Not losing weight? Don’t blame yourself blame your hormones!Marisa van Welzen
That’s right, many of our health issues may very well be linked to a hormonal imbalance. Now, this may sound more like a women’s thing but I’m afraid I will have to disappoint all the guys out there straight away. Although your hormonal mix slightly differs from that of women, your health concerns also may very likely be caused by a hormonal imbalance. So I suggest you all read on, regardless of sex.
When it comes to fat loss and muscle gain, hormones play a critical role too. If you are working out like a beast without much result, don’t straight away blame Virgil. Instead you might want to delve deeper into a possible hormonal imbalance that is preventing you from achieving your goals.
What are hormones?
Most of us have heard of hormones but are not sure what they are. In very basic terms hormones are chemical messengers carrying instructions to cells telling them how to behave (i.e. store or release fat, feel hungry or full, feel happy or depressed etc.). Hormonal messaging and balance are key in order to lose fat and gain muscle so understanding how to use these hormones in your favour is the first step in creating that lean and toned body you have always been dreaming of.
Now this issue is too complex to explain to you in a blog, but knowing a few basics tips may help you reach your goals more efficiently. Most of you have probably heard of insulin, cortisol, testosterone and estrogen. These are just a few. There are many more hormones that directly or indirectly impact your body’s ability to turn into that lean masterpiece you’ve always wanted to see in the mirror. Let’s have a look at some of our hormonal friends and their work:
• Insulin (impacts fat and muscle storage or breakdown)
• Cortisol (impacts fat and muscle storage or breakdown)
• Human Growth Hormone (impacts fat and muscle storage or breakdown)
• Testosterone (impacts fat and muscle storage or breakdown)
• Adrenaline (impacts fat and muscle storage or breakdown)
• Progesterone (impacts fat and muscle storage or breakdown)
• Estrogen (impacts fat and muscle storage or breakdown)
• Leptin (controls hunger)
• Dopamine (impacts motivation, focus, and well-being)
• Serotonin (impacts motivation, focus, and well-being)
As you see, there are quite a few involved in the health and fat loss game. The tricky thing with hormones is that many can have opposite effects. Take insulin for example; this hormone is released when we consume sugary foods (i.e. fruit, bread, potatoes, but also pizza and breakfast cereals). The amount of insulin released very much depends on the type of sugary food you eat (i.e. your favourite croissant raises insulin levels much more than that juicy orange) as well as the amount of it. In controlled amounts, insulin is one of your biggest fat loss and muscle gain friends whereas in large amounts it can turn into your enemy. And the same goes for cortisol, the stress hormone, which also impacts fat loss, or gain. Nothing wrong with stress, but over a prolonged time the raised cortisol levels due to elevated stress can be devastating to your overall health as well as your workout results.
Eating for hormonal balance
And this is where the famous phrase “Abs are made in the kitchen” refers to. Becoming that healthy and lean version of yourself starts with what you eat. It is 70% nutrition and 30% exercise that will get you there.
What is the ideal type of food? Anything that nature has intended to be eaten, in its most complete form and in the largest variety of colours. The less a food is manipulated, the healthier it will be.
Your hormones have been around for hundreds of thousands of years and have perfectly adapted over time to keep you slim, healthy, lean and active into a ripe old age. Use them in your favour and the sun will shine on you for a long time. Luckily it doesn’t involve difficult dieting protocols. Here are a few simple tips:
• eat real food as nature intended (meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, berries and mushrooms)
• stay away from processed foods (crisps, croissants, sausages, chocolate bars, pizza, pasta etc.)
• get enough sleep (approx. 8 hours)
• avoid prolonged stress (meditate and do yoga to counterbalance stress)
• drink plenty of water (make sure you pee regularly and your urine colour is light yellow)
• work out regularly (at TWC-Ibiza of course) 😉
See your waist line shrink and your energy levels rise on the way to a new you. Let me know how you are getting on and if in need of some help, drop me a line.
“Most people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel”
Patrick Meijer is a Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach based on Ibiza. He is a teacher and educator in the field of holistic health, specialized in fat loss, cholesterol issues, hormonal imbalances, stress management, diabetes type 2 and sugar addiction. Patrick uses a no-nonsense approach to empower you with practical information that is easy to follow and ensures a stress-free, happy life full of energy and peak health.
Do you also want to be a guest blogger for the TWC-Ibiza blog? We invite you to click here for more info.