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  • Writer's pictureHelen

Women's Hormones and Weight Gain


Hormones are the messenger system in the body called the endocrine system. These hormones exert control over many functions of the body, including regulation of your blood sugar. Several hormones, including oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and cortisol have some relationship with blood sugar.


Blood sugar is the concentration of glucose in the bloodstream. It is the body's main source of energy.

You've probably heard of insulin, a really important hormone made in the pancreas, it tells our cells to take up glucose from food for energy. When there’s glucose in the bloodstream, for example after a meal, our body responds by increasing insulin levels. Insulin signals to the body to store glucose, first in the liver as glycogen and then as fat in our fat cells. In between meals, insulin levels fall, signalling to the body that it should burn stored energy.


Insulin resistance is an inability to control blood sugar levels, where insulin levels tend to stay consistently high. Insulin resistance means that the cell’s metabolic processes, that are supposed to turn food into energy, are not functioning properly. This can result in less energy, more inflammation and an increased tendency to gain fat, especially around the waist. Lowering insulin is therefore key to weight loss. The best way to reverse insulin resistance is to balance your blood sugar levels.


Stress is also a risk factor for insulin resistance as cortisol (a hormone that plays an important role in the stress response) causes our blood sugar levels to rise. Stress and dysregulated cortisol can also lead to a slower thyroid and therefore slower metabolism.


When we have too much oestrogen (one of our sex hormones) it can lead to weight gain as it is an important metabolic hormone and increases insulin sensitivity. Did you know that in the luteal phase (2nd half of the menstrual cycle) there is less oestrogen and more progesterone which stimulates your appetite, hence why you feel hungrier the week before your period!


Menopause is also a risk factor for insulin resistance, in part because of our changing levels of oestrogen and progesterone. Testosterone also has a part to play in insulin resistance.


The benefits of balanced blood sugar levels

  • Balanced hormones and regular ovulation

  • Increased energy

  • Healthier weight

  • Improved sleep

  • Reduced cravings and hunger

  • Clearer skin

How to balance blood sugar levels

  • Eat protein with each meal

  • Try and eat food within a 10 hour window (e.g breakfast at 8 am, dinner at 6pm)

  • Have 3 meals a day

  • Regular movement

  • Manage stress levels

  • Get enough sleep, 7 hours a night


If you would like personalised support with helping to balance your blood sugar levels contact Helen at info@womenshealthhub.co.uk


References:



Future Woman training materials



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