When you hear the word hormones, you tend to think of estrogen or testosterone. But, your body secretes and circulates about 50 different hormones, each with specific functions. When discussing weight loss, calorie restrictions alone will not promote fat burning. Hormones and hormonal balance are crucial to helping you burn belly fat and look and feel your best.
What are hormones? Hormones are generally protein-based chemical messengers in your body that control blood sugar, insulin balance, and metabolism. While your calorie intake and activity level affect your body weight, hormones control the amount of fat you gain or lose. Burning fat and successful weight loss are significantly hormonal.
Of the 50 hormones in your body, here are the three which have the greatest impact on body fat and weight loss:
Insulin – The hormone secreted by your pancreas responsible for regulating blood glucose (sugar) levels also affects fat storage around your waist. The type of food you eat determines the amount of insulin in your body.
Glucagon – Has the opposite effect of insulin. When insulin levels are high, glucagon levels are low, and vice versa. Glucagon is a fat-burning hormone.
Cortisol – Your stress hormone. Cortisol tells your body to eat more when you are under stress or unhappy. If your cortisol level is high due to stress, you will eat more, and your insulin level will also increase, making weight loss difficult.
Here are seven ways to maintain hormonal balance and promote fat burning weight loss:
- Eat Less Sugar – Minimize your insulin intake, stimulating foods, sugar, alcohol, and processed flours.
- Consume More Complex Carbs – Complex carbs like fresh fruits and vegetables will lower and stabilize your insulin levels.
- Eat More Glucagon Stimulating Foods – Glucagon stimulating foods include lean proteins such as chicken, fish, turkey, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, lean red beef, eggs, and protein powders (pea, rice, or whey).
- Consume More Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Essential fatty acids support hormonal health. Eat more fatty fish, fish oil, nuts and seeds, olive oils, and avocados.
- Drink More Water – Staying hydrated supports a healthy metabolism, healthy blood volume and helps flush oxidized (burned) fay from your system.
- Green Tea – You need to drink green tea to boost your metabolism. Green tea also contains an amino acid called L-theanine, which can reduce your cortisol levels.
- Get More Active – Exercise is one of the most effective ways to lower cortisol levels, reducing fat storage and allowing your body to burn stored fat as fuel.