As you already know stress is one of the biggest obstacles you must overcome to get female fat loss and body makeover results that last. Not only does chronic stress increase fat storing hormones and decrease fat burning hormones but it can also trigger stress eating and other unhealthy behaviors that make it even more difficult to lose the fat permanently.
But daily life struggles are just one type of stress. There are actually many types of stress that can block your fat burning and weight loss success and if you're struggling with any of these stressors then harder more intense exercise does not work and actually has the opposite effect causing even more stress fat and weight gain.
Again please do not misunderstand and think I'm suggesting that high intensity training is bad or not necessary. You DO need to train with adequate intensity to burn stress fat and lose weight BUT if you have chronic stress you may have to focus on less strenuous fat burning exercises for a short time until your body and hormones become more balanced.
If you struggle with letting go of intense training try to remember that it's only for a short time and that extreme exercise is very stressful on the body and causes more hormonal imbalances which is what prevents you from burning the fat and keeps you in fat storing mode.
There are many hormones that control everything from metabolism to stress fat, weight, lean muscle mass, etc. The ones listed below are key to female fat loss and weight loss.
Cortisol is often described as the "stress hormone" because it surges to fat storing levels when you experience chronic stress but cortisol is not 100% bad. It is produced by your adrenal glands and helps regulate blood pressure, activates your immune system when a virus is attacking your body plus helps you access energy reserves when you are in danger. If your stress levels are always high your cortisol levels stay high and contribute to blood sugar imbalances, fat gain, insomnia and immune system disorders just to name a few issues.
DHEA is a steroid hormone synthesized from cholesterol and secreted by the adrenal glands. It's referred to as the mother hormone because adequate levels are needed to produce all other hormones and to maintain hormones balanced. The main issues with low DHEA levels are loss of muscle mass and bone density as well as low energy levels.
Estrogens are produced in the ovaries, adrenal glands and fat tissue and are responsible for the growth and development of female sexual characteristics In women, affecting not only the breasts and uterus but also the brain, bone, liver, heart and other tissues. Estrogens regulate various other metabolic processes, including bone growth and cholesterol levels. Estrogen dominance increase your risk of cancer and contributes to weight gain and stubborn fat, water retention, fatigue, acne and many other issues. Estrogen insufficiency can also contribute to weight gain as well as thinning hair and skin aging.
Growth Hormone (HGH) is produced by the pituitary gland and is key to child development. In adult it's aid in muscle and bone growth, tissue repair, sugar and fat metabolism, healthy cholesterol levels, as well as brain function. Deficiency in adults is rare but does decline as we age. Although taking HCG is popular among older adults there is no proof that it aids in weight loss.
Insulin is produced by the pancreas and regulates both carb and fat metabolism. Insulin’s major function is to tell the body when to store fat and when to release fat to use as fuel. Constantly eating or eating unhealthy unbalanced highly processed meals that spike your insulin levels disrupts the insulin response and results in weight gain and fat gain.
Leptin is produced by body fat tissue and is referred to by researchers as the starvation hormone. It regulates energy intake and expenditure and controls your appetite and fat metabolism. Leptin is basically how your fat cells communicate with your brain and tell your brain how much energy is available. Eating a highly processed unhealthy diet causes leptin resistance and blocks that communication so you end up eating more and storing more fat. Leptin also affects thyroid function, adrenal function, and reproductive function so it's one of the most important hormones that impacts fat burning and fatloss.
Testosterone is secreted by your adrenal glands and by your ovaries. It helps build lean muscle, increases bone density, affects hair growth, libido, bodyfat levels, and mental clarity. A sharp decrease impacts belly fat, muscle mass and energy levels but is not very common in women who have not reached menopause.
Thyroid hormones (triiodothyronine and thyroxine) are produced by your thyroid gland and are mainly responsible for increasing basal metabolic rate but also affect protein, fat and carb, metabolism, bone growth, and vitamin metabolism. Thyroid disorders may be common among women but can be easily managed with healthy habits.
The best ways to maintain a healthy balance of female hormones so you can lose stress fat and weight easily are quite simple but not easy for most women:
1. Eat healthy superfoods that boost health and restore metabolic function 80%-90% of the time
2. Get adequate sleep, clean fresh air, water, sun exposure, and restorative exercise that heals your body
3. Correct posture imbalances and heal injuries with physical therapy, functional training, or dynamic mobility exercises
4. Reduce exposure to chemicals, toxins, toxic people, and toxic situations
5. Avoid negative thinking, worrying, or other unhealthy mental behaviors
6. Consult with a holistic health practitioner about how to heal any illness, disease or condition that your doctor is not helping you manage
*If you do suspect that you have a very serious hormone imbalance due to unhealthy behaviors or chronic stress or other serious illness then be sure to have your doctor run some tests.
You could have a hormonal imbalance that requires medication or if you're like me (back in 2006) you could be at the beginning stages of adrenal fatigue which requires a restorative workout plan instead of a high intensity fitness plan.
The plans I used to heal my adrenal fatigue were Ori Hofmekler's Anti-Estrogenic Diet & Tenacious Fat Solution Kit. I used ALL the supplements and highly recommend them. Then I continued with the Vitality Plan in Paul Chek's book How to Eat Move & Be Healthy.