And we’re not just talking about sex hormones here; we’re talking about the hormones that directly affect your blood sugar, metabolism, and appetite. The things that control your energy and weight.
Let’s go over a few of the critical links between your hormones and how they affect your energy and weight. The links may be stronger than you think.
WHAT ARE HORMONES?
Having healthy, happy hormones is all around the “health waves” these days. And for good reason! 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 produced 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 to store it as fat).
Hormones control not only your blood sugar but also your metabolism and appetite (plus a host of other things). And you probably know that having healthy blood sugar, metabolism, and appetite is a foundation for your optimal energy and weight.
So, how can your hormones get out of whack to zap your energy and pile up the pounds?
COMMON HORMONAL IMBALANCES
In optimal health, your hormones would work great, and you’d have ample energy and be a good 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
Metabolism is key for controlling your energy. Metabolism itself 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 (hypothyroidism), you may feel cold, hungry, and tired. If it’s too high and your metabolism is too fast (hyperthyroidism), you may feel hot, jittery, and lose weight.
What you actually want is an ideal metabolism, ideal energy use, ideal temperature, and ideal weight. Thyroid hormones are the master controller here.
HORMONES AND WEIGHT
Your weight may be controlled by hormones more than you think! Insulin controls your blood sugar and whether that sugar is going to be stored as fat or not. And when your blood sugar is too low, you may start craving sugar and carbs.
You also have hormones that control your appetite! How hungry and how full you feel are controlled by the hormones ghrelin & leptin. 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 ones) 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.
Don’t forget the stress hormone cortisol. When it’s too high for too long, it tells your body to store fat. And not just any fat – belly fat!
Adaptogens and Hormones
Adaptogens are my jam. I love the additional support they provide my adrenal and central nervous system. They are known for reducing inflammation within the body. I add them to my smoothies, oatmeal, and even coffee. Ashwagandha is great for balancing out your thyroid issues. Always check with your doctor first before starting to incorporate adaptogens to make sure it doesn’t interfere with other medications you may be taking. If you want to read more about adaptogens, check out my other article specifically about adaptogens. You can also try my recipe for Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Truffles, the secret ingredient is the Four Sigmatic Adaptogen Blend mix.
SUMMARY AND WHAT YOU CAN DO
The body is very complex and uses hormones to control a vast number of functions. They control your blood sugar, metabolism, and appetite, amongst others. And 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 has your body store it as fat.
- Try stress-relieving activities like deep breathing, meditation, or even coloring to reduce your (belly-fat-inducing) cortisol.
- Support your thyroid with iodine-containing sea vegetables, fish, legumes, or even an egg.
- Balance your blood sugar with extra fiber from raspberries, avocados, or flax seeds.
- Drink golden milk, nettle tea, raspberry leaf tea, and warm water with lemon. These beverages can have a big impact on your endocrine system.
- Reduce blood sugar spikes by replacing your juice or soda with fruit-infused water.
LET’S DISCUSS HORMONES!
I would love to hear your thoughts on how hormones have affected your weight or energy levels. Do you or someone you know suffer from common hormonal imbalances? Let’s discuss this in the comments. Connect with me @Eat_Your_Nutrition on Instagram. I love seeing your photos. #EatYourNutrition #LauraVillanueva