Rebalance your hormones today!
Ever wonder why even after exercising regularly and despite following a balanced diet, you are struggling to achieve a lower reading on the weighing scale? Well, our bodies have a complex metabolic system and whenever it faces a challenge, it sends out signals which are often neglected or overlooked due to various reasons. So, no matter how much a person exercises or eats healthily, he or she may still put on weight in certain areas — creating muffin tops, chunky ankles or bingo wings. However, if any part of our body stores excess weight, it’s probably due to a hormone imbalance, and that’s where the answer lies.
Hormones are special chemical messengers synthesised in our endocrine glands. They control some of our important bodily functions like hunger, reproduction and even our emotions. Understanding some of our system’s hormones is key to maintaining a healthy weight. Any changes in the body’s hormone activity results in certain symptoms.
For instance, some experts say that reducing stress could reduce weight in the belly area. According to DailyMail.co.uk, the culprit for a jelly belly is the hormone cortisol, whereas too much oestrogen can cause fat to build in the bottom and a thigh. Likewise, progesterone is the reason behind fat ankles while thyroxine can cause a chubby face and flabby neck. It is also said that if testosterone levels drop too low in the system, muscle mass can be replaced with fat on the upper arms. Low levels of human growth hormone or HGH causes fat to accumulate on the back.
The imbalance trouble
Explaining why hormonal imbalance takes place in the body, fitness expert Kuldep Sethi, who has trained the likes of Vijay Deverakonda, Vaani Kapoor and Raashi Khanna, says, “Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers. These powerful chemicals travel around in your bloodstream telling tissues and organs what to do. They help control many of your body’s major processes, including metabolism and reproduction. Hormones can change due to many factors: bad lifestyle, emotional stress, bad dietary habits (eating junk or processed foods with lots of saturated fats), consuming alcohol, pre- or post-menopause phases, being under heavy medication for long and steriod abuse.”
Dr Ravi Sankar, an endocrinologist, further elaborates on the reaction of different hormones to changes inside or outside the body. “There are some hormonal changes that nowadays people complain about but are rarely aware of the symptoms. If someone feels unduly cold when no one else does, then there’s a change in the hormones or there’s an inflation of the thyroid glands. Everyone these days is under chronic stress — whether the stress is physical, emotional, mental, environmental, real or imagined, our bodies release high amounts of the hormone cortisol, leading to a raging appetite, metabolic decline and belly fat. Another risk factor for weight gain is excess estrogen in both sexes. This happens due to bad eating habits and lack of exercise or being exposed to toxic pesticides for a long periods.”
Can exercising help?
Exercise is vital for one’s health and may reduce some of the problems associated with hormonal imbalance, says Kuldep. “Studies have proven that exercise increases dopamine levels in the brain, which decreases stress and even depression. A man’s muscle mass, strength, sex drive and sperm count are directly linked to his testosterone levels,” he adds. As for women, a proper diet and regular exercise does help to recover from hormonal imbalance too.
“It’s mostly women who get affected by the various kinds of hormonal changes and they gain considerable weight in the lower portion of the body. Nutrition makes a huge difference in balancing hormones. It’s advisable to eat at least four to five small meals per day. Cut down on carbohydrates and go for a wide variety of fresh vegetables and fruit daily. Include proteins in each meal, preferably white meat like chicken and fish,” says Sujatha Stephen, Chief Nutritionist, Apollo Hospitals, Malakpet.
Address the root cause
Wellness and fitness expert Purnima Mandava shares, “Hormones are the basis for how our bodies either store or burn fat, but unfortunately few of the wellness experts seem to be considering this as the root cause of obesity and fat gain. If you have concerns like fatigue, skin issues, weight gain, weight around the middle, trouble sleeping, always sleeping, PMS, endometriosis, infertility, PCOS or other issues, your immediate step should be evaluating the hormones as one or more of the above could be traced back to underlying hormonal imbalances.”
She says that balancing one’s hormones is the first step to making the fat-loss journey easier. “Once you find out the root cause and work towards making your hormones happy, your fat burns off naturally,” concludes Purnima, the founder of Wow Fitness that helps women struggling with hormonal imbalance.