We always look for an easy way out when it comes to weight loss. Honestly, until and unless you have a medical condition, you’ll find that one doesn’t just gain weight drastically.
You see, our body is very well-equipped with the mechanism of keeping our weight in check. There are certain hormones that burn the extra fat. However, it is in our hands to ensure that the fat level doesn’t exceed a point where it becomes difficult for the body to regulate its weight naturally.
According to Dr Aparna Govil Bhasker, bariatric & laparoscopic surgeon at Saifee, Apollo Spectra, Namaha, and Currae Hospitals, Mumbai, weight gain is not something that we bring upon ourselves. Obesity is a very complex condition and there are multiple reasons for weight gain. Hormonal factors play a significant role in weight gain. Some of the hormones involved with body weight regulation are listed below:
Insulin is produced in the pancreas. It controls fat storage in the cells and prevents the stored fat from being broken down. Obesity leads to insulin resistance and vice versa. Chronic elevation of insulin levels leads to increased blood sugar levels and may eventually lead to metabolic syndrome.
“Leptin is a hormone which is produced by fat cells or adipocytes. It is the ‘satiety’ hormone and it basically tells the brain we’re full once we’re done eating. Ideally, high levels of leptin must lead to a reduction in appetite. However, this is not the case for people who suffer from obesity. They typically have ‘leptin resistance’ which means that in spite of high levels of leptin, their appetite is not suppressed,” suggested Dr Bhasker.
Ghrelin is the ‘hunger’ hormone which is mainly secreted by the stomach. When the stomach is empty, it signals the brain to eat. Thus, ghrelin levels are high when you are on an empty stomach and they drop after meals.
GLP-1 is released by the small intestine in response to the entry of the food. It plays a key role in keeping blood sugar level stable and also induces satiety.
These are a couple of other hormones that play a role in weight balance.
1. A low carbohydrate and high protein diet reduces insulin resistance.
2. Exercising for 45 minutes at least 4 to 5 days a week helps regulate weight gain and increases insulin sensitivity.
3. Decreasing sugar intake decreases insulin resistance.
4. One must avoid foods rich in trans-fats.
5. “Intake of green tea in limited amounts helps to lower blood sugar and insulin resistance. Flax seeds and foods rich in fibre also help. Probiotics have been seen to increase the levels of GLP-1,” recommended Dr Bhasker.
6. Your diet must be balanced and contain all nutrients in adequate quantities. Avoid crash diets because they can lead to hormonal imbalance.
7. It is important to reduce stress. Activities like meditation and other relaxation techniques will lead to a reduction in the production of stress hormones which are often responsible for weight gain.
8. It is also important to have good sleep hygiene. Sleeping on time and for 7 to 8 hours every night helps to keep stress and weight gain at bay.
“The key is regularity. Your effort must be continuous and sustained. It must become a way of life if you are really serious about your weight,” concluded Dr Bhasker.
Regulating weight gain is all about striking the perfect hormonal balance!