Weight Management

Did you know that your weight is directly related to your hormones? 

To maintain a healthy weight, a delicate balance of hormones is required. If certain hormones are off-kilter, weight gain often results. In order to lose weight, and keep it off, we must understand the intricate inner workings of our many hormones. Once we understand the relationship between hormones and weight gain, we can take the proper steps to balance these hormones and lose weight in a sustainable, healthy way.


Insulin is one of the most important hormones when it comes to weight loss and weight gain. Made by the pancreas, insulin is responsible for storing blood sugar, or utilizing it, depending upon your body’s needs of the moment. It enters the bloodstream as needed throughout the day, ensuring that blood sugar levels remain stable. Another key function of this essential hormone is fat storage. Insulin decides how much fat to store, and how much to convert for energy expenditure. 

Chronically high levels of insulin can lead to a condition known as insulin resistance, which is linked to an uptick in blood sugar as well as continued elevated insulin levels. Preventing this insulin imbalance is crucial, as it leads to weight gain, and eventually type 2 diabetes. When insulin levels remain high over an extended period of time, obesity and metabolic syndrome are often the unfortunate outcome.

How do we ensure our insulin levels remain balanced? 

  • Avoid too much sugar
  • Avoid too much fast food
  • Avoid too many processed carbohydrates 
  • Eat a low-carb diet
  • Eating plenty of protein 
  • Supplement with Green Tea Extract and Omega-3 fatty acids


Leptin can be thought of as the appetite suppressant hormone. Made within your fat cells, leptin is what makes you feel satiated. It “talks” to your brain, telling it when you feel hungry or full. When your leptin levels are balanced, you don’t overeat because you feel full after eating a well-rounded meal, and that fullness lasts for hours. 

Leptin resistance usually develops over time due to too little sleep, too much stress and too much of the wrong foods. Other factors that can contribute to its development include:

  • Overeating
  • High insulin levels
  • High triglyceride levels
  • Too much sugar, especially high-fructose corn syrup
  • Toxin overload
  • High stress (and resulting high cortisol levels)
  • Yo-yo dieting (alternating starvation with binge eating, especially)
  • Too little sun or time spent outdoors
  • Too little or too much exercise
  • Excessive snacking, especially late-night snacking and snacking on high-fructose, simple carbohydrate, overly processed foods

When the body becomes resistant to leptin, leptin levels become too high. With leptin resistance, communication between the brain and leptin is impaired, so that the brain doesn’t understand that it’s full, and tells your body to keep eating. 

Ways to prevent or reduce leptin resistance include:

  • Avoid too much sugar
  • Consume an anti-inflammatory diet 
  • Regular exercise
  • Getting truly restorative sleep on a regular basis
  • Supplement with:
    • Anti-inflammatory fish oil,
    • Alpha-lipoic acid, 
    • Green Tea extract
    • Soluble fibre or Conjugated Linoleic Acid
  • Irvingia gabonensis


Ghrelin can be thought of as the hunger hormone. It communicates with the brain, telling your brain to eat. Every time your stomach becomes empty, it naturally releases ghrelin into your bloodstream. Ghrelin levels are lowest just after you’ve finished a meal. They’re at their highest when the stomach is empty and you’re ready for your next meal. This scenario is normal when a person is healthy and maintaining optimal weight.

In healthy individuals, ghrelin levels decrease in a way that satiates them and signals their brains to stop eating. But in obese individuals, ghrelin levels don’t decrease enough after eating, which fails to send the brain the signal it needs to stop eating and feel satisfied.

How to balance ghrelin levels:

  • Eat plenty of protein.
  • Avoid too much sugar 


Created within the adrenal glands, cortisol is known as the stress hormone. It’s essential for survival but is produced far too often in the modern era. Whenever your body or mind perceives it’s under stress, cortisol is released into the bloodstream. The trouble is, we feel stressed out far too often these days, making our bodies produce more cortisol than is optimal. Heightened cortisol is linked to overeating and an increase in belly fat.

How to get cortisol under control: 

  • Find what relieves stress for you and integrate it into your daily routine.
  • Exercise regularly, especially Yoga 
  • Listen to your favourite music
  • Get enough sleep at night.  


Produced within the ovaries, oestrogen is responsible for optimal functioning of all female reproductive organs. Oestrogen promotes the storage of fat for healthy reproductive years. When oestrogen is balanced, the right amount of fat helps carry out female reproductive functions. However, when there’s too little or too much oestrogen, weight gain often results.

Overweight women typically have high amounts of oestrogen, as do women in the first half of pregnancy. During perimenopause and menopause, there is a notable decrease in oestrogen and some women opt for hormone replacement therapy to replace declining oestrogen levels.

How to keep Oestrogen at optimal levels

  • Exercise regularly 
  • Eat more fibre. Fibrous foods help decrease elevated oestrogen levels.
  • Eat vegetables in the cruciferous family. These include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and bok choy. 
  • Reduce your exposure to endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with our natural hormones. Avoid plastic containers, cans, or water bottles made with BPA. Never microwave plastic.
  • Choose organic foods when possible, and choose phthalate-free cosmetics and personal care products.
  • Consider bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, which uses plant-based hormones identical to those produced naturally by the human body to keep hormones balanced.

Other Hormones and Weight Gain

The following hormones all play an integral role in your ability to lose or gain weight:

Neuropeptide Y

This hunger-stimulating hormone is made in the brain and nervous system. It influences appetite, especially for carbs. During times of stress and fasting, NPY levels increase dramatically. 

Ways to maintain healthy NPY levels:

  • Eat plenty of protein
  • Eat plenty of soluble fibre. 
  • Don’t fast for long periods.

Glucagon-like Peptide-1

GLP-1 is produced in the intestines when nutrients are digested. This gut hormone supports the balance of blood sugar and helps you feel satiated. 

Ways to maintain healthy GLP-1 levels:

  • Eat plenty of protein
  • Take probiotics
  • Eat leafy green vegetables
  • Eat anti-inflammatory foods.


Cholecystokinin (CCK) is made in the gut and helps you feel full. 

Ways to increase CCK levels

  • Eat heart-healthy fats
  • Eat plenty of fibre
  • Eat plenty of protein 

Peptide YY

PYY is found in the gut and needs to remain at relatively high levels in order to prevent overeating. 

Ways to ensure the healthy balance of PPY

  • Focus on a low-carb diet
  • Eat plenty of protein