So you watch what you eat and go the gym regularly but still have trouble losing stubborn fat and increasing your energy levels? One of the things that could be hindering your progress towards your goal of better health and a leaner physique might be because of what is happening inside of you as opposed to outside. Our stress levels and the way our hormones function are very important factors that are often left unaddressed when it comes to fat loss.
Hormones are really what makes up what we are and a little bit of who we are as individuals. The detailed information you can see through your hormone reports and brain chemistry patters are very revealing but as we don’t always have access to these reports, we all have general understanding of how your hormones are working by simply assessing how we feel – our energy levels, sex drive, our moods, our strength, mental clarity, our appetite and hunger cravings, etc. All of these come down to whether or not our hormones are working optimally.
When our energy levels are down, many of us often turn to caffeine or sugar which causes an artificial (and temporary) surge of energy which can severely compromise our adrenals over time. But where does it stop? I’m horrified when I hear about clients drinking up to 5 plus coffees per day “just to stay awake or alert”. And what about the extra (EXTRA) sugar in our foods? And don’t even get me started on energy drinks.
Massive amounts of sugar and caffeine will cause our hormones to run awry. It clouds our neurological functions, makes us retain water, saps our energy, robs us of important vitamins and minerals, and can severely hinder our fat loss efforts.
Hormonal balance is so important when it comes to fat loss. If our adrenals aren’t strong then our sex hormones will be imbalanced and it will be very difficult to lose fat because our body is always in “Fight or Flight (i.e. a lion chasing us)”. Our bodies are living in the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) which is “fight or flight”. It always feels as we are under stress or under attack. We should be living in the Parasympathetic Nervous System (“rest/digest” and “feed/breed”) as much as possible where our bodies can react in a normal environment and adapt properly to what we feed it and how we treat it.
One of the most surprising thing that my clients hear from me is exercise is can also an added stress if done incorrectly with excessive frequency. While there are obvious benefits to exercise, too much exercise (training 2x/day, 7/days week) is not productive to one’s overall fitness goals or general health as a whole. Training should have a structure and a purpose so adequate rest and recovery should also be a part of your fitness program for continued progress. For women, some of the most common side effects of too much exercise is actually weight gain (yes it can happen), erratic eating patterns, and water retention.
How we perceive and manage our stress response (mental/emotional/physical) all relates to hormonal balance. Achieving internal and external balance will have profound effects on the way our body not only functions, but also looks.