Saturday, April 16, 2011

Why Are Your Hormones Messed Up?

To understand why your hormones can be thrown out of whack and derail your ability to maintain a healthy weight, you first need to know one key fact about your endocrine system: It reacts to what you put into your body and how you treat it. All day your body interacts with external variables — what you choose to eat, the time of day, the intensity of your workout — and your endocrine system responds by releasing hormones to help you balance your blood sugar, go to sleep, burn fat, or build muscle.


The problem is that the endocrine system doesn't know what to make of many of the external variables it's introduced to. Many factors in our diet and environment — from processed foods to pesticides to lack of sleep — confuse our hormones to the point that they don't know which end is up. I call these factors endocrine disrupters because in the face of them, your hormones begin to overreact and overcompensate. And that's when trouble starts.

Endocrine disrupters can start a chain reaction: One hormone goes into overdrive and another goes into hibernation mode. That imbalance creates another, and another, and another. These dramatic hormone shifts weren't part of your body's original plan, so eventually the unpredictable fluctuations start to wear down your body's natural regulatory processes. Your endocrine system no longer understands what balance looks like. It stops responding the way it should. Your organs take a beating; your glands burn out. You develop a hypothyroid condition and/or become resistant to leptin (a satiety — or fullness — hormone) and insulin. And then you gain weight.

The good news is that you can help balance your hormones in part by changing what you put in your mouth.

From LOSING IT! With Jillian Michaels

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