6 Ways to Switch On Your Fat-Burning Hormones

Hormones play a massive role in how our body functions and each of them is responsible for a very particular job. While one makes us feel hungry, another does exactly the opposite. While one tells our brain that we need to store fat just in case, another gives us a signal to start burning it like there’s no tomorrow. The trick is to learn how to turn on the hormones that we want and switch off those that we don’t want.

We at Bright Side have always found this really incredible and can’t wait to show this article to our readers.

1. The hormone that makes you feel hungry

Ghrelin is the “I am hungry” gremlin. It’s the hormone that sends a message to your brain that it’s time to eat. The interesting fact is that reducing calorie intake stimulates ghrelin production, and even after being on a low-calorie diet for 12 months, its level is still high. That’s one of the reasons, why low-calorie diets don’t work for the long term. Our body just can’t get used to it.

What to do?

The good news is that intensive cardio exercises can drop your ghrelin level.

Cardio exercises can be almost anything — running, weight training, boxing, boot camp, as long as your heart rate rises up to a particular level. Achieving this level is important and there are plenty of different tools you can use to read heart rate. But there’s an easier way to figure out when you’ve reached it. If you’re breathing heavily and you can still speak, but you can’t sing, then your heart rate is probably at the right level.

2. The hormone that tells you to eat less

Luckily, our body also produces hormones that tell the brain to use more calories and eat less, leptin is one of them. It’s produced by fat cells, meaning that the fatter we are, the more leptin we have. Which sounds great, but it’s a trick. After a certain point, our body gets what specialists call a leptin resistance, a condition where the brain can’t read the leptin signal.

What to do?

The solution is simple, food that is high in antioxidants increases sensitivity to leptin. The list of foods that are high in antioxidants is very long and you can always find something that you like. Losing weight has the same effect, and eventually, the more weight you lose, the stronger the leptin’s effect is.

3. The hormone that absorbs sugar

Insulin is very important for our well-being, it regulates blood sugar levels and helps us to recover from exercising. Our body releases insulin when we eat carbs and it helps cells to absorb glucose. That glucose is used for energy, but if we get more glucose than we need, any leftovers will turn into fat.

What to do?

The solution is to get most of your carbs from grains, veggies, and fruits that have a low Glycemic Index (GI). The lower the GI is, the slower glucose gets released and the more time we have to use it all. This doesn’t mean that you should stay on a strict diet, you just need to substitute high GI food with low GI food. For example, white rice can be replaced with brown rice, or instant oats with traditional rolled oats. It’s simple.

4. The hormone that tells our body to burn fat

Adiponectin is also produced by fat cells and the beauty of this hormone is that it increases our sensitivity to insulin and encourages our body to burn fat into energy. It may sound weird, but it comes from fat and burns fat. And unlike leptin, the leaner we are, the higher the adiponectin level is.

What to do?

You can increase the adiponectin levels by moving more during the day and filling your diet with monounsaturated fats, like fish, nuts, avocados, and olive oil. Eating low GI carbs for dinner also boosts adiponectin production.

5. The hormone that uses fat

Glucagon is a hormone that works in exactly opposite way of insulin. Glucagon helps break down stored carbs and fats and uses them for energy. The more glucagon you have in your body, the leaner it’s going to be.

What to do?

Food high in protein and low in carbs is the best way to increase glucagon levels and it can be really delicious. Fish, meat, seafood, tofu, and nuts are only a small part of the list.

6. The hormone that decreases appetite

Epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, is released when we feel very strong emotions, fear, or anger, that require a quick reaction, and that’s why it’s also called a fight or flight hormone.

Basically, this hormone is released in very particular situations when our brain tells us that we may need to be prepared to be fast or strong, and it encourages our body to start using stored fat as fuel for energy. It also suppresses our appetite so our body is prepared for quick action.

What to do?

The best and healthiest way to increase epinephrine levels is high-intensity interval exercising.

HIIT is a relatively short workout, normally no more than 30 minutes. Generally speaking, it’s a combination of short cardio exercises, from 30 seconds to one minute, where you go to your absolute max, followed by equal rest time. For example, 30 seconds of sprinting, followed one minute of slow walking.

Don’t have much time? No problem, try this 4-minute Tabata training. Trust us, it sounds easier than it actually is.

Which tip are you planning to start with to burn fat and boost your hormones? Or maybe you have your own tricks? Tell us all about them in the comment section below.

Illustrated by Elena Sorokina for Bright Side
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