Are willpower and self-control the real solution to low energy and high weight?
It might actually be your (powerful) hormones.
And we’re not just talking about sex hormones here; we’re talking about the hormones that directly affect your blood sugar, metabolism, and appetite. Things that actually control your energy and weight.
Let’s go over a few of the critical links between your hormones, and how they affect your energy and weight. The links may be stronger than you think.
WHAT ARE HORMONES
You know, other than a buzzword that people throw around.
The buzz could have some validity! (just in this case, don’t go buying skinny tea)
Your hormones are part of the master control system of your entire body. Think of your body as the Company, and your hormones sitting in the C-Suite.
Hormones are compounds made by one part of the body that are used to communicate with allllllll the other parts. For example, insulin is made in the pancreas. When your blood sugar gets too high, insulin is released into the bloodstream. Then, it goes to your muscles and other cells to tell them to absorb that sugar out of the blood (and if there is still too much blood sugar, it signals to store it as fat).
Your hormones control not only your blood sugar, but also your metabolism and appetite (plus a host of other things). And you probably know that having healthy blood sugar, metabolism and appetite is a foundation for your optimal energy and weight.
So, how can your hormones get out of whack to zap your energy and pile up the pounds?
COMMON HORMONAL IMBALANCES
In optimal health, your hormones would work great, and you’d have ample energy and be a good healthy weight.
But often there are problems with this whole setup. One common issue is that there may be too much or too little hormone released to have the desired effect. This is known as hypo- or hyper- “hormone” (i.e. hypo- or hyperthyroidism).
Another common issue is that, even if the right amount of hormone is released, the cells they communicate with can start ignoring them. This is known as hormone “resistance” (i.e. insulin resistance).
As you can imagine, if your hormones have such critical jobs, including controlling blood sugar, metabolism and appetite, they can definitely cause issues with your energy (+ weight.)
HORMONES AND ENERGY
Your metabolism is key for controlling your energy. Metabolism itself is basically how much energy (calories) you burn to exist + carry out functions. One of the main players of this is…you guessed it! Your thyroid hormones.
Your thyroid releases hormones that affect the metabolism of all the cells in your body. If it’s too low and your metabolism goes down (hypothyroid), you may feel cold, hungry and tired.
If it’s too high and your metabolism is too fast (hyperthyroid), you may feel hot, jittery and lose weight.
What you actually want is an ideal metabolism, ideal energy use, ideal temperature, and an ideal weight.
Your thyroid hormones are the master controller here.
HORMONES AND WEIGHT
Your weight may be controlled by hormones more than you think! Insulin controls your blood sugar, and whether that sugar is going to be stored as fat or not. Blood sugar dips can pop up as cravings. Think about it this way – your hormones don’t add weight to your body, but they influence the behaviors (heavily) that do!
An important note – appetite is HORMONAL! How hungry and how full you feel are controlled by the hormones ghrelin & leptin. When those get out of whack, you may find yourself wanting to eat because your body thinks you’re hungry and not satisfied…even if that’s not true.
And craving food (especially sugary ones) and not feeling full are going to be huge drives for you to eat more. Even if your body doesn’t truly need it, the hormonal signals tell you that you do.
And don’t forget that stress hormone cortisol. When it’s too high for too long, it tells your body something is wrong. What does your body do? Stores energy for the impending stressor. That stored energy evolutionarily could get people through hard times. Your body doesn’t know the difference between a famine and your email inbox imposed panic.
SUMMARY AND WHAT YOU CAN DO
Your body is very complex and uses hormones to control a huge number of functions. They control your blood sugar, metabolism, and appetite, amongst others. And these directly affect how much energy you feel, how well you recover, and even where your body fat is stored.
Here are a few “hormone stabilizing” tips that might help you with your energy and weight, making it a bit easier to keep things stable:
- Get regular exercise, it helps with blood sugar, lean body mass, and pretty much everything else.
- Try stress-relieving activities like deep breathing, meditation or even coloring to reduce cortisol
- Support your thyroid with iodine-containing sea vegetables, fish, legumes, or even a *GASP* whole egg…with the yolk!
- Get extra fiber from raspberries, avocados, or flax seeds to help carry out what we don’t need (like excess estrogen!)
- Reduce sugar intake by replacing your juice or soda with fruit-infused water (or even die soda, that’s still a great change!)