter by Irene Lelieveld en Monique Hundscheid
- De houdbare vrouw by Pim Christiaans and Hanny Roskamp