Optimize Your Hormones To Burn Fat.
Fat Loss is pretty simple: Eat fewer calories than you burn and throw in some activity. And while this is a big piece of the puzzle, it’s not the whole thing.
In fact, there is a lot going on underneath the surface that affects how much fat you lose, how fast you lose it, and even if you lose any at all. Your body secretes over 50 different hormones that each play an important role in maintaining homeostasis and keeping you alive. Some of these hormones are linked to your metabolism and ability to lose fat and build muscle.
The eight hormones below have an impact on the fat loss process. Learn to optimize them and ensure your body is burning fat as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Thanks to the low-carb zealots, insulin often gets a bad rap. But it is a hormone essential to your survival: Insulin functions as the energy storage hormone. It helps shuttle nutrients to where your body needs them. It tells your body to either store the energy as glycogen for immediate use or as fat for later use.
Insulin works against fat loss when you develop an insulin resistance from having chronically elevated levels of the hormones in your system. This comes from over-consuming food and carbs. When your insulin levels are too high, your body is in fat-storing mode and unable to burn fat effectively.
Also known as the hunger hormone, ghrelin is responsible for the physiological feelings of hunger. It is produced in the stomach and its levels increase when your stomach is empty and decrease when your stomach is full.
The less food you eat – like when you’re trying to lose fat – the more ghrelin your body produces as a response. It doesn’t know (or care) that you’re trying to lose fat; your body is hungry so it wants food.
When it comes to hormones that affect fat loss, leptin is probably the second biggest player after insulin — some experts believe that it might be even more important.
Leptin is produced in the fat cells and works by sending signals to your brain when you have enough fat stored and you don’t need to eat anymore food. The more fat you have, the more leptin you produce.
So you would think that the more overweight someone is, the easier it would be to eat less food. But like with many things in the body, it’s not that simple. You can also become leptin resistant. This happens when you have so much fat your brain stops sending leptin signals. When this happens, your body thinks it’s starving and activates feelings of hunger.
The other issue with leptin is that the more fat you lose, the less leptin you produce. This increases your appetite even more.
Cortisol is a double-edged sword. It can help the body burn fat when released in small doses. However, chronically-elevated levels of cortisol can prevent fat-burning.
Cortisol is known as the stress hormone. It is released in times of elevated stress, including while dieting, exercising, being sleep-deprived or worrying about your job. Not all of these situations are necessarily bad, but cortisol signals your body to prepare for them by moving energy where it needs it.
However, chronically elevated levels of cortisol are not good for you. Not only does it prevent your body’s ability to burn fat (specifically belly fat), it makes it easier for it to break down muscle tissue. Elevated levels of cortisol are also associated with elevated levels of ghrelin, which is why your appetite increases in times of high stress.
5. Thyroid Hormones
Your thyroid hormones, specifically the T3 and T4 hormones, help regulate your metabolic processes. Your thyroid gland is affected by how much you eat, sleep and exercise — and how stressed you are.
Chronic dieting and caloric restriction reduce thyroid levels, which is why your metabolism slows down as you diet.
6. Growth Hormone
The growth hormone (GH) is one of the most powerful hormones in your body. Its two main responsibilities are to help you build muscle and burn fat. It also helps repair damaged cells, which is why it is often referred to as the anti-aging hormone.
When it comes to helping your body burn fat, adrenalin works closely with growth hormone and testosterone. During periods of intense exercise, the adrenal glands secret adrenalin and signal these hormones to start burning fat.
While testosterone is mainly thought of as a male hormone, it plays a significant role for both sexes in terms of body composition and essential functions.
Testosterone affects sex drive, muscle growth, bone health, and body fat levels. The more testosterone you have, the leaner you tend to be. This is because it works to stop the body from creating fat cells. So the less testosterone you have, the more at risk you are for obesity.