Single mom’s understanding your hormones, how they are activated and what you can do to keep them under control can be the difference between living up to that age old weight reduction New Year’s resolution with success or holding on to those extra five for another season. There are a zillion diet plans, spas and great resorts like the Biggest Loser Resorts, but understanding your body and how it metabolizes your food intake is essential in winning your war on weight gain.
Cortisol and Serotonin
When a bad day at the office has you reaching for a greasy, salty, cheesy treat it could be a result of your adrenal glands releasing the stress hormone cortisol. The response is meant to give you a burst of energy for fight or flight and some evidence indicates cortisol could be the reason you’re accumulating fat in your belly. Serotonin on the other hand calms you down and suppresses your appetite. That’s why your appetite wanes after a good workout. You can also accomplish the same result loading up on folate rich lentils, asparagus and spinach. Your brain uses the vitamin B in these foods to make serotonin. My favorite trick is to add a handful of spinach to my morning scramble.
Irisin is a recently discovered hormone that is produced in our muscle tissue and released during exercise helps convert white fat (the kind that makes us retain weight) into brown fat, the kind that burns calories. Exercise is the key. In a recent study, irisin levels doubled after a 10 week training program. Another interesting way to increase irisin is to lower your thermostat. People who spent two hours in a 64 degree room and periodically dipped their feet in ice water had their brown fat burning 15 times more calories. I always believed that my muscles were working overtime when my body is chilled..now I know for a fact it’s true!
Super-sizing your intake of carb heavy meals or super sugary drinks will spike your insulin which pulls the extra glucose from your bloodstream. Over do it and the insulin can cause the extra calories to be stored as fat (the white kind). The extra weight in turn can lead to insulin resistance which in turn leads to more fat storage and ultimately diabetes. Cutting out sugary sodas and amping up your intake of whole grains and fiber which slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream will even out the insulin response. Spacing out your meals and snacks so you eat smaller portions more frequently is a great way to maintain consistent levels of glucose and insulin
Single Mom’s did you know that hormones aren’t just produced by our bodies? As reported in the December edition of Women’s Health Magazine, you will find them in the most surprising places.
1. Beauty Products – Many cosmetics, shampoos and household cleaning products contain chemicals called phthalates to help scents last. Exposure to high levels of this ingredient has been linked to being overweight.
2. Canned foods – Many cans are lined with an estrogen-like chemical called bisphenol A (BPA). High acid foods like tomatoes can cause the chemical to leach into the contents. Look for BPA-free cans or alternative packaging.
3. Nonstick cookware – Girls born to women with the highest levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) during pregnancy were three times as likely to be overweight than those whose moms had the lowest levels. Use cast iron or stainless steel pans instead.