Though you might blame intense period cravings on your hormones, those little guys also have the power to make you put down the Rocky Road, build more muscle during every workout, and boost your metabolism. So yeah, you might owe them an apology.
Here’s how to naturally boost your hormone levels and make weight loss so much easier:
1. Build Fat-Burning Muscle
Women generally think of testosterone as a manly hormone and ladies have far less T than our hairy counterparts. But teeny levels of that hormone mean tiny weight-loss results.
Testosterone is actually one of your body’s primary muscle-building hormones. And the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn while doing literally nothing. Low levels of testosterone promote insulin resistance, encouraging your body to store calories as fat.
Lifting heavy weights is the best way to promote the release of muscle-building, fat-burning testosterone, Gilles said. By heavy, we mean enough resistance that you can only do three-to-four sets of six-to-10 reps with proper form. Performing compound lifts like squats, deadlifts, and assisted pull-ups uses more muscle fibres and spurs optimum testosterone level.
2. Give Your Meals True Staying Power
Every time you eat, your intestines release cholecystokinin, glucagon-like peptide 1, and peptide YY (otherwise known as CCK, GLP-1, and PYY, stick with us). These hormones slow down the movement of food through your GI tract. The result of slow-moving food is that you literally stay full long after your meal, which prevents overeating, says Rumsey.
To increase your meal’s staying power, first, focus on consuming at least 20 to 25 grams of protein at every meal. After all, research from the University of Cambridge shows that high-protein meals, breakfasts specifically, lead to the greatest increases in some of these satiating hormones. Then, make sure to add in vegetable fats and fibre from complex carbs, both of which will improve levels of the gastric-delaying hormones.
3. Set Your Metabolism Straight
Your thyroid, a bat-shaped gland in your neck, produces various thyroid hormones including T3 and T4, which control how many calories you burn just sitting on your butt.
Generally, autoimmune diseases are the cause of big problems in your thyroid hormone levels. So if you suddenly gain weight, notice your hair thinning, or experience extreme fatigue, reach out to your doc, ASAP, said Dr. Steven Lamm, a clinical professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine and author of “Fighting Fat.” However, even healthy women can experience thyroid hormone dips that cause your metabolism to stall.
Since iodine deficiency can cause your thyroid to malfunction, try to eat more iodine-rich seafood, such as cod, tuna, and shrimp. Seaweed is also one of the best sources of iodine around, according to the National Institutes of Health. Just check your package’s label, as iodine content can vary widely between brands.