“I always eat right and exercise regularly. But I still can’t seem to lose weight.” How many times have you heard this before? Why it’s so difficult for some people to lose weight?
Most people think they have got it all down to a simple formula – it’s just a question of eating less and exercising more. But it is really that simple? Another myth is that the only reason people are overweight is because of their lack of self-control.
Regular exercise and a proper diet is very important. But there is also another factor that you need to take into account to be able to lose weight and stay fit.
When it comes to achieving weight reduction by burning more calories than you consume, the formula mentioned above works only for a few people – people who naturally have a perfect hormonal balance between cortisol, thyroid, insulin, estrogen and testosterone.
Let’s look at the role some of these hormones play when it comes to weight gain or loss. We will also explore some strategies that can really help you overcome the problem of the bulge.
1) High levels of Cortisol:
One of the reasons why you may be fighting a losing battle with belly fat could be because of high levels of cortisol. Cortisol is what is known as an alpha hormone. This means that also determines how some of the other main hormones – mostly thyroid and estrogen (in women) or testosterone (in men) function.
High cortisol levels are mostly caused by chronic stress. High cortisol can also lead to reduced sleep, sugar cravings, and belly fat.
The best way to manage cortisol is to manage stress. There are a number of techniques that can help you reduce stress- including yoga, meditation, deep breathing techniques etc. or various mindfulness techniques.
Adding fish oil to your diet has also been proven to help control cortisol.
2) Low Thyroid:
Low thyroid hormone levels can lead to lower metabolism and this can be another common cause of your weight loss struggle. As mentioned earlier, high stress and cortisol levels can slow down your thyroid. But there are many other causes for low thyroid and slow metabolism like certain endocrine disruptors found in your environment, deficiency of Vitamin D and gluten sensitivity.
Low thyroid can cause weight gain, fatigue and sometimes even depression.
To correct thyroid imbalance, you have to determine and fix the underlying cause – whether it is stress, certain endocrine disruptors found in your home or even your foods (eg: The lining of some of the canned foods, certain types of plastic water bottles, some flame retardants and even some mattresses). Another thing that you can do is to add vitamin D supplements to your diet. You can also spend more time in the sun to increase Vitamin D production. Also check if you are sensitive to gluten by avoiding foods with gluten for a few weeks. If you lose weight and feel more energetic, you have found out one of the underlying causes.
3) Resistance to Insulin:
If you are insulin resistant, your body tends to store fat, especially in places where it can easily be retrieved for future use – such as your belly.
To fix this problem, there are a few things that you can do like following a Paleo Diet or The Hormone Reset Detox.
4) Low Estrogen or Low Testosterone:
Low estrogen in women stimulates appetite and pushes one to eat more. Regular exercise can help balance Estrogen. Acupuncture has also been proven to be effective in this respect. Add flax seeds and magnesium to your diet.
Low testosterone slows down your metabolism and also reduces your ability to gain muscles with weight training. To fix this issue, avoid sugar and alcohol intake and exercise regularly.
While a proper hormone balance can help with weight loss, it can also work vice versa. Losing a few pounds can help bring your hormones back into their optimal levels. So training regularly can help you stay fit and healthy irrespective of your age.
Staying fit when you are over 40
Exercise and training is even more important if you are over 40. Regular training will not just benefit you physically, it will also improve the way you feel mentally and emotionally as well. It will also improve the overall quality of your life.
Once you cross 40, you will start to lose muscle. Your bone density also reduces. This can make you weaker. In addition, your metabolism too tends to slow down and you might start to store fat and gain weight. The decrease in bone mass and structural integrity can result in increased risk of fractures. Athletes who train regularly tend to have a superior bone mass and structure compared to people who don’t exercise regularly.