Weight management is often connected to hormone management. Sometimes you can lose weight by just optimizing hormone levels due to improved eating habits. Nothing is guaranteed but you can try to manage your weight positively by just implementing simple eating habits.
Here are 19 habits that might make a change for you:
- Eat frequently
Simply avoid getting hungry. Eat to avoid high ghrelin release, even when you are not hungry. By keeping your stomach filled, you signal to your brain that you don’t need food.
- Eat more healthy fats
All hormones need fat! Again, eating enough fat controls leptin levels and increases your body’s own testosterone production. Not eating enough fat will drop your leptin levels and you will never feel satiated. Great sources are avocado, nuts, salmon, olive oil, grass-fed butter and beef.
- Eat organic grass-fed meat
In the regular meat industry animals get pumped up with hormones. This includes hormones that you don’t really want to supplement. Adding to this are antibiotics and toxins that are stored in the animal’s fat and muscle.
You are what you eat. You want to have healthy, lean body mass? Eat healthy, lean body mass!
The protein in meat also elevates glucagon levels.
Beef and lamb are especially high in zinc too. Combined with the healthy containing fat beef and lamb result in the ultimate testosterone booster.
- Cut out alcohol
Alcohol blocks your liver from doing more important processes like breaking down food toxins and estrogen. Once your body works on breaking down alcohol, you will struggle to cut fat.
Beer in combination with alcohol can raise estrogen.
- Reduce dairy
Cow’s milk is a bad food choice but please don’t condemn it completely because it can also provide valuable nutrients. Just look at the facts and evaluate if you can tolerate it.
It contains over 60 hormones. Coming from female pregnant cows you can guess that milk also contains estrogen which can influence mood, body fat and water retention. Dairy also raises insulin, leading to hunger.
If you tolerate dairy, stick to organic grass-fed milk. Goat milk is often more tolerable than cow’s milk.
- Eat protein with carbs
Do you remember the insulin-glucagon see-saw? Whenever you eat protein, your glucagon levels rise, so eating protein with carbs helps you to control your insulin levels and to also use the stored carbs. Protein is also suspected to lower ghrelin and therefore suppresses hunger, but studies are conflicting [13, 14].
- Include protein in your pre-workout meal
The following released glucagon causes your liver to release stored energy. You will have a more effective workout and therefore burn more.
- Eat more fibre
Fibre binds free floating estrogen. It is also a strong insulin regulator. If you don’t get in enough fibre, you can think about supplementing it with psyllium husk.
- Eat cruciferous vegetables every day
The variety is big: broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage…
Besides high micronutrients and antioxidant density these vegetables can help to regulate sex hormones and even block excessive estrogen.
- Reduce unfermented soy
If you are an estrogen dominant male, you should reduce unfermented soy like tofu and soy milk as they contain estrogen-like substances from plants (phytoestrogen).
- Time your carbs right
You don’t want to have constant peaking insulin levels. Eat carbs at the right time to justify the insulin rise. Eating simple carbs when you don’t need them will also raise cortisol. Not optimal.
The leaner you are, the more your looks and scale respond to carb intake. You might look completely different the day after a high carb meal. Keep a strong mind and learn to deal with fluctuating changes. Learn about your body’s responses while you are reaching your end goal.
- Eat cinnamon
A teaspoon of cinnamon can temper high blood sugar elevation . It can help you to maintain lower insulin levels after sweeter meals. Put cinnamon everywhere. Sprinkle it on your fruit or put it in your water to drink it. You don’t need to be greedy with it, but make sure it is high quality Ceylon-cinnamon low in the liver toxic compound coumarin. Other sorts contain harmful and cancer causing substances.
- Eat citrus fruits
Citrus fruits, especially grapefruit, are shown to regulate insulin , especially when eaten before meals. It can even improve insulin resistance. Half of a fresh grapefruit before a meal can significantly reduce body fat in obese people.
- Eat magnesium rich foods
Great sources are spinach, almonds, chard, black beans and pumpkin seeds. Besides beneficial effects on the nervous system (like better recovery), magnesium will lower cortisol and make you feel more relaxed. This micronutrient also plays a minor role in regulating the insulin and thyroid hormones.
- Do refeeds/cheat meals
A cheat meal can give your mind a much-needed relief or distraction. It’s also beneficial to raise leptin levels and to signal to your brain that you have enough energy. If you decide to do it, you must do it right.
- Snack berries
Even though they are low in calories and carbs, the refreshing sweet taste can give you an energy boost. Berries are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C which lowers cortisol and boosts immunity.
- Eat tryptophan rich foods
Tryptophan is an amino acid that has been shown to raise the “happy hormone” serotonin and therefore lower cortisol. You can find tryptophan producers in legumes, eggs, salmon and oats. Eat these foods and notice better sleep, feeling more relaxed and happy.
- Limit coffee intake
Coffee is great if used properly. It is an energy and metabolism booster, also high in antioxidants. But coffee raises insulin and too much can make you nervous and jittery, resulting in a higher cortisol release. Limit coffee to two to three cups per day.
- Eat less sodium
Our food is always sodium loaded, especially processed and packaged food. It’s no surprise that many people have water retention. Always check food labels. The daily recommended amount of sodium is 2,300mg.
Don’t look into the mirror or step on the scale after a high-salt day. It can make you panic and change your mind about diet and training. Don’t worry, it’s just water under your skin. Simply drink more, reduce salt and keep going!