Although we hear constantly about the hormones estrogen and testosterone, there are many other hormones that affect the way your body functions. It turns out there seems to be four key hormones that affect hunger:
1. Ghrelin is a hormone secreted by your stomach and intestines. Ghrelin rises when you haven't eaten in a while and falls after a midday meal.
How to Keep it in Check: Eat something at least every 3-4 hours, and get plenty of sleep.
2. Leptin is produced by fat cells and it signals the brain to stop eating. When you lose weight, you lose leptin, too, which can lead to increased hunger and rebound weight gain.
How to Keep it in Check: Lose weight slowly, aiming for no more than a half-pound to 2-lb weight loss per week. Also, occasionally indulging in high-carbohydrate foods can bump up leptin.
3. Obsetatin is a hormone that slows down the digestive process, suppressing hunger.
How to Keep it in Check: Researchers are still trying to figure this one out, but it appears that getting enough sleep, reducing stress, and eating a balanced diet help your body produce enough obsetatin.
4. Cortisol is a hormone that is released when your body is under physical or mental stress. Cortisol increases blood sugar, which gives you rapid energy, but also makes you hungry and prone to an energy crash.
How to Keep it in Check: Be sure to plan rest days and/or easy workouts into your workout week, build little breaks into your workday, and include de-stressing rituals such as yoga or meditation in your week. Processed foods also cause increased cortisol.
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