There are three factors that contribute to losing weight – eating less calories, exercising and last, but not least, the hormonal balance in your body. Namely, apart from hormones that stimulate weight loss, the body also contains hormones that accumulate fat, and when these prevail, cutting down weight is much harder than just reducing calorie intake or working out.
A number of health experts support the theory that the first few months of any weight loss program are referred to as the ‘easy phase’, but then comes a point where regardless of what you do, your body simply refuses to give up any more pounds. When this happens, people are often desperate and resort to some extreme measures to retain the weight-loss, like calorie-fasting.
But, what they often don’t know is that when calories are drastically reduced, your body enters starvation mode i.e. its fat burning hormones deliberately slow down inhibiting you from losing weight. It is then that the hormonal balance needs to be reestablished in order to achieve further fat loss because stubborn fat in problem areas can only be defeated by changing your hormone functionality.
Fat burning v. fat storing hormones
The principle fat burning hormone is testosterone, and this is clearly proven with the fact that men are less inclined to having excess body fat than women.
Unlike testosterone, fat storing hormones are estrogen, insulin, and cortisol. Estrogen is the female sex hormone, which is mostly accountable for fat deposits in the lower body. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone, responsible for making your body retain fat, whereas insulin can be the cause of love handles and lower back fat.
So if you want to continue losing pounds even after you hit the plateau, you must focus on two things – boosting your testosterone while reducing your fat storing hormones. These three steps will help you achieve your goal.
1. Boosting Your Testosterone
The best way you can do this (it applies to both men and women!) is to naturally promote the secretion of testosterone in your body as opposed to taking testosterone supplements. For one thing, you can increase endurance exercise, which means boosting up the intensity of your training session by performing more exercise within the same timeframe, or, simply increasing intensity over shorter time.
You can stimulate testosterone production by short sprints instead of a slow jog, an hour of aerobics instead of a long walk and dance-fit instead of yoga. Some extra weight reps can also be quite beneficial.
2. Avoiding Insulin Resistance
Excessive sugar intake can lead to insulin resistance and diabetes. In cases of insulin resistance, the fat deposits in the body increase significantly. So if you want to burn fat efficiently, you must balance your diet and reduce your sugar intake.
3. Preventing the Secretion of Cortisol
Cortisol or the stress hormone is released in the body as a result of physical, mental, and emotional stress. Also, low calorie diets, which, contrary to popular belief, put excess strain on the body, can lead to production of cortisol. Thus, starving your body over a long period of time can be detrimental to your weight loss goals as opposed to a balanced diet and regular exercise. Plus, intense training can also stimulate cortisol production, so be cautious to give your body enough time to recover after exercise. Some relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, and mindfulness can be extremely beneficial for this as they alleviate both mental and physical stress. In addition, cortisol can also be the result of quality sleep insufficiency and trauma.
As hormones play major role in fat accumulation as well as fat burning, these three steps will help you optimize your body’s ability to burn fat rather than store it.