Hormones are chemical messengers that zip around through the blood stream to carry a message/instruction from one part of the body to another.
When there are enough and the message/instruction is understood then another hormone (or the same one) is fed back to the original organ or body part. This is called bio feedback and is an important part of understanding how hormones work.
A good example of this is how our body responds to stress.
When we perceive stress or harm/danger, our body secretes stress hormones. These are made in the adrenal glands and respond instantly. Cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline are ones you may have heard of.
Stress hormones get the body ready for a fight or flight (to run for your life).
Stress hormones also command the release of testosterone (in women), insulin and many other hormones. While a stress response can be life saving during a real life threat such as defending your property from a massive bush fire, it can cause harm to your health if left switched on. It is important to relax when there is no “real life danger” so the hormones can return to normal.
There are often harmful effects of having too many hormones and similarly having sleepy hormones.
Here are five that can cause fat gain.
1. Too much cortisol
Cortisol, in excess, can cause fat gain. It is increased during times of stress and infection. It is also stimulates your liver to make cholesterol, our 24 hour body clock and a few other things.
** Health Queen’s HOT TIP ** . If your brain is on (and stressed) , usually your gut is off. This can occur at work, watching TV, worrying. Don’t eat while your brain is on.
2. Ineffective Insulin
Insulin is the hormone that helps open ( or unlocks) a part of the cell membrane of the cell so glucose (sugar) can enter the cell. It can be altered for a few reasons and too high or too low insulin can results in fat gain.
** Health Queen’s HOT TIP ** You can balance your blood sugar levels by decreasing the amount of sugar you eat, adding in more protein and eating more regularly (every 2-3 hours).
3. High Testosterone in women
High testosterone in women is on the rise. It is the subject of my book, Beauty and the Beast Within (available in shop). Testosterone, while making women more resilient can make us angry, suffer with acne, become infertile and gain abdominal fat when it is increased. It is the reason why PCO sufferers struggle to shake their muffin tops.
** Health Queen’s HOT TIP ** Try to identify blue (male jobs) and pink jobs (in your life). Relax where you can, meditate, exercise daily and avoid too many carbohydrates.
4. High Oestrogen in Women and Men
Oestrogen is made by both sexes and in both too much can be problematic. In women it can lead to cellulite and thigh/buttocks fat and in men it can lead to love handles and moobs. It seems to be going up due to exposure to herbacies, pesticides, fumes, xenoestrogens, hormone replacements, maybe foods and stress.
**Health Queen’s HOT TIP ** Eat organically, eat hormone free meats, have fun not stress and avoid synthetic hormones where possible.
5. Underactive Thyroid Hormones
Our thyroid gland governs our metabolism so is important for keeping lean. It seems to be very responsive to stress and mineral deficiencies including selenium, iodine, progesterone, CoQ10, iron, B6, zinc and vitamin D. It’s not surprising to me to see lots of people grappling with a see-sawing thyroid. Nuances are not well detected by medicine but subtle changes can be there, especially if you are gaining fat without changing any other habits.
**Health Queen’s HOT TIP ** Ensure your diet is full of variety, vitamin D levels are high and that you can switch off from stress (if not try yoga, tai chi, meditation).
There are so many other hormones that can cause fat gain but these are the main ones. I have put together an 8 week Life Transformation Fat to Flat Belly Lose Program to help people address these hormone imbalances.