You are not to blame. They do everything they can to lose weight, eat healthy food, exercise a lot and regularly. If that doesn’t help you lose weight, it must be something else. We have an idea.
If the kilos do not (no longer) fall, your hormones could be behind it. Among other things, hormones determine how big your appetite is, how well your fat burning works and when the next ravenous appetite attack comes.
How do hormones affect eating behaviour?
You regulate it in the background. In principle, this also makes sense, because: “The body controls a very basic regulatory cycle in the organism via hormones. In a sense, they are the communication axis between the stomach and the head,” explains Prof. Sebastian Schmid, nutritional physician from Lübeck.
In concrete terms, it looks like this: “For example, the hunger hormone ghrelin enables the stomach to report to the brain ‘I am empty, please eat something’ – and then you get hungry. Its counterpart, the leptin, on the other hand, is responsible for making you stop eating as soon as you have eaten enough”.
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Can hormones cause ravenous hunger attacks?
Yes. You know yourself: you don’t always eat when you’re hungry or because you are. There are situations in which you automatically eat more: Like when you get your period, or when you sleep badly. The fact that you then have permanent cabbage steam is also due to the hormones: “Even half a night’s sleep lets your ghrelin level rise measurably,” says Schmid. “So lack of sleep not only makes you grumpy, but also hungry.
Stress has a similar effect: If you are under tension, the hormone cortisol will give you veritable munchies.
Sport remains a slimming factor, it not only burns calories but also helps to reduce stress – which can also make you fat. © Lyubov Levitskaya / Shutterstock.com
How do hormones prevent weight loss?
The hormones do not do this actively or specifically. They are more likely to react to an unhealthy lifestyle beyond sports and nutrition. If, as mentioned above, you do not get enough sleep in the long run or are constantly stressed, you are creating the best conditions for overweight. The problem: the resulting overweight then has a negative effect on your hormone balance and upsets it, which only makes things worse.
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“Instead of counteracting obesity and regulating body weight in this way, the hormones stimulate further growth,” explains the hormone expert. In other words: “Once you’ve been fat, it’s much harder to maintain a healthy weight in the long term than someone who has always had a normal weight. To prevent this from happening in the first place, we introduce you to the worst weight loss boycotters among the hormones.
Which hormones prevent losing weight?
Leptin regulates the feeling of hunger and satiety and tells your brain that you can stop eating when you are full. This is a clever cycle that normally works well.
This hormone is no fun, however, if you lose weight and break down fat, because then it loses its basis of life (leptin is produced in the body fat cells) and makes itself rare. In other words: If the fat deposits melt, the leptin level in the blood also decreases. Result: You are hungrier. The yo-yo effect is thus programmed and losing weight is even more difficult.
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How to regulate the leptin level: Keep your hands off radical diets, otherwise your leptin will disappear in no time and make a mess of your hunger/satiation. You should also make sure you have an adequate supply of zinc, as a lack of this trace element can reduce the additional leptin production. Super for it: sunflower and pumpkin seeds, peanuts, sesame or oysters. The 15 Top food with lots of zinc our colleagues from Men’s Health have put together a list for you.
The hormone ghrelin is the best friend of leptin, together they complement each other and control your eating behaviour. Ghrelin sits in the stomach and screams loudly “HUNGEEER !” when it becomes empty, i.e. about every 3 hours.
If you eat less, for example because you want to lose weight, the stomach reacts with panic and produces more ghrelin as a precaution. After all, your body does not know that this is a voluntary diet and not a life-threatening famine.
This is how you get the hormone ghrelin under control: Make sure you have a well-filled stomach, even if you are about to lose weight. To do this, eat foods with a low energy density and high fibre content, such as vegetables and clear soups, which will keep you full for a long time. You should also avoid sleep deprivation, so that your ghrelin levels do not rise unnecessarily.
Actually, it is responsible for the maturation of the oocytes. Estrogen, however, has some less pleasant side effects in terms of weight loss. When the oestrogen level is low just before your period, a typical signal is a craving attack. On the other hand, just before ovulation, when the oestrogen level reaches its peak, many women complain of loss of appetite.
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Defusing oestrogen – that’s how it works’s: Fibre binds the hormone oestrogen, making it less dangerous for you. So put pulses, dried fruit and cereal germs on your diet regularly. By the way: if you generally eat plenty of vegetables, fruit and wholemeal products, you will not only keep your oestrogen in check but also reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Some people can’t get a bite to eat under stress, but most of them strike twice or three times: chocolate, chips and gummi bears – the main thing is to get as much of it as possible quickly. The hormone cortisol is to blame for such overeating attacks.
Take a break! Because the stress hormone cortisol leads to ravenous attacks. © Lyubov Levitskaya / Shutterstock.com
Actually it is quite useful, because it releases energy in threatening situations. In an encounter with the sabre-toothed tiger it gave our ancestors the necessary push for fight or flight.
The only problem is that modern stress situations differ from those of our ancestors. Their clamouring boss is (for all the similarity) not a sabre-toothed tiger, the fight with her tugs at the nerves rather than consuming calories. As soon as the stress is over, cortisol nevertheless causes a ravenous hunger attack to replenish the energy depots. Result: More calories in than out – and bang: extra pounds!
Do not raise cortisol levels additionally: Do not “overfeed” cortisol with coffee. If you limit your caffeine consumption, you will have to deal less with the little stress maker.
Which also helps keep the cortisol at bay: Laugh your head off. Whether you go to laughter yoga or watch the latest fail video on YouTube – laughter flashs reduce the cortisol content in the blood by almost 40 percent! This was discovered by scientists at Loma Linda University in California.
To lower your cortisol level
Although the word testosterone is derived from the Latin “testis” for testicles and is actually only ever associated with men, the hormone also occurs in women. And that’s a good thing, because it helps you to build muscles and provides you with energy and a proper sex drive.
The only problem is that testosterone slowly disappears as soon as you pass the age of 20 or use certain hormonal contraceptive methods such as the contraceptive pill. This leads to muscle loss, a slower metabolism and thus – for better or worse – to a steady increase in weight.
Increase testosterone levels with exercise: With sport you can counteract the testosterone escape. If you take half an hour of strength training at least 3 times a week or – even better – HIIT -If you do a lot of training, it stimulates your testosterone production. That’s good to know: Once you’ve lost excess pounds, your testosterone levels will also rise – and that will help you maintain your desired weight.
Do hormone injections help against overweight?
Yes, but only in extreme cases. It sounds too good to be true: syringe in, weight off: Since 2009, the hormone liraglutide has been used to treat diabetes. Liraglutide is a long-lasting modification of the natural hormone GLP -1, which slows down gastric emptying and promotes the feeling of satiety, but disintegrates in the body within a few minutes. The modified form lasts longer and has also proven to be a good weight loss aid during use.
As a preparation Saxenda it is also approved for this purpose in Germany, but must be prescribed by a doctor and paid for by the patient. However, the hormone injections are not intended for candidates who want to lose a few kilos. It is only prescribed to people who suffer from obesity (obesity).
Hormones have many different tasks in the body, without which the “human machine” would not be viable at all. But the fact that the small messenger substances thwart your weight loss goals is certainly not one of them. Now you know exactly what the “side effects” of certain hormones are and can take specific action against the weight loss saboteurs. Now the pounds can tumble undisturbed again!