Posts Tagged With: insulin

Hormones that Hinder Weight Loss

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Hello wellness friends. I have not forgotten about you. I hope you are sticking with your program and working out/eating well. Tonight I wanted to talk about hormones. When we think of metabolism, some don’t think that our hormones tell our bodies to lose weight or gain weight. So, it is not simply calories in and calories out all the time. If our hormones are out of whack, we can exercise and workout and gain weight! Let’s start with some definitions.

Disclaimer: I am not a physician. I am a scientist. This site is not set up to diagnose or treat any illness. Consult your Primary Care Physician (PCP) or Endocrinologist (specializing in treating metabolic disorders).

Hormone: A chemical substance produced in the body that controls and regulates the activity of certain cells or organs. Many hormones are secreted by special glands, such as thyroid hormone produced by the thyroid gland. Hormones are essential for every activity of life, including the processes of digestion, metabolism, growth, reproduction, and mood control. Many hormones, such as neurotransmitters, are active in more than one physical process (MedicineNet.com).

Metabolism: The whole range of biochemical processes that occur within a living organism. Metabolism consists of anabolism (the buildup of substances) and catabolism (the breakdown of substances). The term metabolism is commonly used to refer specifically to the breakdown of food and its transformation into energy (MedicineNet.com).

Here are some (not all) of the hormones that may be inhibiting your weight loss.

Thyroid hormones. If you are not producing enough thyroid hormone, you will not be able to lose weight and even on a diet you may gain weight. A condition known as hypothyroidism leads to weight gain, puffy face, intolerance to cold, brittle hair, fatigue, poor muscle tone, and more. If you are working out and eating right and not seeing any results, contact your PCP and have your thyroid hormones checked. A simple blood test (T4 and TSH) will let your doctor know whether you are not producing enough of this hormone.

If you are not producing enough thyroid hormone, your doctor may prescribe synthroid or a generic form of thyroid hormone to help your body return to normal functioning.

Cortisol. It’s also called the stress hormone though synthetic forms are used to treat disease. High, prolonged stress, and even over consumption of salt can trigger the body to produce this lovely hormone. This hormone causes weight gain!

  • Its primary functions are to increase blood sugar through gluconeogenesis; suppress the immune system; and aid in fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism.It also decreases bone formation. Various synthetic forms of cortisol are used to treat a variety of diseases (Wikipedia).

A great way to combat cortisol is to get plenty of sleep, workout daily (but not excessively), cut back on salt, rest, and find ways to minimize stress. There are many supplements marketed to treat Adrenal Fatigue or excess cortisol. Talk to your PCP before taking supplements. Some can have serious side effects.

Insulin. Stable blood sugar is key for weight loss. Dips and peaks in blood sugar tell the body to store fat. Some people suffer from insulin resistance due to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (POS) and find it difficult to lose weight.

  • It is a peptide hormone, produced by beta cells of the pancreas, and is central to regulating carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the body. Insulin causes cells in the liver, skeletal muscles, and fat tissue to absorb glucose from the blood (Wikipedia).

Ways we can combat insulin issues. 1. Talk to your doctor if you believe you have diabetes, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), or POS. 2. Eat healthy. Ditch the sugary foods and opt for fiber, veggies, and lean protein. Don’t eat dessert or foods with loads of sugar alone (causes spikes in blood sugar). Add protein and or fiber to meals with desserts. Cut back or cut out high glycemic foods (white potatoes, bread (white and wheat), white rice). Opt for sweet potatoes, quinoa, greens, and lean proteins.

Ghrelin (Appetite regulator) and Leptin (Full/Not Full). We talked about these hormones before. They tell your body it’s hungry and when it’s full. When these two hormones are out of whack, you feel hungry all the time and never full. Lack of sleep is normally the culprit for messing with the balance of these two hormones.

Try to sleep 6.5 to 8 hours a night! Turn off that computer, TV, smart phone an hour before bed.

Well, my friends I want to end here. I might do a follow-up post on more hormones later like estrogen, testosterone, etc… The summary is this. If you are eating healthy, working out, and do everything right and you’re still not losing weight or seeing improvement-talk to your doctor.

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Keep up the good work! I am cheering for you!! xoxo Erin.

Categories: Emotional Health, Nutrition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Detox from Sugar (Fat Loss)

Who doesn’t love desserts? They are creamy, sweet, filled with fat and butter. Yummmmmm….As I stated last post I have not had dessert in 75 days. I decided to detox from sugar thinking it would be great for my exhaustion. I also read some research stating that abdominal fat was often an indication of the over consumption of sugar. Sugar causes insulin spikes in the blood. When we eat that candy bar and drink that soda, our blood sugar sky rockets! What happens after this blissful sugar high? We come crashing down to the land of, “I need either more sugar or some caffeine.” The spiral continues until we are addicted to sugar. Not only have we started the cycle for sugar addiction, we are also telling our bodies to store fat. Yes! Stable blood sugar is beneficial for weight loss (See disclaimer at the bottom of the post if you think you’d like to give up sugar).

Insulin and energy:

“Insulin is a hormone that causes most of the body’s cells to take up glucose from the blood (including liver, muscle, and fat tissue cells), storing it as glycogen in the liver and muscle, and stops use of fat as an energy source,” fitnessblackbook.com.

With the information I gathered on blood sugar and weight loss I decided to try 30 days with no added sugar. Diet consisted of lean meats-fish, turkey, beef, chicken, vegetables, tomatoes, nuts, beans, vegetable protein shakes (no preservatives), eggs, peanut butter, low fat dairy, etc…I did not eat any bread, grains, rice, or sugary fruits. Calorie consumption was relative to my plan before ~1500 to 1300 calories. The food I was eating before consisted of wheat bread, fruits, sugar, honey, cereals, frozen meals, crackers, pretzels, meats/grains/dairy, diet soda, potatoes, and pasta (all within the calorie restriction). The scale was not moving and my body was not responding to calorie restriction.

When I  started eating whole foods it was more difficult to meet the calories I needed. Ex. Spinach has 7 calories a cup vs. eating potatoes that are more calorie rich. And whole foods fill you up faster. I simply wasn’t as hungry. Something to note: women should not eat less than 1200 calories per day and 1500 for men. Reducing calories below that level leads your body to think you’re starving and your metabolism will slow down. Plus it’s not healthy (See webMD.com search starvation).

Fitness and my plan: I did not work out the first 14 days. I wanted to see if the research was valid (stable blood sugar leads to fat loss). I had been running 15 to 20 miles per week.

Sugar Detox Week One (my experiences)

Headache, fatigue, irritability, and then more headaches and irritability.  I mean I felt like a cranky zombie. A cranky zombie who would probably tackle someone walking by with a cupcake. Oh my~ what did I sign up for? I decided to keep going. I was determined to finish what I started.

Sugar Detox Week Two

Energy has increased. No longer craving sweets or wishing to raid the vending machine for sweets.

Sugar Detox Weeks Three & Four

Able to run 6 miles instead of 3 without being exhausted. Energy is through the roof! Skin has cleared up with a healthy glow. I have dropped one pant size. I’ve lost almost 2 inches off my waist  without working out every day. I ran no more than once or twice a week.

Sugar Detox Weeks Five through Present

After the first 30 days I began to add more foods. Sprouted grain bread/Ezekiel 4:9 bread, sweet potatoes, quinoa, greek yogurt, fruit-berries, pears always with protein and never alone, croutons, etc..). Added circuit training into the fitness plan. I feel 100 percent better. I require less sleep. I no longer have the after lunch slump, and my skin looks better. I no longer crave sweets.

Will I ever go back to dessert? Probably in moderation (once a week), I don’t think anyone should deprive themselves for life. However, eating a diet that mainly consists of sugar affects your blood sugar and energy levels.  I’ve also lost four inches of fat off my stomach. It’s flat now. I feel better without dessert and that’s worth sacrificing for! I’m sure cutting out unhealthy processed foods helped with the fat loss as well. Good luck on your journey friends.

Disclaimer: Do not follow this as a weight loss plan. Every person should consult their doctor before starting a diet or exercise program. Your doctor can recommend a nutritionist for you or a plan if you desire. Information presented are my experiences/experiment.

Categories: Fitness, Nutrition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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