Hormones and Belly Fat
Many people who have never had a weight problem suddenly find themselves with extra stomach fat in their forties and fifties – and this type of fat is often a lot harder to lose.
Extra belly fat can indicate imbalanced hormones such as high estrogen, low testosterone, low DHEA, high insulin, and high cortisol. Other hormones that also play a crucial role in weight gain and weight loss are adiponectin and ghrelin.
Adiponectin is known as the fat-burning hormone. Higher levels of adiponectin are associated with more fat burning, where low levels in the body are associated with obesity – and increase fat in the body causes decreased levels of adiponectin. Ghrelin, the hunger hormone, boosts appetite, promotes food intake, and increases fat storage. High levels of ghrelin in the body occur during fasting and dieting, which is why diet-induced weight loss is difficult to maintain.
Sleeplessness increases the stress hormone cortisol, which also fuels appetite and increases our sugary cravings. When cortisol levels are elevated, it can pack on the belly fat, leading to an insulin imbalance. When insulin levels are high in the blood, such as in insulin resistance, it converts excess energy (carbs) into fat and stores it. Exercise increases insulin sensitivity and will counter the adverse effects of stress and lower cortisol levels. Getting good sleep will also help you to lose weight by influencing the hormones that control your appetite and increase your metabolism.
Another metabolic must for fat loss and appetite control is to increase your protein intake. And this will keep your blood sugar balanced and your insulin levels low. Protein also packs a hormonal punch because it stimulates many of our fat-burning (adiponectin) and appetite-controlling (ghrelin) hormones, which help shed stubborn belly fat.
Consider adding ground flax and chia seeds as a daily supplement if your estrogens are too high. A zinc supplement may help to raise testosterone levels, as will weight training. Nuts, olive oil, and seeds are among the best sources of healthy fats, and they reduce inflammation in the body and fight off belly fat. Drink plenty of green tea to boost your metabolism and adiponectin levels.
Abdominal fat sets a risky stage for aging, increasing the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Hormones control every aspect of weight loss, including metabolism, where fat is stored, appetite, and even food cravings! A program to get rid of this stubborn fat must include proper food choices, exercise, sleep, and motivation. Compassionate Healthcare Associates at 661-295-7777.
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