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Hormonal disparity: Actual culprit for weight gain

Hormonal disparity: Actual culprit for weight gain

You must have seen many people eat too much or not doing any workout and still don’t gain weight and some people even when they don’t eat too much and are very regular on their workout find it difficult to lose weight.  Do you wonder why?? The answer is “METABOLISM”. And who decides their metabolism?? The answer is “HORMONES”.

Hormones are organic chemical messengers that decide about everything in your body like growth, mood and behavior, digestion and fertility and most importantly our shape and our weight.

See-Saw of Master Hormones: Insulin & Glucagon

Glucagon is the counter-hormone to insulin. It actually redirects fat for energy use and does not go into storage mode. In fact, when glucagon is present in the body, it will allow the body to open the fat cells, empty them and use the content for energy. In other words, it’s the key to the locked fat cells.

Insulin, a fat-storing Hormone: Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas.  Insulin is a “key” that “unlocks” your cells for glucose (sugar) uptake from the blood in tissues such as muscles, the liver, and fat. This is an important process to make sure that energy is available for everyday functioning and to maintain normal levels of circulating glucose.

When glucose is present in your bloodstream, insulin blocks access to your body’s fat reservesAfter all, why burn fat, when you have sugar around? Insulin also causes the body stores excess glucose as fat under the process called “lipogenesis”.

When there is an interruption in insulin levels, the body gets resistant to insulin. Muscle cells, then, fail to recognize the glucose-bound insulin and glucose remains in the bloodstream. Hence, it causes a spike in the blood sugar levels and leads to weight gain.

Glucagon, a fat-breaking hormone: Glucagon is a counterpart of Insulin. It is also secreted by the pancreas and it actually raises your blood sugar by converting glycerol in your fat cells into glucose for fuel. Glucagon signals the body to release stored fat to be used as fuel under the process called “lipolysis”

The take-home message here is that when you eat something, Insulin is secreted that promotes fat storage and it keeps you fat by blocking access to your fat reserves. But when you are in the fasting stage, Glucagon is secreted which is essential for breaking down body fat and burning it for energy.

Leptin, a hunger-suppressing hormone: Leptin is a hunger-suppressing hormone!…..sounds good right??. But wait ..here is the catch! When we eat food rich in sugar, the oversupply of fructose gets converted into fat that gets deposited in the liver, belly and other regions of the body. These fat cells secrete too much leptin and this makes you “leptin resistant” making your brain stop receiving signals to avoid eating and making you eat too much in turn.

People with obesity tend to be resistant to the effects of leptin. Consuming anti-inflammatory foods, exercising and getting enough sleep may improve leptin sensitivity.

Ghrelin, Hunger hormone: Ghrelin is a hunger hormone that stimulates the appetite and increases fat deposition. Ghrelin levels are also high when people are on a strict diet or while fasting.

Cortisol, stress hormone: It’s known as a “stress hormone” because it’s released by the adrenal gland when your body senses stress such as physical injuries, daily stress (overwork, relationships, finances, etc), and even activities like lifting weights and cardio workouts. Chronic stress leads to an increase in cortisol and chronically elevated levels of cortisol can lead to overeating and weight gain.

Estrogen: Both very high and low levels of estrogen can lead to weight gain. This depends on age, the action of other hormones, and the overall state of health. To maintain fertility during the reproductive years, estrogen starts promoting fat storage at puberty. However during menopause, when estrogen levels drop because less is produced in the ovaries, the site for fat storage shifts from the hips and thighs to visceral fat in the abdomen. This promotes weight gain, insulin resistance and increases disease risk.

Progesterone: A male hormone, required by both men and women at adequate levels. Most adult women have about the same testosterone levels as a 10-year-old boy making harder for women to burn fat and build muscle than it is for men. Low levels of testosterone promote fat storage and inflammation. Conversely, Excess testosterone in women, especially around menopause, is associated with insulin resistance and belly fat. You can see why having this hormone in the right balance is so important.

Cholesystokinin & Peptide YY: A Hunger suppressing hormone: Cholecystokinin (CCK) and Peptide YY (PYY) are other satiety hormone produced by cells in your gut. Higher amounts of CCK and PPY have been shown to reduce food intake in both lean and obese people.

Fight or Flight Hormone, Epinephrine: Known as a “fight or flight” hormone, epinephrine drives the burning of fat and its release for energy in the body. Epinephrine can also aid in reducing hunger. Exercise is the best way to turn on epinephrine release in your body, interval training in particular boost up epinephrine.

Take-Home: The best way to get your hormones back on track is to correct hormonal misfires with changes to the way you eat, move, think, and supplement. 80% of your weight is determined by Hormone-food interaction, so you want to eat in a way that optimizes your hormones. Following are some tips to consider,

  • Minimize all insulin stimulating foods. These include white sugar, excess alcohol, and all processed and refined flours.
  • Pick glucagon/CCK/PPY stimulating foods at every meal. Reduce carbohydrate content of your meal and include high protein items such as chicken, fish, turkey, cottage cheese, yogurt, lean red beef, eggs, hemp, protein powder (pea, rice or whey).
  • Essential fatty acids. In addition to cold-water fish, nuts, and seeds – it is advisable to supplement with a distilled fish oil supplement daily.
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking 2 liters of water per day is critical for energy, vitality and overall health. No excuses on this one –just make it a habit.
  • Exercise: Exercise is by far one of the most effective ways to lower cortisol and other stress hormone response.
  • Sleep: A good night’s sleep can do wonders for proper cortisol secretion and weight loss. Remember you secrete growth hormone only when you are sleeping.
What is Detox?

What is Detox?

What’s the most common word you hear when it comes to a healthy lifestyle?

DETOX!!!

 

What does it mean?

At its simplest, it means eliminating waste from your body!

You might wonder from where is this waste coming in your body or Is it really there when you have been eating healthy already? Toxins come from everyday things we use.

Toxin Sources

What happens when all these chemicals and toxins enter your body?

It is processed by our liver! Our liver takes much of the burden of dealing with this chemical attack daily.

Our liver functions like an engine to filter out all dirt and chemicals from our body and in doing so our liver itself becomes embedded with so much dirt.

These toxins would normally not be much of a problem for a healthy liver, but stress, poor eating habits, lack of vital nutrients, and a busy lifestyle all affect the efficiency of the liver to carry out all its functions properly.

Hence, we need DETOXIFICATION!!!

How exactly does DETOXIFICATION work?

By removing excess toxins from the liver, reformatting the liver forcing it to flush out toxins.

Benefits of DETOXIFICATION:

1. Helps with long-term weight management by promoting healthy habits.
2. Increases energy levels.
3. Reduces allergies and build Immunity.
4. Improves digestion and reduces inflammation.
5. Helps to get better sleep and improves mood.
6. Positive energy.

How to DETOX

You can detoxify your body with simple diet and lifestyle changes and practices:

  1. Avoid Processed Foods: Stay away from processed foods that contain artificial flavorings, preservatives, additives and do not contribute to our health. There is added sugar and salt in them to make them last longer and taste the same. Nutrients and fibers are lost in the manufacturing process.
  2. Increase Fiber: In order to remove toxins from your body, you need to ensure you are eating enough fiber. Your diet should be around 80% fruits and vegetables. Eat as much as you can of green vegetables, including broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions, garlic, kale, mixed greens. The fruits that are the most helpful are those that are very colorful: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries.
  3. Drink enough water: To flush out toxins from your system, you need enough water of course. Drink enough water to keep your urine clear or light-straw-color. It is recommended to drink 8 glasses of water every day.
  4. Sleep more: Detoxification of the brain called the glymphatic system occurs during the sleep cycle. Getting insufficient sleep impairs the glymphatic system causing toxin build-up and damaging the central nervous system. A restful night’s sleep also prevents mood swings and irritability.
  5. Embrace exercise: Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day can help work your sweat glands and release harmful toxins out of the body. Tiring the body out can also help a restful nights sleep. It also boosts blood circulation which serves as one of the important carrier systems of detoxification.
  6. Include Probiotic: Probiotic contain healthy, good and friendly bacteria that help kill bad bacteria in your gut and thus support healthy gastrointestinal function.
  7. Use herbs and spices: Rosemary, Thyme, Basil, Lemongrass & Rose Petal concoctions such as Gulkand, ginger, turmeric, Cinnamon, Black pepper, Tulsi, bitter gourd, etc put your intestines on the fast track to recovery whilst strengthening the immune system and digestive system.
  8. Meditation and deep breathing exercises: Lastly, the most underrated way to detox is mental health. A few short minutes of meditation & deep breathing and other mindful practices a day can reduce anxiety, depression and other complications.

When you protect your liver and other detox organs, you protect all organs and you protect yourself from many health diseases, viruses, and allergens.

If you need any help, a Coach or a Friendly Guide, feel free to contact us: support@modernmonk.in

We’ll always be there for you.

 

Empty Calories Vs Negative Calories

Empty Calories Vs Negative Calories

Not every food is created equally and not every calorie is burned equally

We all consider the calorie content of the food when trying to lose or gain weight. Calories are a measure of the energy stored in foods or in the tissues of your body. General guidelines for weight loss focus on eating fewer calories or using more of your stored calories through physical activity.

However, some foods are popular these days in weight loss diet because they are believed to be “negative calorie“ which means you lose weight by eating them.

This does not mean that these negative calorie foods do not contain calories. All foods have some calories and no food is actually “Zero” calorie but it explains the overall effect of certain foods in our body is that of “negative calories“.

Negative calorie foods are foods, which use more calories to digest than the calories the foods actually contain. These foods are usually plant-based foods that are rich in water and fiber such as grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits.  Since water does not provide any calories and your body takes a longer time to burn fibrous foods, your digestion and metabolism is “on” for a longer time, giving a jumpstart to your weight loss and increasing metabolism ultimately.

In other words, the body has to work very hard in order to extract calories from these foods. This gives these foods a tremendous natural fat-burning advantage.

 

Enriched with nutrition and poor in terms of calories, here are the 8 best negative-calorie foods you need to include in your diet. 

Celery: Containing barely 16 calories per 100 grams (as per USDA), celery is ranked high among negative calorie foods as 95% of the total weight is water. Packed with fiber, celery is also rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate.

Berries: Indulge in these sweet and tangy treats without feeling guilty. Raspberries, blueberries and strawberries contain just 32 calories per half a cup (as per USDA). Known for their anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants contains 95% water, berries are really good for your heart too.

Carrots: Carrots contain about 41 calories per 100 grams with 88% water. Along with being a good source of dietary fiber, carrots are also rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese and potassium.

Lettuce: Next time you whip up a salad, add some more lettuce. It contains only 6 calories per 100 grams with 95% water, lettuce is not only low in calories but it is also rich in fiber, vitamin B, folic acid, and manganese.

Broccoli: It contains only 34 calories per 100 grams with 89% water. Broccoli is ranked high amongst superfoods. It is packed with fibers and antioxidants and studies have shown that they may also have certain anti-cancer properties.

Grapefruit: Containing about 40 calories per 100 grams with 92% water, grapefruit is a storehouse of vitamin C, folic acid and potassium along with soluble fiber pectin.

Tomatoes: It contains merely 19 calories per 100 grams with 94% water. Apart from being a juicy and delicious source of dietary fiber, potassium and vitamin C. They also contain lycopene, an antioxidant known to protect the skin from harmful UV rays. Tomatoes can also prove effective in lowering your cholesterol levels.

Cucumbers: This refreshing delight contains 16 calories per 100 grams with 95% water! Cucumbers are full of minerals, vitamins, and electrolytes and are extremely hydrating. It is also known as the classic cooling food which helps maintain the body’s water balance on hot days.

Watermelon: Watermelons contain 30 calories per 100 grams with 91% water. Watermelons are also rich in lycopene which can help protect the heart. The citrulline in the rind and the flesh of watermelon can also ensure smooth blood flow and enhanced immunity.

Apples:  Containing about 50 calories per 100 grams with 86% water, apple is the fiber-rich snack you must keep in your bag to beat your mid-day hunger pangs. Apples are high in pectin, a type of soluble fiber that encourages weight loss, and releases sugar gradually to help regulate the body’s blood sugar levels.

Other similar fruits and vegetables, such as lemons, cabbages, berries or zucchini, are commonly included in these lists as well.

Further, because of the high fiber content, these negative calorie foods have a very low glycemic index and release sugar very slowly thereby giving it very little chance to get converted into fat. Additionally, fiber takes longer to flush out from our body and stay for longer delaying hunger.

In contrast, “empty calories” are the ones, which when consumed generate an immense amount of calories. The main source for empty calories food is fat and simple carbohydrate in refined sugar that contains no nutritional value. These fats are solid at room temperature, including shortening, most saturated fat in meat and dairy products and trans fat, manufactured to be solid at room temperature.

Refined sugar spikes the fat-storage hormone insulin, and poor-quality fats impair mitochondrial function and contribute to inflammatory weight gain.

For instance, a piece of dessert consisting of 400 calories may require only 150 calories to get digested by our body, resulting in a net gain of 250 calories which is added to our body as fat!

However, for negative calorie food, if you eat 100 calories of a food that requires 150 calories to digest, then you have burnt an additional 50 calories simply by eating that food.”

The take-home Message

Let’s start swapping empty calorie items with negative calorie food items. Making smart and tasty exchange can help you fill up on nutrients and satisfy your taste buds too.

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