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Nutrition to Support Hormones & Weight Loss

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Sadly, weight loss is not as simple as  increased activity + decreased calorie intake =  weight loss.  If it were that simple, I do believe more people would be successful at maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight.  When we are younger, our bodies are more forgiving. We can apply the above equation and usually make it work. Not so much with the aging body.

As we age, some things just don’t function as well as they used to. Our hormones are one of those things. DHEA is an adrenal steroid hormone that declines with age. DHEA is converted into estrogen and testosterone hormones; the hormones that regulate fat metabolism. Lower levels of estrogen contribute to belly fat in women. For men, it becomes difficult to lose abdominal fat if they are deficient in the testosterone hormone. There are DHEA supplements and 7-Keto supplements that can help. 7-Keto is a DHEA metabolite that provides the benefits of  DHEA such as healthy metabolism, but does not convert into the sex hormones estrogen or testosterone.

According to Life Extension, here’s another factor that contributes:

Normal aging causes the insulin receptors on cell membranes to lose their youthful sensitivity or functionality. The result is a pathological condition called “insulin resistance” that impairs the ability of cells to efficiently take up glucose and utilize it for energy production. Glucose not taken up by energy-producing cells prompts the release of excess insulin. The absolute most effective way of restoring insulin sensitivity is to reduce calorie intake. Calorie restriction to under 1,500-1,800 calories/day significantly enhances insulin sensitivity, as documented by dramatic lowering of fasting glucose and insulin blood levels.

Following the recommendations below will help with lowering your glycemic load and insulin sensitivity. Everyday Health provides a brief explanation of glycemic load which might be helpful. Age, coupled with improper nutrition and chronic stress, leads to declining hormone levels that contribute to a faulty metabolism.  As Jim mentioned in his post on 15 Tips to Help with Stress Eating, stress is always there at some level. Stress eating is a clue that your adrenals need some nutritional support. The adrenal glands help modulate stress and is where hormone production begins.  So you definitely want to take care of those glands! Diet is also very important for weight loss. Weight loss programs can help you count your calories and eat healthier overall.

Above and beyond stress  & hormone support, there are some basic guidelines for good eating habits, and therefore maintaining a healthy weight.  This post in the 5 Step Series goes on to focus on nutrition that may support weight loss.  Medical News Today recommends making dietary changes that are gradual and permanent – I agree! Even with all the diets that are out there, it is still true that one pound is equal to 3,500 calories. The average person burns about 2,000 calories per day without exercise. For most people wanting to lose one to two pounds per week, that means consuming 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day.  Here’s what those calories should consist of:

  • Real food. Real food can be grown, picked and eaten, without being processed.  Examples are fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans.  These should be the significant portion of your intake as they hold the most nutritional value, have good fiber content, and will support healthy endocrine (hormone) function.  They are also naturally lower in calories.
  • Consume at least 25 grams of fiber daily, more is better.  Fiber helps to satisfy us by making us feel fuller.  Fiber is found mostly in fruits, vegetables and grains.  Consider taking a fiber supplement before meals to decrease your appetite.  Fiber also slows the absorption of carbohydrates, helping to control blood sugar spikes.
  • Consume foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (aka essential fatty acids and yes, they are essential) to promote satiety, healthy cholesterol, decreased inflammation and adrenal health.  Omega-3 fatty acids are found in avocados, walnuts, pecans, almonds, flax or chia seeds and of course, cold-water fatty fish like salmon, anchovies, and mackerel.
  • Eat complete proteins to maintain muscle mass.  Animal proteins do tend to have higher calories – don’t exclude them for that reason.  Animal protein is a complete protein (contains the complete amino acid profile).  Legumes and other plant foods can be combined and eaten the same day to get the necessary amino acids too.  Protein is necessary for hormone balance, building lean muscle mass and normal cell functioning.  Protein also helps promotes feeling full longer.  Protein shakes can help if you aren’t a meat eater.
  • Water.  Yes, water has no calories but it is necessary and can help a little fighting off hunger pangs.  Drink a glass of water if you feel hungry and it’s not yet meal time.
  • Eliminate or minimize simple carbohydrates like candy, ice cream, soda, white breads, sugary cereals, etc.  Simple carbohydrates only offer calories without any nutritional benefit.   In fact, simple carbohydrates have a negative effect – they play games with your insulin resistance, adrenals and hormones.  Feeding the sugar monster in you will come back to bite you. Perhaps not today, but at some age it most likely will.

Here’s an infographic that you can print and put on your fridge as a daily reminder! Please add your comments or share your successes below the graphic. Best of luck on your health goals!

nutrition for hormone & weight loss support

Check Out Our New Year’s Pin-Solution Challenge!

Reading our blog series will definitely help you move closer to your weight loss goals, but we want to help more! Help support your New Year’s resolution by taking part in our New Year’s Pin-Solution Challenge! Fill out the form and pin your favorite Pin-Solution pics for a chance to win a $100 Natural Healthy Concepts shopping spree, as well as a weekly prize. Check out our Pinterest page or visit our blog for complete details. Make sure to check out some of our protein shake recipe pins from week 3 of our challenge below!

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4 Responses to Nutrition to Support Hormones & Weight Loss

  1. Sandra January 6, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    Good stuff. Learned a couple things about hormones – thanks.

    • Theresa Groskopp January 7, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

      Glad to hear it Sandra! Good luck with your health goals this year whatever they may be!

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