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How to Regulate Your Hormones and Eliminate Over Hunger

Welcome back to The Mom-entum Podcast, where we're diving deep into the wild world of hunger regulation and hormonal balance!

 

Before we dive in, I want to share some heartfelt news about my dear friend Christina Cano and her courageous daughter, Ainslee. Ainslee was recently diagnosed with Stage 3 Burkett’s Lymphoma.  As you can imagine, this is every parent's worst nightmare. To help make this challenge a little bit easier and help them feel loved and supported, I would so appreciate it if you would consider donating to Ainslee’s GoFundMe page or contributing to the Give In Kind account I've set up for her. Your prayers and positive thoughts mean the world to them.

 

Now, onto today’s episode.  This episode is a continuation of a series I’ve been doing on weight loss over the past couple of weeks and it’s kind of like a sneak peak into my 6 Week Slim Down Course and Program.

 

If you struggle with your weight, controlling those cravings, or your hunger signals are whackadoo, then you’ve come to the right place friend!

 

We are getting to the root cause of why we are overweight and why we eat more than what our bodies require for fuel.  This is not a diet, this is rewiring your brain, and embracing a whole new lifestyle and identity.  One that is healthy and sustainable!

 

In today’s episode, we uncover what’s behind that over hunger. HORMONES! Buckle up, because I’m about to break it down for you in a way that is simple, easy to understand, and will  motivate you to stay committed on this journey to a healthier version of yourself.

 

The 3 hormones we are focusing on today that are most important in regulating our hunger are:

 

  1. INSULIN

  2. GHRELIN

  3. LEPTIN

 

Insulin has an important job to do as it takes the glucose in your blood (from the food that you eat) and transports the glucose into your cells to be used for fuel and give you energy.  Think of it like your car or maybe your Uber driver taking you where you need to go.  

 

Insulin is also a fat storage hormone.  So when you eat more than your body requires for fuel, insulin takes this excess glucose and stores it as fat.  It’s important to note that when there are high levels of insulin in your blood, you cannot burn fat.

 

Next up is ghrelin, the hunger hormone. This hormone is produced in your stomach and tells your brain when it's time to eat.  It’s important to note that you PROGRAM your ghrelin.  Meaning, your stomach will secrete ghrelin on a clock in accordance with your typical eating schedule.  

 

So say you normally eat 3 meals a day; breakfast at 8 am, lunch at noon, dinner at 6pm.  Ghrelin will be produced right around these times because this is when your body is used to eating.  

 

But the good news is, with a little bit of time and commitment, you can reprogram your ghrelin.  The easiest way to start is by gradually pushing back your eating window (the time frame when you eat).  

 

So for instance, we all fast when we sleep.  So ease into this by extending that fast for an hour.  So if you normally eat your first meal at 8 am, then start by eating your first meal at 9 am.  Gradually extend this time in 1 hour increments every 2 weeks until you get to your desired fasting window.  

 

So for example, if your goal is to fast 16 hours/day then that would mean you could plan on finishing your last meal of the day at 7pm and then have your first meal of the day at 11 am the next day.  Or you could finish your last meal of the day at 6 pm and have your first meal of the day at 10 am the next day.  

 

You can adjust the times to make it work for you and your schedule.  But the idea is getting your body into a fasted state (a state where you are not eating and only drinking water (nothing with sugar in it) for 16 hours straight.  When your body is in a fasted state, your body switches over to fat burning mode, accessing the fat stores in your body for fuel.

 

Last but not least, we've got leptin. This hormone is produced by fat tissue and it lets your body know when it's full.  The problem is, insulin blocks leptin from doing its job.  So if your insulin levels are high, then leptin will not be able to do its job.  Meaning you won’t be able to tell when you are full and you end up eating more than what your body requires for fuel. The solution? Tame that insulin beast and watch leptin work its magic.  You can do this and regulate all 3 hormones in just 7 easy steps:

 

  1.  Intermittent fasting.  Just extend the amount of time that your body gets a break from food, allowing adequate time for your insulin levels to come down, ideally you need at least 8 hours for your body to go into fat burning mode.  And you can do this by delaying that first meal of the day, and start by gradually pushing it back in 1 hour increments at a time.  So if you normally eat your first meal at 7 am, try pushing it to 8 am.  Try this for a couple of weeks and then push it to 9 am.  Keep doing this until you reach your goal fasting window.  For example if you would like to get to a 16 hour fast, then this could look like you finishing your last meal of the day at 7 pm and then you have your first meal of the day at 11 am the next day.

  2. No snacking.  This coincides with intermittent fasting, and it’s just allowing adequate time between meals for your insulin levels to drop.

  3. Avoid sugar, flour, and highly processed foods that artificially raise insulin.  Think of anything man made that you would find in the middle aisles of the grocery store.

  4. Practice mindful eating.  Pay attention to the sensations in your body of hunger and when you are full.  Only eat when you are truly hungry.  Take time throughout your meal to check in with yourself and stop eating when you notice you feel full.  

  5. Exercise.  Engaging in regular physical activity can have powerful insulin-lowering effects.

  6. Get enough sleep as possible.  When you are sleep deprived, your body produces more ghrelin, making you feel hungry.

  7. Replace refined carbs like white bread, which are digested quickly and can sharply raise blood sugar, with slower digesting complex carbs and whole grains.


So, Mama, if you're ready to take control of your cravings, regulate your hormones, and embark on a journey to wellness, you're in the right place. Grab a pen, take some notes, and get ready to transform your health, one hormone at a time.

 

Thanks for tuning in, and remember: you're stronger than you think, and you've got a tribe of fellow Mamas cheering you on every step of the way.

Resources Mentioned In The Show
  • Please join me in sharing your love, support and prayers with my dear friend, Christina Cano, and her 10 year old daughter, Ainslee, as Ainslee fights her battle with cancer.  You can donate via her GoFundMe page or via Give In Kind.  If you're not familiar with Give In Kind, Christina can post needs like child care, housekeeping, transportation, meals, and you can also donate gift cards and care packages through this website.  If you live in the San Diego area and would like to show your support and are able to provide her with assistance, consider checking out her Give In Kind account.  At the very least, please keep Christina and Ainslee in your prayers!  I thank you so much for your kindness and generosity! 

  • Want to kickstart your weight loss journey? Click here for my 6 step guide to give you a boost today! 

  • Click here to grab the worksheet designed to accompany this episode that will help you apply what you learned and start getting results! 

  • Want to expand your emotional vocabulary?  Remember, labeling your emotions is key in interrupting the pattern of turning to snacks to avoid or dull your emotionsClick here for the feeling wheel I mentioned in the show.

  • Check out this article on POWER NAPPING written by sleep expert, Dr. Michael Breus.

  • Ready to kickstart your transformation journey? Join my 6-week Slim Down course today! Choose from 3 options tailored to fit your needs, including Course Only or One-on-One Coaching with a Customized Weight Loss Plan (available for purchase as a one-time or 3-month payment plan). Rewrite your relationship with food and achieve sustainable weight loss with ease. Worried about finding the time? This course, designed by a busy mom who gets it, includes audio content for on-the-go learning. Enjoy lifetime access and future updates—sign up now, I guarantee you will get results and I got you! Click here and sign up today! 

  • Not sure if you're ready to make the commitment, but curious what life coaching can do for you?  Allow me to help you unlock what's standing in between you and the life you truly desire.  Why can't you get yourself to do the things you know you need to do?  Or stop doing the things you know are not aligned with your goals or your best self?  Click here to sign up for your FREE 30 minute mini session and I promise I will get you some good help!  So what are you waiting for?  Turn on an episode of Bluey for the kiddos and hop on a call with me!  It's obligation free and it could be the one decision that changes it all for you!

  • Want to give yourself the gift of MORE TIME?  Get AT LEAST 5 hours back/week by doing a time audit.  Don't know where to start?  I've got you covered! For access to my FREE TIME AUDIT TOOL click here.

  • Click here for your FREE DECLUTTERING CHECKLIST.

  • Click here to join The Mom-entum Podcast Private Facebook Community

  • Please subscribe, rate and review the show to help me reach and support more amazing moms just like you! Click here to learn how.

TRANSCRIPT

Hello and welcome to another episode of The Mom-entum Podcast, the show dedicated to inspiring, uplifting, and empowering women on their journey through motherhood.  I’m your host, Tanya Valentine, and I’m so glad you are here. And if you have been listening for a while, thank you so much, I truly appreciate you taking the time to listen and it is my hope that this podcast has helped you in some way.  And if you’re a brand new listener, then welcome I am so glad you decided to click on today’s episode.

 

So I want to start by just taking a moment and just like highlight that thing that I say at the beginning of every podcast episode and that is “Journey through motherhood”.  Motherhood really is a journey isn’t it?  This life is a journey.  It’s filled with so many ups and downs, ebbs and flows.  And we are not going to get it right all the time. 

 

I sure don’t.

 

Sometimes it can feel like you are making so much progress and then something happens or you just fall back into old habits.  I know this past week for me has been hard.  I’ve been processing a lot of anger. 

 

 And I feel funny even saying that.  

 

It feels like it is something I should be ashamed of.  But I’m letting it all out here because I know that what fuels shame is hiding and secrecy.

 

  And really, anger is just an emotion.  And we all experience the same emotions, maybe not all at the same time, or for the same duration or degree, but we’ve all experienced anger, right?  

 

But I think it’s because anger is one of those “negative” emotions, it feels like something that we shouldn’t feel or something that needs to be controlled, managed or not talked about.  But the problem with that is, it really just makes the anger stronger.  It’s like that resistance vs. allowing that I was talking about last week.  When we resist a feeling it makes it stronger, rather than just allowing it to be there which helps you to process it and it eventually dissipates so much faster than if you were to resist it.  

 

And what I want to say, too, really quick before we get into today’s episode is that our life is meant to be 50/50.  And what I mean by that is our life isn’t supposed to be 100% positive all of the time.  We need the contrast in our lives to fully appreciate the good.  It’s like we need the rain sometimes to fully appreciate a sunny day.  And what happens is when we are mistaken to believe that we are supposed to be happy all of the time, this idea just makes us miserable.    

 

Because then when we are not happy, we think that there is something wrong with us, and we become unhappy about being unhappy.  And then we are on this constant search for the thing that’s gonna take away this “negative” feeling so that we can experience happiness.  And that’s when we get into the buffering activities like turning to food when we are stressed, bored, or maybe when we are at a social gathering we turn to alcohol to calm our nerves.

 

  But if we can just allow these “negative” emotions and connect with what the emotion feels like in our bodies rather than turn to something outside of us like food, drugs, alcohol or social media to dull that vibration, then we come out the other side and we are ok.  The emotion hasn’t harmed us. 

 

But when we turn to the buffering activities I just mentioned, we really are just postponing or delaying that negative feeling.  Because when you’re done drinking that bottle of wine your problems are still gonna be there and now you've just intensified them because you’re gonna wake up the next morning with a hangover, you know what I’m saying? 

 

So I just want to share this with you in case you feel like you are going through a tough season right now, just know that you are not alone.  Remind yourself that this is temporary, and then ground yourself in focusing on gratitude.  Gratitude is so, so important and the value of it  cannot be overemphasized.  

 

I’m telling you, when I find myself in a low state, when I can remind myself of all I have to be grateful for, it really does work miracles in shifting my mood and my energy in a way that just pulls me up out of the hole that I’m in, you know what I mean?  So focus on gratitude today my friends, and please do not ever feel alone.  You are never alone.  I am here for you, there are people in your life that will be there for you.  The key is I think being honest with what’s going on for you and not being ashamed to ask for help when needed.  

 

Anyway, onto today’s show.  This is the 3rd and I think what will be the final episode of a series I am doing on weight loss.  So if you haven’t listened to the past 2 episodes, be sure to listen to those first so you can bring yourself up to speed!  But as a little refresher, we have been talking about weight loss and doing it differently.  Doing it in a different way that is both healthy and sustainable.  This is rewiring our brains and our bodies to think about food differently, to really understand the effect that food has on our minds and bodies and then we respond appropriately.  And the more we understand, the more likely we are to stay motivated and committed to making healthier choices.

 

So we talked about overweight being a symptom of over desire and over hunger.  And the action we take from over desire and over hunger is over eating, or eating more than our body requires for fuel.  We talked about over desire last week, and basically it is spending your time and energy thinking about something and taking action towards something more than is necessary.  

 

So some people may have an over desire for food, or an over desire for alcohol, or even an over desire for accomplishment, and then they end up over working.  

 

The key thing to remember here is that over desire leads to over- fill in the blank.  Just doing something more than is necessary and it typically has a net negative effect.  So when you overdrink you could end up with a hangover or God forbid you could end up doing real damage to your liver and your body.  

 

And when you overeat you end up being overweight and it can have a negative impact on your health as well.  


 

Over desire stems from various factors, including the impact certain foods have on our brain's dopamine levels, as well as our thoughts and emotions. By honing our ability to identify these thoughts, and process the underlying emotions driving over desire, we gain the power to manage our cravings to a more balanced level. This shift allows us to avoid overeating. That's why this approach is unlike any diet you've tried before. It's not just about changing what or how much we eat, but about addressing the root cause of the problem. While diets focus on changing the types and quantities of food you eat, this method delves deeper, targeting what is actually driving our eating habits.

 

So we have this want for food more than is necessary for our survival. And that’s the over desire piece of this.  Now I’m going to talk about the other piece which is over hunger.

 

So if we could all just eat when we are hungry and stop when we are full, you would think we would all be at a healthy weight.  The problem with that is, for so many of us our hunger signals are out of whack and this is caused by a hormonal imbalance.  

 

So there are 3 main hormones that are responsible for regulating our hunger and they are insulin, ghrelin, and leptin.

 

And when these hormones are balanced, they are more effective and able to do their job, and then our hunger signals are much more appropriate.

 

To begin, it's important to note that our body has 2 fuel systems: a glucose burning system and a fat burning system.  The glucose burning system takes the glucose from the food we eat to either be used right away or stored for later, while the fat burning system goes into effect when we are in a fasted state and it’s when our body gets its energy from our fat stores.

 

So let’s talk about insulin.  Insulin is a hormone that’s secreted by your pancreas and it’s job is to take the glucose from the food we eat and it transports this glucose into our cells to be used for energy.  Insulin is also a fat storage hormone.  So when you eat more than what your body requires for fuel, insulin will take this excess glucose and store it as fat to be used for later, like when you are in a fasted state.

 

  What’s important to note is that when your insulin is high, you cannot burn fat.  And everytime you eat, your insulin levels go up in order to move the glucose from your blood and into the cells to be used for energy now or it stores it as fat to be used for later, so essentially it’s cleaning your blood of glucose.  

 

Think of it like you have a messy house and stuff is just everywhere, and you are putting things away where they need to go in order to have a nice, clean, tidy house again.  This is what insulin does with the glucose in our blood.  Because we don’t want the glucose in our blood to be too high because this could literally kill us.  So insulin is a very important hormone and it has an important job to do and we want it to be functioning appropriately.

 

The problem is, when we eat too often, or we eat too many highly concentrated foods (think anything man made, anything in a box or a bag that doesn’t come from the ground or doesn’t come from nature) this artificially raises our insulin levels.  And again, when there are high levels of insulin in our blood, we cannot burn fat. 

 

So we want to bring our insulin levels down in order to be able to burn fat and lose weight.  And the way you can do this is extending the time in between meals. Like using intermittent fasting, which is a great tool that we use in my 6 week slim down course and program.  As well as eliminating or limiting the foods that cause that artificial spike in insulin, which are sugary, highly processed foods.

 

Onto the next hormone responsible for regulating hunger which is ghrelin.  Ghrelin is produced in our stomachs and it  tells our bodies that we are hungry and it’s time to eat.  

 

Now we program our ghrelin.  So basically if we are used to eating 3 meals a day around the same time every day, then ghrelin will be released on the clock and you will notice that you feel hungry around those same times every day, not necessarily because your body NEEDS the food for fuel, but because this is how you have programmed your ghrelin.  

 

So you can reprogram your ghrelin by adjusting your eating schedule.  One way you can do this is by extending your fasting window. So we all fast when we sleep, right?  We are not eating when we are sleeping.  So then what time do you eat your first meal? Lets say its 8 am.  Can you push that time back an hour to 9 am?  Do that for an extended period of time, maybe give it at least 2 weeks and you will notice that you are no longer hungry at 8 am.  

 

Eliminating snacking in between meals can also help to regulate your ghrelin levels so you're not feeling hungry all the time.  Another thing to note is that sleep deprivation can cause elevated ghrelin levels.  Ever notice those sugar cravings when you don't get a good nights rest?  This is why. 

 I know first hand that this can be tough as a mom to get enough sleep, especially during that newborn phase.  But do what you can to try and get enough sleep.  This might mean letting the house work go a little bit so that you can take a nap when the baby takes a nap.  And I know, easier said than done.  But try to remove the guilt and that feeling that you should be doing something and you don’t have time to take a nap.  Yes you do. According to sleepdoctor.com, “research suggests 10-20 minutes is the ideal length for a power nap.  And the longer you nap, the more likely you are to enter slow wave sleep, and waking from this type of sleep can cause a groggy feeling known as sleep inertia.  As a result, the benefits of a 10 minute nap are more likely to be felt immediately upon waking, while the benefits of a 20 or 30 minute nap might be delayed until the sleep inertia wears off.” So taking a nap does not have to take a lot of time in order to get the benefits out of it, and in fact, according to the research it’s better if the naps are shorter.  I will link to this article in the show notes if you want to learn more about effective napping.  

 

Onto the next and last hormone that I’m going to talk about today which is leptin.  Leptin is the hormone that tells your body that you are full and have had enough to eat.  And leptin is produced by your fat tissue in proportion to your fat tissue.  So the more fat you have, in theory then the more leptin you should have.  However, they found that insulin blocks leptin’s effect on the brain.  So if you’re insulin levels are high, your leptin will not be able to do it’s job, and therefore you will not be able to tell when you are truly full and have had enough, which then leads to overeating.

 

So moral of the story is, get your insulin levels under control, and the other 2 hormones should follow suit.  

 

Now at this point in the podcast go ahead and grab a pen and paper to take some notes because I am going to give you a quick, 7-step breakdown of how you can regulate your hormones:

 

  1.  Intermittent fasting.  Just extend the amount of time that your body gets a break from food, allowing adequate time for your insulin levels to come down, ideally you need at least 8 hours for your body to go into fat burning mode.  And you can do this by delaying that first meal of the day, and start by gradually pushing it back in 1 hour increments at a time.  So if you normally eat your first meal at 7 am, try pushing it to 8 am.  Try this for a couple of weeks and then push it to 9 am.  Keep doing this until you reach your goal fasting window.  For example if you would like to get to a 16 hour fast, then this could look like you finishing your last meal of the day at 7 pm and then you have your first meal of the day at 11 am the next day.

  2. No snacking.  This coincides with intermittent fasting, and it’s just allowing adequate time between meals for your insulin levels to drop.

  3. Avoid sugary, highly processed foods that artificially raise insulin.  Think of anything man made that you would find in the middle aisles of the grocery store.

  4. Practice mindful eating.  Pay attention to the sensations in your body of hunger and when you are full.  Only eat when you are truly hungry.  Take time throughout your meal to check in with yourself and stop eating when you notice you feel full.  

  5. Exercise.  Engaging in regular physical activity can have powerful insulin-lowering effects.

  6. Get enough sleep as possible.  Remember, when you are sleep deprived your body produces more ghrelin, making you feel hungry.

  7. Replace refined carbs like white bread, which are digested quickly and can sharply raise blood sugar, with slower digesting complex carbs and whole grains.

 

This is not a conclusive list, but these 7 steps are powerful ways you can go about reprogramming and regulating your hormones so that you can experience more normal levels of hunger, and then as a result, eat only when you are hungry, reduce the cravings for the high carb, sugary, processed foods, and then get to a weight and size that you will feel more comfortable and confident in.  

 

So that concludes today’s episode and this series that I did which was a bit of a sneak peak into my 6 week slim down course and program.  If you take what you learned here over the past few weeks and apply it in your life, I KNOW you will get results.  

 

The key is to not be in a rush.  Because when we are in a rush, that’s when we get frustrated and that’s when we give up right when we are on the cusp of experiencing a breakthrough.  That’s when we self sabotage.  

 

So have patience, give yourself some compassion.  Give yourself some grace that you are learning something new, you are breaking old habits and it’s not easy.  

 

Your brain likes to be efficient, it likes familiar, it likes to do what it’s always done because it takes less energy.   When you are building new habits, you're creating new neural pathways in your brain, and this takes a lot of energy.  It takes a lot of energy to go against what’s been normal for you for so long.  But stick to it, and remind yourself that great things take time.  We can’t plant seeds and expect a harvest tomorrow.  You are building a new lifestyle, a new identity.  And this is what is required to experience the transformative effects of lasting change.  

 

If you want to dive deeper into these concepts or you would like more 1 on 1 help with this you can sign up for a free 30 minute coaching session with me either by clicking on the link where you are listening to this podcast or by going to tanyavalentinecoaching.com and select “work with me” from the top menu.  

 

Everyone at home, thank you so much for tuning in today!  I hope you found value in today’s episode and if you did I humbly ask that you please share it with another Mama who would benefit from the content shared here!  And if you could take the time to subscribe, rate and review this podcast, it would mean the world to me!  This helps more mamas like us find the show!  And please feel free to reach out on social media @tanyavalentinecoaching.  I love hearing from you!  Until next week friends, keep up the good work!  I promise you are doing so much better than you give yourself credit for! Bye!

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