If you’re a woman and it feels like you body is fighting against you in your weight-loss battle, you may be right. Hormones play a large role in determining when you are hungry, what you crave and even where fat is most likely to be stored. Fortunately, there are also ways to make those hormones work in your favor.
Fat cells produce a hormone called leptin that plays a role in appetite control. However, too much of the chemical can result in leptin resistance, causing the body to slow the metabolism and send hunger signals to the brain. To counteract this, some researchers suggest eating a serving of vegetables before 10 am, which can reduce cravings later in the day.
Cortisol is another hormone that causes cravings. Cortisol is produced by the adrenal gland during times of stress and makes you crave sugar and carbs. It might even make fat cells accumulate in the belly. Serotonin, on the other hand, calms you and suppresses your appetite. Getting enough sleep keeps cortisol levels down and serotonin levels at the right level. Eating vitamin-B-rich foods such as lentils, asparagus and spinach also helps the body produce serotonin.