4 Hormones to Tame if You Want to Lose Weight After 60
Do you find yourself unable to lose weight like you used to when you were younger?
As another candle is added to the birthday cake, another pound or two is added to our waistlines! Here are the top four pesky hormones that may be sabotaging your weight loss success and how you can tame them.
Of course, nothing in this article should be considered medical advice, but, hopefully it gives you something to discuss with your doctor on your next visit.
Cortisol: AKA the H-angry Hormone
Cortisol levels increase in times of stress. Some of us are constantly living in a stressful environment and even if you eat well and exercise, chronic high stress can prevent you from losing weight. Even worse, stress can add a pound or two that is difficult to lose. A double whammy associated with increased levels of cortisol is higher insulin levels, causing blood sugar lows that leave you craving sugary, fatty foods.
During stressful times, you get a surge of cortisol, which tells your body to replenish your body with energy even though you haven’t used very many calories. This can make you hungry – very hungry. And your body keeps on pumping out that cortisol as long as the stress continues.
How to tame this H-angry hormone?
The best way to tackle this hormone head-on is to decrease any tension you may have. Here is a simple technique I use whenever I feel my stress levels rising. It works particularly well in any traffic jam – let’s face it; getting worked up is not going to make the traffic move any faster.
Close your eyes and picture a square and inhale around the square. Then…
Inhale for 4 seconds… inhale 2, 3, 4.
Then hold for 4 seconds… hold 2,3,4.
Then exhale for 4 seconds…. exhale 2,3,4.
And now empty lungs for 4 seconds…. empty 2,3,4 and relax…
Repeat this series three times.
Leptin: AKA the Satiety Hormone
Leptin is produced by the body’s fat cells. Its primary target is in the brain, particularly the hypothalamus. Leptin is supposed to tell the brain that we have enough fat stored, that we don’t need to eat and that we can burn calories at a normal rate.
These days, something is broken in the mechanism that is supposed to prevent us from overeating, leaving us feeling rarely satisfied after eating a meal. The fat cells use leptin to “tell” the brain how much body fat the body is carrying. High levels of leptin should tell the brain that we have plenty of fat stored, while low levels of leptin tell the brain that fat stores are low and that we are at risk of starvation.
The problem for many women is that the leptin signal isn’t working. There may be a high level of leptin floating around, but the brain doesn’t register that it is there. This condition is known as leptin resistance. It is now believed to be the main biological abnormality in human obesity.
How to tame this pesky hormone?
The key to preventing, or reversing, leptin resistance, is reducing diet-induced inflammation. This is where a great green smoothie helps in any “hunger fixing mission” – with extraordinary results! Green smoothies with a higher ratio of green vegetables to fruit contain all the right lean and “green” quality proteins.
Adding two teaspoons of hemp powder or nut butter will also increase the protein content, which is great to help tame any leptin resistance you may be experiencing.
Ghrelin: AKA the Craving Hormone
Ghrelin works in tandem with leptin. When your stomach is empty, it is ghrelin that is responsible for telling you that you are hungry and that you need to eat something. These days, something is broken in the ghrelin mechanism too, increasing your hunger with your rarely feeling satiated.
Ghrelin is secreted primarily in the lining of the stomach. Your stomach makes ghrelin when it’s empty. Just like leptin, ghrelin goes into the blood, crosses the blood-brain barrier and ends up at your hypothalamus where it tells you you’re hungry. Basically, ghrelin is high before you eat and low after you eat.
How to tame this craving hormone?
Water is an essential part of life and well, it can help you tame down this hunger hormone. Make sure you keep yourself well hydrated and next time you feel hungry, have a glass of water first and you may be surprised to find your hunger pains abating.
Testosterone: AKA the Mojo Hormone
We all know what it feels like when you have lost your mojo. Women with low testosterone often find it more difficult to gain muscle or burn fat. The decline in testosterone in women is solely age-related whereas decline occurs in both men and women. With low testosterone levels, your muscles may atrophy, leading to sluggish metabolism and weight gain.
How to tame this mojo hormone so that you can lose weight after 60?
You can coax this hormone back with resistance training, which revs up your testosterone. Moving through menopause doesn’t have to be such a tough mental and physical battle. If you focus on your weight- training program, you’ll be able to fight potential fat gain and battle the tummy bulge.
If you do not stay active as you age, with declining testosterone levels, you will lose muscle. It is incredibly important to maintain or adopt a strength-training workout that is sustainable for you! Without one, your lean mass will decrease, your metabolism will also decrease and fat gain will become more likely. You can fight the fat by staying strong, as well as keeping worrying about injuries from falling at bay.
I love the way something simple like incorporating a green smoothie into your day can help with taming these hormones. Every woman that I share my green smoothie recipes with love the fantastic benefits including clearer mind, better sleep and best of all, a decreased dress size.
If you want to join me in my next Green Smoothie 5 Day Challenge click here. It is a free five-day challenge that will change the way you look at your greens!
What do you do to stay healthy? Do you have your favorite green smoothie recipe? Are there any other things you do with your diet and lifestyle to keep these four hormones in balance? What have you found works best for you? Please share in the comments.
Julie Dargan (RN, ND, BHSc) is the Menopause Whisperer. She assists women going through hormonal changes and want to live each day with confidence and enthusiasm. Her website was created to help women understand the menopause and how to halt the middle age spread.