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The main difference between health and disease, energetic youth or sedentary aging, being overweight or being at a healthy weight, are hormones.

No matter what you read, what you say or what are the myths you choose to believe, hormones are the once, that dictate how your body functions and how these functions or the lack of them is reflecting on the way you feel or the way you look.

On the other hand, what influences our hormones- which hormones are being released and which one aren’t- are external factors from our environment, as well as the food we eat.

What we eat matters. And  I won’t get tired of repeating that not all calories are created equal.(read more here: Part 1,Part2,Part3)

Besides the number of calories, it is really important what are the macronutrients or let’s not play it smart- what is the ratio between fats, protein and carbs in the food we eat.

Because no matter if we deny this fact, each one of the three macronutrients, creates a different hormonal response in our bodies, which in turn initiates or inhibits other vital processes in the body.

Imagine it like this- you have three people, who should deliver an information to another person. Each one of them interprets the information in a different way and then delivers it to the fourth person, through his own perspective.

What is the probability, that the forth person will receive an information, completely different from the one coming from the original source? It’s huge!

Well, the same happens with your body, because everything that gets inside our body, carries some kind of information, which in turn sends signals to our systems in the body to do or not to do something.

Often times, women or men come to work out with me, and tell me about their problem zones, where they carry the most fat. Usually this is the belly, the love handles or the butt and thighs.

People often get upset that I am giving them lower body exercises, when they don’t have problems with their legs, but instead their problem zone is the belly and they claim they should emphasize on the sit ups.

Truth is  that losing weight doesn’t happen like this. A human’s body is an extremely intelligent “machine” and everything we see on the outside, has its logical explanation, which should be searched inside- in the way our body functions and what happens there.

The spots on the body, where we carry the most excess fat are just an external indication for exactly what is happening inside our bodies and instead of doing a bunch of ridiculous exercises, in order to get rid of your love handles, I’d recommend you focus on what you are eating.

In order to understand, exactly what is happening in your body, I will ask you to wake up your scientific personality, to arm yourself with some patience and read the next couple paragraphs.

In short, if fats are being released from the fat cells or stored there, depends on two enzymes- lipoprotein lipase( LPL) ( which is responsible for storing fat inside the cells) and hormone- sensitive lipase(HSL) ( which releases fats from the cells).

Calm down. You don’t need to remember the names. Just imagine that these are two people, that you just met on the street. You didn’t remember their names, but you still remembered their main characteristics- and in our case- one of the enzymes stores fat, and the other one releases them from the fat cells.

In the fat tissue, there are aterogenic receptors, which are divided in alpha and beta receptors. Alpha receptors are the once that slow down the release of fats, and beta receptors increase the release of fats.

And in case you are about to press the X on the right corner and close the article, I will be quick to keep your attention and sum it up for you:

-LPL stores fats

-HSL helps fat to be released

-alpha receptors slow down the release of fats

-beta receptors increase the release of fats

Why am I burdening your brain with all of this information? Because these enzymes and receptors, play a key role when it comes to storing fat or enjoying a leaner, fitter body.

What influences these enzymes and receptors, are the signals they receive from hormones.

So, in order to look and feel the way you want, your hormones should send the appropriate signals to HSL and the beta receptors and keep the LPL and alpha receptor under control.

Everything happens like this:

The hormones responsible for storing fats, influence mainly the alpha receptors and the LPL, by increasing their functions, while inhibiting the functions of HSL and beta receptors.

That would mean, that you wouldn’t want to create an environment in your body, where these hormones are raging and taking advantage over the other hormones.

And which are the main hormones, that could lead to this unwanted effect? They are the chronically elevated insulin, cortisol and high estrogen levels.

On the other hand, if you want to make the most of HSL and beta receptors, you should create an environment in your body, which sends the appropriate signals toward them. And in this case, you need adequate levels of the hormones that stimulate fat burning. And which are they? Some of the main hormones, which you could influence through proper nutrition, appropriate training regimen and adequate amounts of rest are growth hormone, glucagon, leptin and thyroid hormones.

And because I love this topic and I could write forever, but I think that I already lost a big part of my readers, because of the terminology, I will make things simpler and I will just tell you what you should do and what you shouldn’t.

The first place is reserved for nutrition. This is one of the most direct ways, through which you could influence, which hormones are being released in your body, and what are the signals they send to enzymes and receptors.

If you go on sever calorie restrictive diets, you can be sure, that even if the sale shows you weigh less, the stubborn fat will always be there, bothering you. It happens like this, because not enough food or the lack of micro and macronutrients, stimulates the release of the hormones, which store fat and inhibit the release of those that could help you burn fat.

Thyroid hormones are among the main regulators of your metabolism. When you limit the calories too much, the release of thyroid hormones slows down and you are robbing yourself out of the opportunity to get rid of the stubborn fat.

Besides that, if you eat too many carbs or in other words, if you eat too much pizza, bread, pasta, junk food, probably your insulin levels are constantly sky rocket. Insulin is the hormone responsible for storing fat ( and don’t get me wrong, it is an important hormones, but in the adequate amount) and when its levels are too high, the release of glucagon ( the hormone that helps you burn fat for energy) is inhibited. So you are once again, creating an environment, where you welcome the storage of fat, instead of the burning of fat.

If you are a cardio queen and a fan of long, exhausting workout sessions, you are once again creating conditions, where your body will defend the stubborn fats. Such training marathons, increase the cortisol levels ( the so called stress hormone), which in turn stimulates the release of insulin and causes a cascade of unfavorable fat burning conditions. In turn cortisol stimulates the whole “accoutrement” in your body- to store fat.

And what happens? You are on a strict diet, you train a lot, but the results aren’t there. Maybe you are cursed? Or actually you are not!

Just as it is with everything in life, you do not need to make too much effort to achieve the desired results. Instead, you need to take adequate time, to learn the mechanism, that makes thing happen, and in our case- your own physiology, so you can understand how to use it in your favor and not against yourself!

Recommended reading:

Women and Fruit Diets: How Fruits Actually Interfere with Your Weight loss Goals

Paradoxes of Energy Balance

And one of my activities during the weekend 🙂

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Ines Subashka

Инес Субашка е основател на IFS - зали за кондиционни тренировки и мобилност. Автор е на 6 книги за здравословно хранене и движение.

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