Have you ever wondered why some people seem to be able to eat almost anything they like, and never have to worry about belly fat or fat around their hips and thighs? Are they exceptionally blessed, or do they secretly do something to keep the fat away? If they are secretly doing something, wouldn’t you want to know about it so you can also get that toned body you truly desire?
Actually, some people are born with a genetic makeup that helps them burn fat quickly. They have a high metabolism (the chemical processes that convert food into energy.) Thus, they can eat whatever they like and never grow fat. For the rest of us (a good MAJORITY of us,) access to information (and more importantly, application) like this can make the difference between burning fat effortlessly and struggling to keep fit.
Armed with this information, you can choose to lower your metabolism, or make a conscious decision to force your metabolism to function at optimum capacity. And today you are going to learn one of the most factors that can lead to a sustained increase in metabolism.
A prolonged state of hormonal imbalance is one of the reasons why you have accumulated body fat that is difficult to control. Hormones, by the way, are chemical substances produced (by cells or glands in the body) and sent out to stimulate or help control how the cells and organs of the other body parts work. Hormones can have a wide range of effects on the body. Like causing mood swings, regulating the metabolism, controlling the reproductive cycle, inducing hunger and cravings, and stimulating or inhibiting growth, as in the case of childbirth or menopause.
Today we are concerned with the hormones that play an important role in the determination of the metabolism. And the good news is that, unlike some other hormones, you can directly control the hormones that make you fat.
The job of insulin in the body is to signal the fat cells in the body to clean up the excess glucose (or blood sugar) in the blood, convert it into fat, and store it for future energy needs. So, anytime you eat, insulin is produced by the pancreas in response to your rising blood sugar. The amount of insulin generated is dependent on what you eat and how much you eat.
If your diet is high in simple carbohydrates (like table sugar, cakes and white flour products, fruit juices, soft drinks, rice, potato, and bread,) this means that you are dumping large amounts of glucose into your bloodstream. All the excess sugar is thus collected and stored away, making the person get fatter. As the years go by, the body gets used to high insulin signals and the accumulation of blood sugar.
And the problem is that the more you put sugar in your bloodstream, the harder the pancreas needs to work to pump out enough insulin to mop up the excess glucose. What happens when you constantly load your system with carbohydrates (simple carbohydrates especially) is that the fat cells begin to ignore the insulin, and the body would need even more insulin to keep removing the sugar from the blood. This leads to a state of insulin resistance by the cells, and can lead to diabetes and some chronic illnesses.
While all of this is going on, the body’s glucagon level drops. Glucagon is the hormone that does the exact opposite of what insulin does. It encourages fat the cells to give up their fat and produce energy (instead of storing them.) And this is what you want to achieve as you seek to lose weight. Just remember that if your insulin level is high, glucagon is underproduced.
So, to maintain a balance, promote health, and make for natural fat-burning, you have to avoid eating lots of carbohydrates (mostly simple carbohydrates.) This will make you retain maximum sensitivity to insulin production, and help maintain the right glucagon levels that help you burn fat.
The bottom line is that, when you consume too many simple sugars, you literally switch off your body’s fat-burning mechanism. Continue in this trend, and you could develop insulin resistance and weaken your ability to burn fat. And to get things back to normal, you have to cut down on the simple carbohydrates and allow your body to rebalance itself. When this happens, you increase your metabolism and burn fat naturally.
Cortisol is another of the hormone that you want to keep under control if you wish to keep your metabolism high. Cortisol is also called the stress hormone because it is released into the bloodstream when you are feeling stressed. It’s job, just like insulin is to instruct the fat cells to store fat. Interestingly, the instructions have more effect on the fat cells found in the abdomen.
This means that raised cortisol levels may be one of the major contributing factors to increased belly fat. But more worrisome is its effect on overall health. Cortisol promotes the accumulation of fat in the liver and this is one of the reasons responsible for insulin resistance.
Another downside to cortisol production is that it inhibits the production of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a naturally occurring chemical in the brain, that is partly responsible for regulating brain functions like appetite, the mood, sleep, and memory. When you are stressed, your serotonin levels drop, while cortisol level increases, making you crave sugary foods to relax you and make you content. Unfortunately, these foods only increase blood sugar and insulin.
The best way to escape this cycle is to manage the stress in your life. Stress comes in many forms (emotional stress, family stress, social stress, change stress, chemical stress, environmental stress, etc.) and you want to avoid as much of them as possible. Stress management is one important factor when trying to control body fat. If you can’t get a hold on stress, the hormones get skewed, resulting to excess fat accumulation.
Another way to combat cortisol accumulation is to boost your testosterone (an important hormone that does so many good things, including turning fat into muscle, and helping us to positively handle stress) by exercising regularly. When you do strenuous exercise, you reduce the production of cortisol and encourage muscle tissue production. This helps to block the storage of fat and encourage fat burning. In fact, excessive cortisol levels can promote the breakdown of muscle tissue. So it’s one against the other, and you want to engage in activities that keep your cortisol level as low as possible.
In summary, hormones play a major role in weight regulation. Insulin needs to kept at a steady level by reducing consumption of simple carbohydrates. This increases glucagon levels and results in fat-burning. At the same token, reduce stress in your life, and exercise regularly to reduce cortisol and increase muscle formation. These simple changes balance the hormones and increase metabolism. Our weight management program, clean 9 offers one of best ways to balance the hormones and set the foundation for effective weight loss and healthy living.