Did you know that your stored body fat is actually an active, endocrine organ? Your body fat is actively producing and secreting hormones 24 hours a day. That’s why hormonal imbalance problems become so extreme for overweight and obese people – they’re producing more hormones because of their body fat! The more body fat you have, the more hormones you will produce and secrete. It’s a vicious cycle, really. Hormone imbalance encourages fat storage and the more fat you store, the more of these hormones you produce, creating an even greater hormone imbalance!
When we talk about body fat being an endocrine organ, we’re talking primarily about visceral fat. Visceral fat is the fat that wraps around your organs. Subcutaneous fat sits just below the surface of your skin. Fat around the abdominal region is typically visceral fat and is extremely dangerous to your health and longevity. Visceral fat has been linked to cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It triggers inflammation in your body and releases leptin and tumor necrosis factor.
You might be thinking that the release of leptin should be a good thing, right? Afterall, leptin is the hormone that signals our brain that we’re full and have enough stored fuel. In theory, that is true. But, when your visceral fat is pumping out leptin all the time, what do you get? Fast-tracked to leptin resistance. That’s right, this is why so many overweight and obese individuals don’t hear those satiety signals. They’re overproducing leptin and their body is deaf to the signal.
Tumor necrosis factor is a powerful inflammatory trigger and you’ll recall that inflammation is the starting point for just about every disease out there. Not only that, but inflammation creates hormonal chaos, compounding your weight struggles and encouraging fat storage while limiting fat burning potential.
So what do we do about this visceral fat? As seems to routinely be the answer: control blood sugar to manage insulin. High levels of insulin encourage fat storage, but they also encourage fat to be stored as visceral fat as opposed to subcutaneous fat. Controlling blood sugar and insulin is the starting point for all hormonal challenges. We do this by:
- Eliminating processed foods
- Reducing or removing wheat and grain products from our diet
- Including protein and/or fat at every meal and snack
- High intensity, short duration exercise
- Stress management
One of our primary motivators for weight loss is to look better. I get that, I’ve been there, that’s totally relatable to me. However, there is a massive health concern when it comes to visceral fat and the inflammatory cascade it initiates. The more stored body fat we have, the higher our risk for countless serious health problems. Let’s tackle this visceral fat by managing our insulin levels, starting now!
If you are ready to start making some diet & lifestyle changes to balance your hormones naturally and get into fat burning mode, check out my ebook! It’s 50 pages of information and specific action steps to get your hormones balanced and master fat loss naturally!