Can’t Lose Weight? These 3 Pesky Hormones May Be To Blame

If you’re trying to lose weight but find yourself hitting a plateau, leanbean weight loss could be due to changes in three hormones: insulin, cortisol, and leptin. Understanding how these hormones affect your metabolism can help you break through this frustrating roadblock and reach your fitness goals.

What is insulin? 

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps the body store carbohydrates for energy. When you eat carbohydrate-rich foods, such as bread or pasta, the carbohydrates are broken down into glucose (sugar), which triggers an insulin response that helps move glucose from the bloodstream into cells throughout the body. 

How does insulin affect weight loss? 

When too much food enters our system, it causes blood sugar levels to rise. As a result, our bodies release more insulin than is needed to process all that glucose – causing excess energy to be stored as fat rather than burned. This can make it difficult to lose weight because your body is now storing extra calories instead of burning them off. 

What is cortisol? 

Cortisol is a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands that help regulate blood sugar levels and control our ‘fight or flight’ response to danger or perceived threat. It also helps us cope with physical and emotional stressors, such as lack of sleep or exercise, but prolonged exposure to cortisol can increase appetite and cravings for unhealthy foods, leading to weight gain over time.  

How does cortisol affect weight loss? 

High levels of cortisol can lead to cravings for sugary snacks as well as salty and fatty foods, which provide immediate satisfaction but don’t offer lasting benefits when it comes to maintaining healthy eating habits and losing weight. In addition, chronic stress has been linked to higher levels of abdominal fat – something many people struggle with when trying to shed pounds.  

What is leptin? 

Leptin is a hormone produced by fat cells that regulate hunger by controlling the feeling of fullness after eating; if there are too few leptin receptors in the brain, we won’t feel satisfied after a large meal and will continue to crave more food, even though our bodies don’t need extra calories at that moment. When there are too few leptin receptors in the brain, it leads to overeating, which often leads to long-term weight gain over time if not addressed properly through diet and lifestyle changes.  

How does leptin affect weight loss? 

Leptin resistance occurs when our brains become desensitized to leptin signals due to excessive amounts of fat cells releasing this hormone into the bloodstream; this makes it harder for us to know when we’ve eaten enough because we don’t get that satisfying feeling of fullness after meals like normal people do – meaning we end up consuming far more calories than we need on a regular basis without realizing it, ultimately leading to unwanted weight gain over time if not addressed quickly through proper dietary interventions combined with consistent physical activity habits.  

Lifestyle changes that can help balance these hormones and support healthy weight loss goals 

The good news is that simple lifestyle changes can help balance these hormones so that they work together rather than against you on your journey to optimal health and wellness! Here are just a few examples:

Get plenty of sleep every night – 7-9 hours per night has been shown to help regulate cortisol production while improving overall mental well-being, which reduces stress-related eating behaviors associated with increased cortisol production.  

Reduce your intake of processed/refined carbohydrates – replace white bread/pasta/rice, etc with whole grain alternatives as they contain fiber which slows down the rate of digestion, thus reducing the insulin spikes associated with the sudden influx of glucose into the bloodstream caused by refined carbohydrates.    

Monitor portion size – overeating causes increased leptin production, so regulating portion size ensures that appropriate amounts of food enter the stomach, preventing unnecessary increases in leptin secretion.  

Regular physical activity – regular physical activity improves overall health and well-being while reducing cortisol secretion rates, helping to reduce the potential damage caused by chronically elevated levels.