Understanding Hormones and How Food Can Play a Role


“I have a slow/fast metabolism.” Some may hear from others as they talk about their health and weight loss. What is it that affects the way we handle our weight loss and health? Are there much deeper factors that make us the way we are besides just jumping on the treadmill and laying off on the chocolate?

“You can blame your slow metabolism on your hormones — or a lack thereof. A natural lack of estrogen receptors in the brain due to aging caused mice to gain weight without consuming more calories, researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found. The same principle could apply to humans. People put on 10% more weight each decade after we reach full maturation because of how our hormones change as we age.” says Eva Cwynar, MD, an endocrinologist and metabolic medicine specialist in Beverly Hills and author of The Fatigue Solution.

Another reason our metabolism slows: The amount of the hormone testosterone in both men and women decreases as we age, Dr. Cwynar says. Testosterone helps regulate muscle mass, and the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even when resting. Men may be able to prevent this change by getting more vitamin D, a recent study in the journal Hormone and Metabolic Research.

But this doesn’t give us an excuse not to pursue the best shape of our lives in a smart way. Smart eating (majority of foods that do not contain labels), progressive strength training and cardiovascular fitness is best to keep those hormones that we DO have in top level.

Our foods are a huge factor on how we regulate our hormones and our bodies in general. Think of the foods we eat as a key (much like a car) to how well we function. If there are goals we have then we need to fuel our bodies with the right keys to drive that vehicle at an optimal level. This goes to mention the “Low calorie”, “Low Fat” or “Low SUGAR” foods. Just because the foods that we take in are low calorie doesn’t exactly lead to weight loss and optimal function. Our bodies are a much more complex than machines, so we are able to adapt to poor food choices, but over time the wrong keys (artificial foods) will lead to decay/breakdown (cancer).

There seems to be those great-tasting family recipes that creep up on us from time to time when we get together for parties. Those recipes may not always be the best choice for us, but no need to become frustrated and stressed when you fail to meet your goal of eliminating them. It can be a little give and take sometimes and talking with yourself before-hand setting boundaries.

“I am only going to have one hand-full of chips (insert favorite cheat food) AFTER my nutrient hunger is filled.”

It is important to write down those boundaries/goals and to talk to others so it can become a support system for you. It is also important to make sure your body has the essential nutrients it needs to become healthier and more efficient the MAJORITY of the time.

What I tend to do is plan out/make my meals during the week down to the “T” and the weekend can become a time for me to be a little looser with those restrictions. That is sort of a “10% Rule” mantra that I follow and seems to work well with my energy levels and performance. With the weekend being looser doesn’t mean that I eat pizza and pancakes all day either. We usually treat ourselves to an ice cream treat or have whatever meals that our friends/family is having. This keeps us motivated and keeps our minds from caving too hard during the week.

Believe me, if you take the time to plan all your meals and shopping around foods that your body needs, you will see the benefits and health immediately! Continually try new variations of everything you cook and challenge your heart and muscles daily.

In review:

1. Plan your activites and meals ahead

2. Make smart choices to take advantage of proper hormone levels

3. Have fun with strength training and cardiovascular activites

and…of course get plenty of rest and recovery. The best thing to do is listen to your body when working out. If you are tired and low on energy, don’t force things, take it easy and take advantage of a better tomorrow.