Is your scale refusing to budge? Are you putting in a ton of effort to lose weight and get healthy, but you’ve hit a wall? If the answer to these questions is yes, then you may be suffering from a hormone imbalance.
No matter how hard you exercise or how strictly you diet, hormone issues can keep you from reaching your weight loss goal. Frustrating, right?
Thankfully, there are ways you can restore balance to your hormones (without a trip to the doctor), and I’m going to give you some tips to do just that. Ready to get back on track with your weight loss? Let’s get to it!
How Hormones Affect Weight Loss
Hormones act as chemical messengers, delivering important information throughout your body to keep all systems up and running properly.
Hormones affect just about everything.
When it comes to weight loss, they’re responsible for how much energy you have, the amount of muscle you gain, and even your metabolism. And if just one hormone is thrown off, it can cause your weight loss to stall completely.
In fact, hormones are so important to effective weight loss, that there are a few hormones that earned the nickname of “weight gain hormones.” Yikes! These hormones – which include a few you’ve likely heard of, such as estrogen and cortisol – are directly linked to weight gain.
Now that you understand how closely hormones are linked to weight loss, let’s get you back on track!
How to Restore Balance to Your Hormones
The good news is that you can balance your hormones naturally by making some changes to your lifestyle and daily habits.
Use these tips to restore balance to your body so that you can finally see the results you want in your weight loss journey.
Say Goodbye to Stress
Not only is stress well, stressful, prolonged periods of stress also cause lots of serious physical problems in the body. Stress sets off our internal alarm system and makes our body produce more cortisol.
While normal levels of cortisol are vital to our body’s functioning, high levels of cortisol over the long-term can have catastrophic effects on your body – including weight gain.
So, tackle your stress head-on! Are you stressed about work? Finances? Family commitments? Unfortunately, most causes of stress are completely out of your control.
However, you CAN control how you react to them.
Find ways to relax in your day and be more mindful. Incorporate meditation into your daily routine or squeeze in a walk during your lunch break.
Your emotional life and your hormones are deeply interconnected, so take back control of your life and don’t let stress determine your weight loss success.
Catch Some Zzz’s
How much sleep do you get each night? If you’re like many people, you don’t get nearly enough. Why is sleep important to your hormone balance? Because your hormones work on a schedule, and a lack of sleep throws off that schedule.
In fact, a lack of sleep is one of the biggest contributors to high cortisol levels.
When you sleep, you give your body a chance to balance out its stress hormones, so try to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night to maximize your hormone function.
For extra points, stick to a bedtime of 10 p.m. (or earlier) and keep a regular sleep cycle as much as possible.
Cut Back on Carbs
While carbs are often painted as the bad guy, that’s not always the case. However, when it comes to balancing your hormones to lose weight, you do need to be selective about your carbs. Specifically, you should avoid sugar and simple carbs, which cause the body to overproduce insulin.
Many of your hormones (cortisol and estrogen, for example) are directly related to insulin, so too much of it in the body throws all your hormones for a loop.
Instead of resorting to simple carbs and tons of sugar, try to balance out your diet with complex carbs. You should also eat plenty of healthy fats (avocado, nuts, seeds) to keep your blood sugar levels in check.
Foods high in fiber (veggies, legumes) and probiotics (yogurt, kimchi) can also help your hormones stay nice and balanced.
Get Your Body Moving
Not only does exercise benefit your physical health and weight loss, it affects your hormonal health, too. Exercise is a great way to deal with stress (which you already know plays a huge factor in your hormonal balance).
It gets your body pumping again, stimulating blood flow and improving circulation. Plus, working out makes you sweat, helping you maintain the proper balance of your body fluids.
However, it’s important to note that exercise can also be a cause of stress. If you go hard in the gym every day, you’re putting a lot of physical strain on your body, which may raise your cortisol levels.
So, make sure you take a couple of rest days each week. Or try scheduling in lower intensity exercises on occasion, such as yoga, swimming, or hiking.
Supplement with Adaptogen Herbs
Adaptogens are a natural, herbal medicine. Basically, they’re just plants with some awesome health benefits – scientifically proven health benefits, at that.
This unique class of healing plants helps balance the body by normalizing and regulating your hormone levels.
Ashwagandha is one of the most popular and beneficial of these herbs, and it’s often used to help your thyroid function properly, while also managing a whole host of hormones.
In this article, you’ll find lots of reasons why you should start including Ashwagandha in your daily routine immediately!
For a list of other adaptogen herbs that help balance out hormones and lower cortisol specifically, check out this article.
Don’t let all your hard work go to waste by letting your hormones dictate your weight loss success (or failure). If you feel like you’ve hit a plateau with your weight, despite all your effort, then it’s time to look closely at your hormones.
Get back on track using the tips in this article and make your goal weight a reality!
Ricky is the Founder of Exercise With Style with over 10 years of healthy lifestyle experience. He dedicated a website with the best information on health, fitness, weight-loss, muscle growth and product reviews. Rick is always looking for expert contributors to better serve his loyal readers.