Surprising Ways to Lose Weight and Feel Great

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By: , – Leslie Pepper, Woman's Day
6/10/2013 6:00 AM   :  13 comments   :  20,376 Views

Hormones have a bad reputation. Feeling bloated? Cranky? Craving carbs? Blame it on that time of the month. But hormones provide a host of health benefits and can help you lose weight, sleep better and stay sharp. Click through to learn five ways they can help you be your best—and how to harness their positive power. 
 
Soothe stress with endorphins

HOW THEY HELP: These "feel-good" hormones can ease pain and create an overall sense of well-being.

Kick up the heat. Spicy foods can activate the nerve endings on your tongue that prompt your body to produce endorphins. Add a dash of cayenne pepper to roasted potatoes or popcorn, try hot sauce in scrambled eggs or on grilled cheese, or add chopped pickled jalapeños to sandwiches or potato salad.

Mellow out with mint. Chewing peppermint gum or smelling potpourri that includes mint can help stimulate a nerve near your nose that signals your brain to make endorphins.
 
Focus and stay alert with dopamine

HOW IT HELPS: Produced by your brain, dopamine plays a role in controlling your concentration and long-term memory. A surge of dopamine can give you amazing focus and motivation.

Play your favorite music. A study found that dopamine levels spiked when people listened to music they liked. Play your favorite songs the next time you sit down to pay bills—the music can help you power through an otherwise boring task.

Eat a protein-rich snack. Tyrosine, an amino acid found in high-protein foods, helps your body produce dopamine. Snack on 1 cup cottage cheese, 2 hard-boiled eggs or a handful of nuts.
 
Keep your weight in check with leptin and ghrelin

HOW THEY HELP: Leptin, released by your fat cells, lets your body know when you've had enough to eat and determines whether the food is stored or used as energy. Ghrelin, produced mostly in your stomach, sends hunger signals to your brain.

Eat dessert for breakfast. One study found that people had lower levels of ghrelin and fewer cravings throughout the day when they ate a carbohydrate-and-protein-rich breakfast including a small serving of a cookie, cake or chocolate. To avoid going overboard, make your sweet treat healthy: Try dark chocolate-chip whole-wheat pancakes with a dollop of ricotta cheese, whole-grain cinnamon raisin toast with 1 Tbsp almond butter, or ½ cup Greek or nonfat yogurt with 1 Tbsp honey.
 
Make sleep a priority. A Stanford University study of more than 1,000 people found that those who slept less than eight hours a night had low leptin and high ghrelin levels and more body fat. Before climbing into bed, call your cellphone voicemail with a verbal to-do list, or write down what's on your mind to help prevent worrying from keeping you awake.


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Comments

  • BANNERMAN
    13
    Thanks for the tips. - 6/16/2013   3:44:29 AM
  • 12
    Good info. Thanks.
    I am pulling out the hot stuff from my cupboards to use on a variety of foods. "Get ready honey, there is a reason I put chili powder on your popcorn!" - 6/14/2013   8:32:53 PM
  • 11
    Great ideas. Thanks for sharing. - 6/12/2013   10:27:11 AM
  • 10
    great blog - 6/11/2013   3:43:51 PM
  • 9
    If I eat carbs in the morning I can't seem to stop eating all day. I actually feel hungry, not just like "I want something to eat." I have talked to others who get the same problem, including health professionals. - 6/11/2013   1:54:16 PM
  • 8
    I agree with workerbee82- when I start out with a sugary or carbo-loaded breakfast- like a bagel, scone or toast or seemingly "harmless" grains- I get anxiety and have blood sugar crashes a lot. or I feel constant cravings all day. Having protein first thing is best for me ( *takes a ton of planning and prep,though):) - 6/11/2013   12:43:15 PM
  • SHAN09
    7
    I have been drinking peppermint tea (almost exclusively) for the past 5 years and find the connection interesting, especially since I often have bouts of insomnia. I work harder at starting my day with it! - 6/11/2013   11:02:26 AM
  • WORKERBEE82
    6
    If I have something sweet for breakfast it sets off an eating surge all day. Protein is the way to go. I know the new thinking is sweets, but not for someone like me with blood sugar problems. The rest of the ideas are really well thought out.
    - 6/11/2013   8:37:57 AM
  • 5
    you can have a carb-rich breakfast without making it a sugar-rich breakfast. dessert for breakfast is a bad idea.
    khairete
    suz - 6/11/2013   7:43:10 AM
  • DELLMEL
    4
    Great blog - 6/10/2013   3:17:57 PM
  • 3
    Interesting. - 6/10/2013   2:03:00 PM
  • 2
    Astounding ideas for each area of ones life. I really appreciate this snap shot list of things to do. You are a blessing.
    Renie - 6/10/2013   12:49:05 PM
  • SHARONCAPPS
    1
    Very good suggestions. Thank you for sharing. - 6/10/2013   10:38:53 AM

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