Hormones are powerful chemical messengers in our bodies. They can influence everything from our growth and development to mood, sexual function, appetite, and metabolism. Hormones can also cause weight gain, particularly as we age.
Regulating appetite is one of hormones’ most important jobs – which in turn helps your body to maintain energy levels. Hormones both stimulate hunger and let you know you’re full. Eating slowly and mindfully allows your sense of fullness to catch up with your appetite.
Menopausal hormones can contribute to weight gain in women. In both men and women, high cortisol levels (stress) can signal the body to slow down and store fat.
As we age, both men and women lose muscle mass and gain fat. Muscle mass is associated with increasing metabolism, which is one reason exercise is so important.
What’s the solution? There are several things you can do –
- Exercise regularly. Physical exercise has a positive effect on hormonal health.
- Eat protein at every meal (including whey protein and yogurt). Reducing intake of red meat and saturated fats helps.
- Focus on low-glycemic, high fiber carbs like fruit, veggies, whole grains, and legumes.
- Eat more foods with omega-3 fatty acids like fish, nuts, seeds, and plant oils.
- Reduce your sugar intake.
- Eat regularly so that you never get too hungry.
- Try mindfulness techniques like meditation to reduce stress.
- Get some sleep!
- Ask for support from friends and family.
Hormones may be influencing your weight, but with changes in diet and exercise, you can be in control. You’ve come this far, don’t stop now!
Jacyln is a great new addition to the McCarty team! She specializes in Hormone Replacement Therapy and is an excellent resource for patients who may have questions about their hormone health!