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5 Hormones That May Be Responsible for Weight Gain

5 Hormones That May Be Responsible for Weight Gain

Do you find yourself unable to lose weight as easily as you could when you were younger?

As women enter into their menopausal years (usually around the age 45+), the hot flashes and night sweats, though annoying, are nowhere near as difficult and confusing as the resulting weight gain.

Here are the top 5 pesky hormones that may be sabotaging your weight loss success and how you can tame them.

1. Oestrogen (AKA The Temptation Hormone)

Carrying excess weight is a leading factor in weight gain in women 45 and over due to low oestrogen levels. Oestrogen is produced in the ovaries but it is also produced in your fat stores.

This can perpetuate the cycle – the more oestrogen-deficient you are, the more fat is deposited on the hips and thighs, because oestrogen stimulates fat cells to store fat.

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How to tame high fat stores for oestrogen production.

Foods that contain fibre help to eliminate used oestrogen through the bowels. The fibre in green smoothies binds to oestrogen and moves it through your bowels so it does not go back into circulation, but rather is eliminated.

2. Cortisol (AKA The H…angry Hormone).

Some studies have shown an association between increased stress levels and abdominal fat distribution. Cortisol levels increase in times of stress, and cortisol is known to increase appetite. Some people are constantly in stressful environments, and, even if they eat well and exercise, chronic high stress can prevent them from losing weight – or worse, add a pound or two.

Increased levels of cortisol can also result in higher insulin levels, causing low blood sugar, which can increase hunger.

This can make you hungry…very hungry. And your body keeps on pumping out that cortisol as long as the stress continues.

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So how do you tame this “hangry” hormone?

The best way to tackle this hormone head on is to decrease your stress levels. Some people accomplish by relaxing, others by getting active. How you de-stress is completely up to you.

3. Leptin (AKA Satiety Hormone)

Leptin is produced by the body’s fat cells. Its primary target is in the brain, particularly the hypothalamus. Leptin is supposed to tell the brain that we have enough fat stored, that we don’t need to eat, and that we can burn calories at a normal rate.

These days, something is broken in the mechanism that is supposed to prevent us from overeating, leaving us feeling rarely satisfied after eating a meal.

The fat cells use leptin to tell the brain how much body fat the body is carrying. High levels of leptin should tell the brain that we have plenty of fat stored, while low levels of leptin tell the brain that fat stores are low and that we are at risk of starvation. The problem for many women is that the leptin signal isn’t working. There may be a high level of leptin floating around, but the brain doesn’t register that it is there. This condition is known as leptin resistance. It is now believed to be the main biological abnormality in human obesity.

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How to tame this pesky hormone?

A key to preventing (or reversing) leptin resistance, is reducing diet-induced inflammation. This is where a great green smoothie helps in any “hunger fixing mission” —with extraordinary results! Green smoothies with a higher ratio of green vegetables to fruit contain all the right lean and “green” quality proteins. Adding 2 teaspoons of hemp powder or nut butter will also increase the protein content more which is great to help tame any leptin resistance you may be experiencing.

4. Ghrelin (AKA The Craving Hormone)

Ghrelin works in tandem with leptin. When your stomach is empty, it is ghrelin that is responsible for telling you that you’re hungry and that you need to eat something.

Ghrelin is supposed to tell the brain that you are hungry and start eating, switching off once you do have something to eat. These days, something is broken in the ghrelin mechanism as well, increasing your hunger while you rarely feel satiated. Ghrelin is secreted primarily in the lining of the stomach.Your stomach makes ghrelin when it’s empty. Just like leptin, ghrelin goes into the blood, crosses the blood-brain barrier, and ends up at your hypothalamus, where it tells you you’re hungry. Basically, ghrelin is high before you eat and low after you eat.

How to tame this c…raving hormone?

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Water is an essential part of life and well, it can help you tame this hunger hormone so make sure you keep yourself well hydrated and next time you feel hungry, have a glass of water first and you may be surprised to find your hunger pains abating.

5. Testosterone (AKA The Mojo Hormone)

We all know what it feels like when you have lost your mojo. Women with low testosterone often find it more difficult to gain muscle or burn fat. The decline in testosterone in women is solely age-related, not menopause-related, and actually begins years before perimenopause.

With low testosterone levels your muscles may atrophy, leading to a sluggish metabolism and weight gain.

How to tame this mojo hormone?

You can coax this hormone back with resistance training which revs up your testosterone training. Moving through menopause doesn’t have to be such a tough mental and physical battle. If you focus on your weight-training program, you’ll be able to fight potential fat gain and battle the tummy bulge.

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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