Three hormones that hamper your weight loss

Losing weight isn’t just a case of fewer calories in and more calories out – the key to success in the weight loss game can actually be balancing your hormones.

Cortisol is the stress hormone; it increases appetite and cravings and causes weight gain around the middle.

Cortisol levels increase due to chronic stress, poor sleep and skipped meals.

To bring these levels down, I work with clients on improving their diets (incorporating healthy fats and quality proteins) and sleep habits, as well as incorporating stress-reducing activities such as yoga and Bowen therapy (a hands-on technique that works to trigger a response from the nervous system to allow muscles to completely relax).

Estrogen is the sex hormone; we need it, but overweight men and women often have too much of it. Estrogen tends to cause weight gain around the hips and buttocks, and we accumulate too much of it when we don’t eat enough fibre to get rid of it.

Keys to lowering your estrogen levels include consuming more plant fibre (such as ground chia seeds) avoiding sugar, limiting alcohol and eating cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, kale, broccoli and cauliflower).

It’s hard to get enough of these veggies, so I often suggest a supplement called DIM – it’s a little easier than eating a pound of broccoli a day!

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas; it converts sugar into fats. Insulin levels increase with the consumption of processed carbohydrates, such as white flour, white rice and gluten-free potato and corn starches.

Despite public conception, sugar-free artificial sweeteners actually increase insulin levels and cravings, which lead to more weight gain. A mineral supplement called chromium picolinate can help stabilize your insulin and blood sugar levels.

Looking to lose a few pounds? A naturopathic doctor will help get your hormones (and your scale) back to the right numbers.

Dr. Erika Kneeland is a Naturopathic physician and owner of Braidwood Naturopathic Clinic in Courtenay. For appointments, call 250-334-0655.


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