10 ways to achieve hormone balance during weight loss

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By Ilse de Graaf

Not all bodies are the same, nor do they respond to the same messages. You can follow any ‘weight loss guide book’ expertly and still struggle to shift those unwanted pounds. More often than not, the reason behind this is hormonal. Being a woman is difficult, our bodies are flooded with hormones and finding a balance to control them is no easy task. Don’t let that put you off though, once you start implementing some easy changes and you can see and feel the benefits you’ll be motivated to keep them up and they’ll become second nature to you.

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So let’s talk some more about hormones, what are they exactly and which ones do we need to keep an eye on?

Hormones are the most powerful chemical messengers in the body, they are an extremely important component when it comes to weight loss and wellbeing and can often make or break your success. Hormones control metabolism and therefore are intricately connected to the amount of fat you gain or lose, burning fat and achieving weight loss is a hormonal event.

The 3 hormones we want to focus on here are:

Insulin (you know this one right?) – Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas whose main role is to regulate glucose (sugar) levels and promote fat storage. Foods that promote the secretion of insulin include white refined flours and sugars. Insulin resistance is a huge issue for women with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) and is often why these women are overweight or struggle to lose weight.

Glucagon – Glucagon and insulin are “enemies”  and have opposing effects. In other words, when one is up, the other one is down. Glucagon is a fat burning hormone and is secreted by the consumption of protein.

Cortisol – Cortisol is your stress hormone. Unfortunately, cortisol and insulin are best buddies. If cortisol is elevated due to mild to moderate periods of stress (typically chronic stress), insulin is typically raised which can make weight loss difficult.

Below are 10 everyday ways in which is can manage these 3 tricky hormones, if you manage these hormones alongside implementing The Power Method, you will notice a huge difference. Not only in the way you look but most importantly in the way you feel and your overall wellbeing. Tired of feeling sluggish, negative and zapped on energy? Give this a try Ninja.

Minimize all insulin stimulating foods
These include white sugar, excess alcohol and all processed flours. If sugar and processed flours feature heavily in your diet, there are many alternatives you can use. Try substituting wheat or heavily processed flours for buckwheat flour, coconut flour or even almond flour. You can make lots of delicious recipes with these healthier substitutes. If you eat a lot of bread or pasta, switch to artisan bread which is a lot less processed and always look for healthier alternatives to pasta such as buckwheat noodles.

Pick glucagon stimulating foods at every meal
Glucagon stimulating foods are proteins such as chicken, fish, turkey, cottage cheese, yogurt, lean red beef, eggs, hemp, protein powder (pea, rice or whey). If you are a vegetarian or vegan and struggle to add protein into your meals, try adding protein powder to your diet. You can make smoothies with protein powder or you can add it to healthy snacks such as brownies or energy balls.

Support your hormonal health with essential fatty acids
You may be put off straight away by the word ‘fatty’ however fatty acids are so great for you. In addition to cold water fish, nuts and seeds – it is advisable to supplement with a distilled fish oil supplement daily (you will love what it does for your hair as well!). If you struggle to add nuts and seeds to your diet because you don’t enjoy snacking on them alone, you can add nuts to dark chocolate or healthy baked goods, you can add seeds to salads and nuts to your hearty meals such as curries or stews.

Stay hydrated
Drinking 2 litres of water per day is critical for energy, vitality and overall health. No excuses on this one – just make it a habit. An easy way to remind yourself to drink water throughout the day is by carrying a refillable water bottle, you can fill this in the morning and you will be able to notice how slowly or quickly you are drinking it. You can also buy the water bottles that have a compartment inside to infuse your water with lemon, cucumber or even berries.

Drink green tea
In addition to boosting metabolism, green tea secretes an amino acid called L-theanine which tends to have a calming effect. If you don’t like green tea, drinking it daily can change that. It has a bitter taste which can be hard to get used to but once you do, you will start enjoying it. If you don’t drink hot drinks, you can enjoy green tea cooled or with ice.

Exercise, there is no way around it
Exercise is by far one of the most effective ways to lower cortisol response. If exercising isn’t your thing, try adding movement into your day. 20 minutes of movement everyday can make a huge difference!

Sleep well
A good night’s sleep can do wonders for proper cortisol secretion and weight loss. In fact, research has shown poor sleep quality to be associated with an increase in cravings and hunger, thereby leading to weight gain. If you have trouble sleeping, try adding some bedtime rituals such as spraying your pillow with calm supporting essential oils, you can also try wearing an eye mask to block out any unwanted light that may disturb your sleep.

Hug someone you love
Hugs are great and there is nothing better than human connection. Whether it is your child, hubby, friend or parent – hugging naturally lowers cortisol response.

Meditate or journal
While this may sound “out there” for some of you, I assure you, it works. Meditating is about taking some time back for yourself and processing your thoughts, it’s the ultimate self-love.

Take time for you
Whatever it is that you love to do, walk, cook, read, bathe, spend time with friends, try to take time 15-30 minutes per day for yourself.

For those of you who have PCOS or other hormonal issues, please consult your doctor before trying anything radical.

I would love to hear how you get on after a month or so of implementing these changes, please tag WLN in your social media posts or send me a DM.

Thanks again my lovely Ninja and remember… you got this!

Ps. Did you know that I am offering a New Masterclass which will teach you 3 secrets on how to get and stay motivated during your weight loss journey so that you can reach your goals?! To find our more or to reserve your seat, sign up here.

xx Ilse

Founder & Coach
Weight Loss Ninja