By Kate Horney
Want results that last? LEARN how to balance the hormones that control your metabolism for optimal fat-loss.
As busy moms, understanding the hormones behind fat-burning and fat-storing is key to living the fat-loss lifestyle.
Calories in vs. calories out is NOT the whole picture of fat loss – especially postpartum. You know that the key to sustainable fat-loss comes in both a caloric deficit (that is, burning more calories than you consume) AND balanced metabolic hormones. But for new moms who are breastfeeding and can’t sustain a significant caloric deficit, moms who have damaged metabolisms after being caught up in the yo-yo dieting trap, or moms who are already eating in a caloric deficit but are still stuck at a fat-loss plateau, the hormonal balance piece of the puzzle becomes even more important.
Here are 7 (simple) ways to balance your metabolic hormones:
- Balance your estrogen to progesterone ratio with veggies – Storing fat in the lower body and/or breasts often indicate elevated estrogen (compared to progesterone) and can effect your ability to burn fat. Lower estrogen relative to progesterone by increasing foods that help detox estrogen like cruciferous veggies and green tea.
- Balance your cortisol levels with leisurely walks – I know it’s easier said than done, but you really need to stress less! Why? Because high cortisol levels from stress impact your ability to burn fat. When possible, try to lower cortisol by doing restorative activities like leisurely walking and having quiet time to destress (even if it’s just 5 minutes!).
- Increase fat burning hormones with the right type of workout – Implementing high intensity exercise like weight-training and HIIT (high intensity interval training) can help lower cortisol over time, as well as increase testosterone, a fat-burning/muscle-building hormone that new moms need to help burn fat. Beyond helping you burn the baby fat, exercise provides additional hormonal benefits to moms. In addition to lowering stress hormones and stimulating fat burning hormones like HGH, exercise releases endorphins that improve your mood – YAY! Even if you don’t have the time or energy to get back into a full training schedule, you can take advantage of those feel good hormones by squeezing in short, intense workouts when possible. Check out our BeyondFit Life Club for monthly, downloadable workouts that you can do AT HOME to burn fat while your baby naps!
- Improve your insulin sensitivity by eating carbs early – As moms, sensitivity is something that comes easily to us (hello, mom tears)…unless it’s insulin sensitivity. In that case, it’s something we need to work towards. Insulin sensitivity is a desirable state because it prevents your body from storing excess fat. Insulin is an anabolic storage hormone that is produced by the pancreas and serves to regulate carbohydrate and fat storage in the body. When insulin levels are high, extra calories are stored as fat. In addition, insulin inhibits the release of glucagon, thus stopping the use of fat as an energy source. The best way to improve insulin sensitivity is through leisurely walks, high intensity strength training and the manipulation of carbohydrates in your diet – think carbs in the morning or immediately post workout.
- Balance Grehlin by increasing protein and fiber – Grehlin is a hunger hormone produced by the stomach and pancreas, that causes you to feel hunger. It can be dulled by the intake of protein and fiber. Ghrelin levels naturally increase before meals (sending hunger signals to the brain) and likewise decrease after meals (helping you feel full).
- Use sleep to balance Leptin and reduce cravings – Leptin is a hunger hormone, which is considered the counterpart to ghrelin. It is produced by the adipose (fat) tissue. When you are craving food, it is an indication that you are not producing leptin. High calorie foods, stress, and sleep deprivation tend to produce leptin resistance, causing your body not to feel full. Exercise and proper fat-loss nutrition have the opposite effect. This is why most people can’t simply “eat less” to lose weight.
- Increase HGH (Human Growth Hormone) with sprints – HGH is a fat burning hormone that is produced in the pituitary gland, and as the name suggests, is a hormone that stimulates muscle tissue growth. This is important because there is no better fat burner than our muscles! HGH has the benefit of stimulating your body to burn fat (rather than store it), so the effect on fat-loss is doubled. HGH is stimulated when your body engages in intense, short term exercise like sprinting and lifting weights.
For more information on hormone balancing, fat-loss nutrition and the best exercises for you, become a BeyondFit Life Club Member.
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