How Hormones Affect Your Energy And Weight
Struggle with weight management and fatigue? Are willpower and self-control the real solution to low energy and high weight?
Maybe not. Our hormones may actually be part of the problem. It’s not just sex hormones. The body has many critical hormones that directly affect your blood sugar, metabolism, and appetite. We are talking insulin, cortisol, thyroid and other hormones. There are important links between your hormones and how they affect your energy and weight.
What Are Hormones?
You have probably heard about having healthy hormone balance these days. That’s because your hormones are part of the master control system of your entire body.
Hormones are compounds made by one part of the body that are used to communicate with another part. For example, insulin is made in the pancreas. When your blood sugar gets too high, insulin is released into the bloodstream. Then it goes to your muscles and other cells to tell them to absorb that sugar out of the blood (and if there is still too much blood sugar, it signals the body to store it as fat).
Your hormones control not only your blood sugar but also your metabolism and appetite (and a host of other things). You probably know that having healthy blood sugar, metabolism and appetite is a foundation for your optimal energy and weight. How do your hormones get out of whack to zap your energy and pile up the pounds?
Common Hormonal Imbalances
Ideally, your hormones would work great, and you’d have ample energy and be a healthy weight. But often there are problems with this whole setup.
One common issue is that there may be too much or too little hormone released to have the desired effect. This is known as hypo- or hyper- “hormone” (i.e. hypo- or hyperthyroidism).
Another common issue is that, even if the right amount of hormone is released, the cells they communicate with can start ignoring them. This is known as hormone “resistance” (i.e. insulin resistance).
As you can imagine, if your hormones have such critical jobs, including controlling blood sugar, metabolism and appetite, they can definitely cause issues with your energy and weight.
Hormones And Energy
Your metabolism is key for controlling your energy. Metabolism is basically how much energy (calories) you burn. One of the main players of this is...you guessed it! Your thyroid hormones.
Your thyroid releases hormones that affect the metabolism of all the cells in your body. If it’s too low, and your metabolism goes down (hypothyroid), you may feel cold, hungry and tired. If it’s too high, and your metabolism is too fast (hyperthyroid), you may feel hot, jittery and lose weight.
What you actually want is an ideal metabolism, ideal energy use, and ideal temperature. Your thyroid hormones are the master controller here.
Hormones And Weight
Hormones do have influence on your weight. Insulin controls your blood sugar, and whether that sugar is going to be stored as fat or not, like I talked about above. You may also crave more sugar and carbs when your blood sugar is low and then eat more than you need.
Hormones affect your appetite! How hungry and how full you feel are controlled by the hormones ghrelin & leptin. Grehlin is released in the stomach and stimulates appetite, and leptin decreases appetite. When those get out of whack, you may find yourself wanting to eat because your body thinks you’re hungry and not satisfied...even if that’s not true.
Craving food (especially sugary) and not feeling full are going to be huge drives for you to eat more. Even if your body doesn’t truly need it, the hormonal signals tell you that you do.
Cortisol is another hormone that affects weight. It’s the stress hormone and can cause the body to store fat (especially in the belly) when it is activated for too long. Too much stress at work, play or emotional situations or even not getting enough sleep causes high levels of cortisol in the body and can contribute to weight gain and a host of other health issues.
Summary And What You Can Do
Your body is very complex and uses hormones to control a huge number of functions. They control your blood sugar, metabolism, appetite and many other bodily functions. These directly affect how much energy you feel, how much you weigh, and even where your body fat is stored.
Here are a few “hormone stabilizing” tips that might help you with your energy and weight:
Get regular exercise to use up excess blood sugar before your insulin signals your body to store it as fat
Try stress-relieving activities like deep breathing, meditation, and other things that relax you (music, crafts, get in nature, etc.) and get enough sleep to reduce your (belly-fat inducing) cortisol
Support your thyroid with iodine-containing vegetables, fish, legumes, or even eggs
Balance your blood sugar with extra fiber from fruits and vegetables and healthy grains and seeds
Reduce blood sugar spikes by replacing your juice or soda with fruit-infused water
If you want to boost your energy levels, lose weight and feel good again, contact me for a strategy session