ARE YOUR HORMONES MAKING YOU FAT?
Short answer is our lifestyles (Nutrition, Exercise and Stress) are the main contributor to the majority of the population being out of shape. However Hormonal imbalances do still contribute to fat storage, low energy levels and poor overall health. There are 3 main Hormones we are going to examine, Estrogen, Cortisol and Testosterone. All are essential for optimal health and performance; however, it is not uncommon for them to be out of balance and to subsequently make the fat burning process more difficult than it could be.
With Hormones and Human behaviour, we have a situation like the chicken and the egg, which one came first? Hormones influence behaviour and body composition and likewise, body composition and behaviour influence hormone profiles. We will talk more about the Nutrition and training side of this in the next article, this article is more concerned on the Hormonal side of the equation. Let’s look at the 3 major players, Cortisol, Testosterone and Estrogen.
Cortisol: high cortisol levels will impact on the distribution of body-fat, causing more fat to be deposited around the mid-section than your genetic predisposition would normally dictate. A recent study at Yale University on Non-obese women concluded that high cortisol levels were responsible for greater than normal fat distribution around the mid-section. While the participants in the study were all women, the researchers added that they would expect similar results in men.
Naturally Cortisol levels should be high in the morning and low in the evening. High in the morning to wake us up and help release fatty acids for energy, low at night as not to interfere with sleep. Due to stress, being over-worked, too much caffeine and poor eating habits, a lot of people have their Cortisol releasing patterns around the wrong way. This is the reason that people go for their early morning coffee to try to do the role of what a natural release of morning Cortisol would do, wake you up, wake you up and get you started for the day.
Estrogen: The Female body naturally produces 4 variations of Estrogen, some are considered beneficial while others not. There is evidence to suggest that Estrone is the “bad Estrogen” and too much of it can be linked to multiple health issues. In keeping Estrogen in balance, it is not just a matter of levels of Estrogen, we need to ensure that we have a healthy ratio of the 4 Estrogens that are naturally present.
Another interesting thing about Estrogen is that it can be produced inside fat cells as well as the ovaries. The High Estrogen will inhibit the release of fatty acids from fat cells to be used as energy and may even make it easier to store excess calories as fat. It can be a rather negative loop to get stuck in, you produce extra estrogen because of excess fat tissue and the excess fat tissue produces more estrogen. Without a concerted effort to reverse this process, fat creeps at an accelerated rate.
Testosterone: Is predominantly a male hormone though a small amount is produced naturally in females. In males Testosterone is responsible for increased muscle mass, libido, positive mindset and androgenic features. Low testosterone in males cause low recovery, low energy and sometimes depression. Busy work lives and high stress over long periods can cause natural testosterone production to fall to less than optimal levels.
I’m going to offer you a 2-pronged solution to getting each of these hormones back in to balance. The first part will be behavioural changes relating to Exercise, nutrition and Lifestyle while the second part will be a supplement to assist in the process. We will look at how to manage Cortisol levels first
CORTISOL: cortisol is your stress adaptation hormone and I’m talking stress in the traditional sense, not the 21st century relentless version. Your cortisol is naturally high in the morning, low at night and will give you brief bursts of energy when you need to run away from a snake. It is not meant to be elevated through caffeine and worrying 24/7. While we could write several books to cover this topic, we’ll just list a few key points.
- Find some way to deal with the constant struggles of everyday life. Meditate, get a massage, spend time with good friends or take a walk-in nature. Most people’s stress comes from trying to control parts of their lives that they ultimately can’t control, like trying to control other people. When you focus on what you can control, your food, your exercise, when u go to bed and your thoughts then you really start to shape your own life and reduce stress.
- Limit your consumption of stimulants, most notably caffeine.
- Keep blood glucose and your energy levels constant by eating regular balanced small meals. Balanced means enough protein, carbohydrates and fat to fuel and repair YOUR body.
- Use RESET NUTRITION Adrenals to help bring your cortisol back into alignment. 1 serve may be too much, this is an effective supplement. I take half a serve at night, sleep like a baby and require no caffeine in the morning to feel alive.
ESTROGEN: Unfortunately, in 21st century life we have a variety of substances in the environment and food called Xenoestrogens and Phyto-estrogens that are similar enough in structure to mildly bind to an estrogen receptor. With Fat cells having the ability to produce estrogen, it is not difficult to create a situation where Estrogen levels are too high. Ways to bring this back into balance are
- Reduce use of plastic products particularly those containing BPA and Philates.
- Don’t rely too heavily on soy proteins for your total protein needs. One serve a day doesn’t seem to be a problem for most people. Research on men in Japan, plus with personal experience with clients has shown reduction of Testosterone in men, impaired fat loss in both sexes from more than 1 serve of Soy protein per day. If, personally for you Soy isn’t a problem for you then keep using it.
- By changing the ratio of the 4 estrogens as well as a reduction in the total Estrogen produced, we can make the process of stripping fat off a lot easier. RESET NUTRITION E-BALANCE is a powerful tool in helping to bring Estrogen into balance and accelerate the fat burning process.
TESTOSTERONE: The causes of low testosterone are many and varied, though they usually boil down to 2 main causes. Too much stress and too much work. Testosterone levels are NOT linked to age as much as people think. Generally, the number of hours worked per week and the extra stress from work, raising children and other commitments will eventually lead to low energy, poor recovery and lowered testosterone levels. These stresses are all more likely part of life when you are 40 than when you are twenty, hence people think testosterone levels drop off at a faster rate due to age than is actually the case.
Here are a few tips to get Testosterone back to optimal levels.
- Good nutrition and regular sleep may sound too obvious however these are the number 1 things that will dictate healthy Testosterone levels.
- Stress levels coupled with high work loads need to be managed. I know this sounds easier said than done but at the end of the day too much work and stress will lead you to an early grave. This is IMPORTANT.
- Regular weight training with relatively heavy weights (for you) will continually send a signal to your body that Testosterone is needed. Use it or lose it
- RESET NUTRITION T-LIFT is a blend of tried and proven herbs and minerals that will quickly improve energy, libido, recovery and performance.
TAKE HOME MESSAGE
- Eating more calories than what you use is the main reason people store fat
- Hormones and Behaviour influence each other in a symbiotic relationship
- There are key behavioural changes you can make to positively influence your hormones and health
- RESET NUTRITION offer a range of proven products to assist in the process of resetting your hormones. Both males and females will benefit from these supplements, males just tend to need a higher dose.