How is it possible that some people can eat whatever they want without gaining weight? And other people seem to gain weight while eating a lot healthier? Well, a lot has to do with the hormones that play a role in overweight.
These hormones regulate almost all processes associated with your weight:

  • your metabolism
  • your appetite
  • the storage of excess fat
  • and even binge eating

When these hormones are out of balance, you will never be able to lose weight, even though you have so much self-control and motivation.

In this article, you will learn what a hormone imbalance is and how you can reset your craving hormones.

How To Ascertain A Hormone Imbalance?

There are some specific symptoms that indicate a hormone imbalance:

1. Weight issues

What you eat, how much you exercise and your lifestyle affects your weight. But there’s more to it… your hormones can possibly play an even bigger role. Insulin insensitivity is a common imbalance which causes overweight. This condition is often caused by the consumption of too much processed food and sugar. So your first challenge should always be to overcome your sugar addiction.

Thyroid hormones also often affect people’s metabolism and thus their weight.

2. Excessive abdominal fat

The “beer belly” is an increasingly common problem, even for people who are slim in other parts of the body. The cause is usually the production of too much cortisol and insulin. And stress is often the cause of the increased cortisol production. Cortisol stimulates the body to build up a fat reserve, usually in the abdomen.

The hormone insulin also plays an important role. The body secretes insulin when you eat carbohydrates. If you consume too much carbohydrates, the body can become resistant to the hormone insulin. Without going into detail: insensitivity to the hormone insulin is a big problem since it inhibits the burning of fat and promotes the storage of fat.

3. Excessive amount of fat in the hips, thighs and buttocks

An excessive storage of fat in the hips in women (and men) are usually the result of too much estrogen and too little testosterone in the blood. This is often caused by the consumption of estrogen-like substances., for example processed and fatty foods (processed meat and cheese for instance) and meat that contains a lot of growth hormone. Pesticides also contain many estrogen-like substances. Organic meat and vegetables are a lot healthier and should be preferred.

Plastic also contains estrogen-like substances: that’s why you should never heat up food that is wrapped in plastic and only buy products that are packaged in glass bottles or paper. Or an even healhier option is to cook as much of your food yourself.

An additional health problem, which can exacerbate the symptoms, occurs when too much testosterone in being converted into estrogen. This conversion is a natural process, but can become imbalanced by drinking too much alcohol or smoking.

hormone imbalance4. Binge eating

Binge eating is often linked to hormone imbalances. The cause is a leptin resistance; leptin is the hormone that regulates appetite. It’s possible to reduce your leptin resistance by changing your diet.

You’ll have to adopt to a diet that is mainly based on dietary fiber and protein. This means the consumption of a lot of fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, meat, fish and other natural unprocessed foods (such as eggs). You’ll have to remove processed foods, candy, biscuits and other unhealthy snacks from your diet.

5. Poor bowel movements

Poor bowel movements aren’t only caused by what your eat, but also by your hormones.

6. A poor sleep pattern

A poor sleep pattern can be caused by stress due to work pressure or other problems, but your eating and drinking habits (too much alcohol and/or coffee) and your lifestyle (lack of daylight and/or physical activity) can also play an important role.

7. A low libido

A low libido is often one of the first symptoms of a hormone imbalance. It’s often caused by a lack of testosterone. And this can be caused by a poor sleep pattern in combination with stress and a lack of exercise.

A lot of these hormonal imbalances are intertwined and being caused by the same factors. The good news is that with a few adjustments, you can solve a lot of these problems.

How To Fix Your Hormone Imbalance

There’s no quick-fix magic pill that fixes a hormone imbalance. That’s also the reason why so many people are taking hormone medications for the rest of their life. They’re not addressing the cause of their health issues!
If your diet and lifestyle are unhealthy, adapting to a healthy lifestyle will cause a drastic reduction of your symptoms.

1. Diet

Consume more protein, particularly in the morning. A higher protein intake causes your blood sugar to remain stable and your insulin levels low. This is very important to curb your appetite, reduce the storage of (abdominal) fat and to stimulate the burning of fat.

Protein-rich foods such as meat, fish, beans and eggs also contain lysines. These substances can help break down estrogen, which is especially important for women with a lot of hip fat and men with a beer belly!

Good to know:

  • Opt for protein-rich foods such as turkey, chicken, eggs, cottage cheese, yoghurt, vegetables, legumes, avocados, mushrooms and oily fish.
  • Have a protein-rich breakfast
  • Consume less fast carbs and sugars.  Stop drinking soda and sugar-rich juice, and try to limit your consumption of (white) bread.

2. Eating Habits

protein rich breakfastYour eating habits are also important, and particularly the times when you eat! Have a protein-rich breakfast within 30 minutes and then try have at least 3 to 4 hours of digestion time in between your meals. This way you avoid fluctuations in your blood sugar that cause an increase of appetite and fat storage.

Good to know:

  • Have a protein-rich breakfast, for instance an omelette of 2 eggs with mushrooms and some crispy bacon and/or low-fat cheese.
  • Have a meal or snack every 3 to 4 hours and add as many of the above mentioned foods to your diet.

3. Sleep Pattern

Humans requires about 7 to 9 hours a night of sleep. With little sleep, you wake up with increased levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol. These hormones create an insatiable craving for carbohydrate-rich food and are often one of the causes of binge eating.

So poor sleep has a negative effect on the release of stress hormones. Good sleep reduces the release of these stress hormones and also has a positive effect on the release of hormones that regulate appetite, such as leptin.

Good to know:

  • Sleep at least 7 to 9 hours per night.
  • Try to improve your sleep quality, by not drinking coffee (caffeine) and alchohol for instance.
  • Don’t watch TV before going to bed.
  • Sleep in the dark or in a relatively cold room to boost your metabolism.

4. Stress

Various studies have shown that stress has a big influence on obesity. When you’re experiencing stress, less fat burning hormones (such as testosterone) and more stress hormones that stimulate appetite and inhibit fat burning (such as cortisol) are being released. Stress might even be one of the biggest causes of hormonal imbalances.

Good to know:

  • stressPractice “stress management”.
  • Avoid a too busy schedule.
  • Exercise daily to clear your mind and get rid of your stress.
  • Avoid people who cause you stress.
  • Engage with people who give you positive energy.
  • Learn to say no. Never do more than you can handle.

Where To Start?

Fixing your hormone imbalance is a complex process. Nonetheless, there’s a lot that you can do before you decide to consult a doctor.

  • Have a protein-rich breakfast within 30 minutes after waking up. (this study has shown that a protein-rich breakfast can help you lose weight)
  • A good night’s sleep.
  • Eat every 3 to 4 hours.
  • Reduce your carbohydrates consumption.

Foods that can fix your hormone imbalance:

  • Green vegetables (spinach, lettuce, kale, endive, bok choy, watercress, arugula…) Green smoothies are a tasty alternative for (raw) vegetables
  • Avocado
  • Fatty fish
  • Eggs
  • Legumes (lentils, beans, peas…)
  • Oatmeal and quinoa
  • Green tea

Foods that contribute to your hormone imbalance and are to be avoided:

  • Sugar-rich foods
  • Processed foods such as pre-packaged snacks, chips, bread and pasta
  • Fried foods
  • Coffee
  • Alcoholic drinks (except for red wine, in moderation)

Exercise

Besides reducing stress and helping you get fit, exercise can also help you fix your hormone imbalance in another way. By strengthening your muscles, the fat burning hormones (such as growth hormone) are being stimulated, which obviously helps your body to burn fat more quickly.