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The Role Of Hormones On Weight-loss

We’re here at part 3 of our series on calories. Part 1 focused on calorie counting and why that doesn’t work. Part 2 looked at the correlation between exercise and nutrition. In the final part, we’ll take a close look at the role hormones play on your weight-loss.

The truth is, weight loss is a hormonal battle often lost by many due to the type of foods they eat. Furthermore, with the ability in today’s modern society to measure anything we want – energy in, energy out, sleep, steps, stress, and a whole other range of things – it just doesn’t make sense that we keep getting bigger.

So how do hormones affect your weight? Well, the main hormone that is causing you to gain weight and have you craving foods that you simply don’t need is…. insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is released in response to eating foods, in particular carbs, and the more refined the greater the response (up-regulation).

Why is this bad you ask? 

Well, think of insulin like this; Insulin is the power-hungry bouncer at a night club who won’t let you in to dance the night away and burn some of your body fat, so basically its job is to stop lipolysis and store energy (Lipolysis is just a fancy word for fat burning)

If your goal is to lose body fat then you need to significantly reduce the amount and frequency of insulin you release each day. 

The reason you release insulin is that your body doesn’t know when its next meal is coming, so it figures it will store this energy for when you need it. The problem is, you’ll eat another 3-5 times after breakfast because we live in a world of affluence and misinformation. This brings me to the next point, how often we eat.

In the ’60s and 70’s people generally ate 3 meals per day and, as a result, obesity wasn’t as prevalent as it is now. Today we are told to eat MORE to increase metabolism, which isn’t entirely correct, especially if your food choices are wrong.

If insulin tells you to stop burning fat and you eat 5-6 times per day and most of those meals have carbs in them, then you’ll find yourself up shit creek without a paddle and a hole in your boat!

Even worse, the refined carbs that you eat (things like bread, pasta, crackers, muesli bars, sweets, soda, etc) spike insulin but leave you feeling hungry, and that’s just unfair. So why do they leave you hungry?

After the carbs your normally eat have been refined and processed, things like fiber, protein, and fats have been taken out, all of which increase satiety.

Satiety is the feeling of being content or satisfied after a meal and is regulated by two more hormones such as ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is the hormone that makes you hungry and leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating because you’re satisfied. 

This is why I can eat 6-slices of white toast or a bag of lollies and still feel hungry 20-minutes later because leptin isn’t able to do its job properly. This is also why you may feel full after a good meal but you can still eat that bowl of ice cream or block of chocolate afterward.

So, you’re eating foods that stop the fat-burning, make you hungry, and addictive. In short, a recipe for disaster. Furthermore, If the calorie theory was correct you shouldn’t feel hungry after your 4-slices of toast and orange juice, because there’s plenty of calories there to get you through to lunch.

Takeaways: You don’t need to count calories, you just need to be mindful of what you’re eating and when. You don’t need to carb load or eat more before/after a regular workout routine. Balance your hormones to help cut the cravings and increase satiety. Cut out refined carbs, limit the good carbs, and increase healthy fats such as avocados, seeds, and nuts.

Fun fact: Did you know you could live the rest of your life without eating a carbohydrate? Crazy and possible! Now I wouldn’t recommend trying it, but your body will eventually use fat as it’s predominant fuel source and then convert certain types of fat into simple sugars when needed. It’s just not efficient during high-intensity efforts.

I’m just merely making a point, so don’t tell your nutritionist I said you never need to eat carbohydrates again, mostly because it’s not sustainable and will most likely lead to an unhealthy relationship with food…but you get my point.

Need help to get started? Click here for a selection of low carb, keto smoothie recipes, created by our own in-house Nutritionist Ali Lunt.

Want more recipes and individualised nutritional plans? Click here to book a consult with Ali to help kickstart your weight-loss for long-term, healthy results.

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