Hormone is a word that’s often thrown around when talking about a pregnant woman or a moody teenager. You’re probably wondering what hormones have to do with fitness. Without going back to biology class, a hormone is simply a chemical messenger in the body. If a hormone is off balance (when you have too much or too little of one) it can affect reproduction, your mood, and everything in between. According to Dr. Sara Gottfried MD, New York Times bestselling author of The Hormone Cure, “Being overweight often has nothing to do with calories or exercise. For a huge number of us, the problem is instead about misfiring hormones.”
Let’s break down a few of the main hormones that might be affecting your weight goals.
The hormone that tells you when you are full! Can you imagine this one being off balance? You could easily be over eating. Dr. Gottfried says this one is thrown off when we eat too much fructose or sugar.
This is the stress hormone. When you are extremely stressed, your cortisol levels rise. Your body then is encouraged to start turning blood sugar into fat.
Estrogen can be the worst when it comes to storing fat. If your estrogen levels are too high, then you can start to become insulin resistant. This means any glucose will start to be stored as fat.
A healthy amount of testosterone leads to muscle growth and a fast metabolism. Men and women both need testosterone. If it is too low it will lead to weight gain, especially in the midsection.
There are several more other types of hormones. Serotonin (controls your mood), Melatonin (your body’s clock), and Ghrelin (lets you know when you’re hungry).
If you feel you might have a hormone imbalance you can visit your local hormone doctor and they will test your levels to tell you which ones might be too high or low. Dr. Gottfried’s books are also worth the read if you’re interested in your hormones. They are The Hormone Cure, The Hormone Reset Diet, and Younger.