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What causes us to gain weight. How to balance the main hormones in the body

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When our HORMONES are normal, then everything is in order with our weight. Hormonal imbalance is one of the reasons why we gain weight.

Losing weight isn't just about healthy eating. It is also important that your hormones are balanced. Although losing weight can be difficult, the task can be much more difficult if you have a hormonal imbalance. Hormones control many reactions and functions such as metabolism, inflammation, menopause, glucose uptake, and others.

Hormones that make us gain weight

Stress, age, genetic predisposition, an unhealthy lifestyle that slows down metabolism, leads to indigestion, uncontrolled hunger and, ultimately, extra pounds can upset the balance of hormones  .

What hormones are most likely to cause us to gain weight, and what can be done to balance them?

1. Thyroid hormones

The thyroid gland, located at the base of the neck, produces three hormones: T3, T4, and calcitonin. These hormones regulate metabolism, sleep, heart rate, growth, brain development, and more.

Sometimes the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones, leading to hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism, in turn, is accompanied by weight gain, depression, constipation, fatigue, high cholesterol, and a slow heart rate. There can be many reasons, from gluten intolerance to poor diet and harmful environmental substances.

In fact, hypothyroidism leads to water retention, not fat retention, which makes you appear fuller .

If excess weight is associated with an imbalance of the thyroid gland, you are more likely to gain about 2-5 kg.

How to normalize the hormonal imbalance of the thyroid gland?

  • Check your thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and T3 and T4 levels and consult your doctor
  • Avoid eating raw vegetables and favor well-cooked meals
  • Eat iodized salt
  • Include zinc-rich foods such as pumpkin seeds in your diet
  • It is recommended to consume fish oil and vitamin D.

2. Insulin

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps regulate blood glucose levels. If you are overweight or even “lean fat”, that is, visceral fat accumulates around your organs, this means that insulin, the glucose regulator in your body, is out of balance, which makes it difficult for you to lose weight .

If you also like to eat sweets during the day, your insulin is overworking, trying to get rid of sugar in the blood. The remaining excess sugar is stored as fat.

The habit of eating processed foods, the abuse of alcohol and artificially sweetened drinks can also lead to insulin resistance.

How to normalize insulin resistance?

  • Check your blood sugar regularly
  • Exercise 4 hours a week
  • Avoid alcohol, late snacks, processed foods, artificially sweetened foods
  • Eat more green leafy vegetables, seasonal vegetables (4-5 servings per day) and seasonal fruits (3 servings per day)
  • Include nuts, olive oil, oily fish, and flaxseed in your diet to improve your omega-3 fatty acid levels
  • Focus on low-calorie foods (2000 - 2200 calories per day) that are rich in nutrients
  • Drink 3-4 liters of water a day.

3. Leptin

Under normal circumstances, the hormone leptin tells you when you're full and should stop eating. But by overeating sugar-rich foods such as candy, chocolate, fruits, and processed foods, excess fructose is converted into fat, which is stored in the liver, stomach, and other parts of the body.

Now the fat cells begin to produce leptin, and the more sugar you consume, the more leptin is produced. The body becomes less sensitive to leptin, and the brain stops receiving signals that you are full. This often leads to excess weight.

How to lower leptin levels?

  • You need complete rest. Research has shown that sleep deprivation can lower leptin levels, causing the brain to miss signals that it's time to stop eating. Sleep 7-8 hours a day.
  • Eat every 2 hours.
  • Avoid sugary processed foods, eat no more than 3 servings of fruit a day, dark leafy vegetables, and snack on healthy foods
  • Remember to drink water, as dehydration can also make you feel hungry.

4. Ghrelin

This hormone is known as the "hunger hormone" and it stimulates appetite and increases fat storage. It is produced mainly by the stomach, and in small amounts in the small intestine, brain and pancreas. High levels of ghrelin in the blood can lead to weight gain, and obese people are more sensitive to this hormone.

Moreover, ghrelin levels rise when a person is on a strict diet or fasts.

How to lower ghrelin levels?

  • Eat every 2-3 hours
  • Eat 6 meals a day
  • Eat fresh fruits, vegetables, proteins, more fiber and healthy fats
  • Drink 1.5 glasses of water 20 minutes before meals
  • Lead an active lifestyle.

5. Estrogen

This is a very important hormone for women. Both high and low estrogen levels can lead to excess weight.

Elevated levels of estrogen are often due to excess production of this hormone by ovarian cells, which is associated with eating foods containing estrogen. This is primarily the meat of animals that are fed with steroids, hormones and antibiotics that mimic estrogen.

When estrogen levels rise, the cells that produce insulin are stressed. This in turn leads to insulin resistance in the body. Glucose levels rise, leading to weight gain.

There may be another case where premenopausal women have low levels of estrogen , and ovarian cells produce less of this hormone.

In order to get enough estrogen, the body starts looking for other cells that produce estrogen, and fat cells become such a source. The body converts all energy sources into fat to replenish glucose levels. The result is often extra weight, especially in the lower body.

How to maintain estrogen levels?

  • Avoid eating prepared meat products (sausages, sausages)
  • Limit your alcohol intake
  • Get regular physical activity. You can try yoga to relieve stress.
  • Include more fiber-rich foods, fresh vegetables and fruits in your menu.

6. Cortisol

Cortisol is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It is mainly produced when we are stressed, depressed, anxious, nervous, angry or physically injured.

If you are often under stress, the amount of cortisol in your body rises, you start eating more and more often, which is why you gain extra pounds.

It is known that people who are overweight around the waist produce more of the hormone cortisol during periods of stress.

How to lower cortisol levels?

  • Make a to-do list and mark the ones you have already completed.
  • The best way to reduce stress is to take time for yourself. Take up a hobby that you have long dreamed of, learn something new, read a book, watch your favorite movie.
  • Spend more time with family and friends. Nothing compares to spending time with someone who doesn't judge you and wants the best for you.
  • Take a break from your daily routine and do something you've never done before.
  • Stop worrying about what others think.
  • Dedicate one hour to deep breathing, yoga, or meditation to reduce stress.
  • Take magnesium and vitamin B supplements
  • Sleep 7-8 hours a day
  • Avoid alcohol, processed and fried foods.

7. Testosterone

Testosterone helps burn fat, strengthens bones and muscles, and improves libido. In women, it is also produced in small amounts, but stress and age reduce the level of this hormone.

At the same time, low testosterone leads to osteoporosis, muscle loss, obesity, and causes depression.

This can increase stress and inflammation levels in the body and lead to fat accumulation.

How to balance testosterone levels?

  • Check your testosterone levels
  • Include more fiber-rich foods in your diet, such as flaxseeds, prunes, pumpkin seeds, whole grains
  • Exercise to boost testosterone levels and speed up your metabolism
  • Take Vitamin C, Probiotics, and Magnesium to Prevent Constipation
  • Limit alcohol intake as it harms the liver and kidneys
  • Zinc and protein-rich foods also increase testosterone levels.

8. Progesterone

The hormones progesterone and estrogen need to be in balance for your body to function properly.

Progesterone levels can drop during menopause, stress, the use of birth control pills, the consumption of foods containing antibiotics, and hormones that are converted into estrogen in our body.

This can lead to overweight and depression.

How to balance progesterone levels?

  • Avoid eating processed meats
  • Get regular exercise
  • Practice deep breathing
  • Avoid stressful situations.

9. Melatonin

Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland, which helps maintain circadian rhythms, in other words, sleep and wake times.

Melatonin levels rise from evening until late at night and fall in the morning. When you sleep in a dark room, melatonin levels rise and your body temperature drops. At this time, growth hormone begins to be produced, helping your body recover, improve your constitution, help build lean muscle mass, and increase bone density.

With jet lag and lack of sleep, stress levels rise, leading to weight gain caused by inflammation.

How to increase the level of melatonin?

  • Sleep in a dark room
  • Try to sleep 7-8 hours a day
  • Don't eat late at night
  • Turn off all gadgets before going to bed
  • Eat more almonds, cherries, cardamom, coriander and sunflower seeds as they contain melatonin.

10. Glucocorticoids

Inflammation is the beginning of the recovery process. However, chronic inflammation has adverse consequences, one of which may be excess weight.

Glucocorticoids help reduce inflammation. They regulate the use of sugar, fat and protein in our body, help break down fats and proteins, but reduce the use of glucose and sugar as energy.

Sugar levels rise, which in turn can lead to obesity and even diabetes.

How to lower the level of glucocorticoids?

  • Get rid of physical and mental stress to reduce inflammation in the body
  • Eat fresh leafy vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and sources of healthy fats: nuts, seeds, olive oil, fish oil
  • Sleep 7-8 hours
  • Drink 3-4 liters of water a day
  • Engage in physical activity on a regular basis
  • Go for long walks to organize your thoughts
  • Spend time with loved ones and make time for yourself
  • Seek professional help if you are suffering from depression or anxiety.

The articles on our site are for informational purposes only. Before use, it is recommended to consult with your doctor.


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