Thyroid Hormone – The Metabolic Manager

The thyroid hormone, secreted from the thyroid gland, helps to manage the body’s metabolic processes including your fat burning potential.  This hormone is keenly sensitive to your daily lifestyle activity such as

  • Sleep (How long and how deep)
  • Nutrition (types and amount of food)
  • Stress (acute or chronic)
  • Exercise (Longer moderate / Short high intensity)

Your thyroid influences every system in your body by sensing both internal and external environment.  When people go on a diet where they eat less and exercise more, your thyroid will cause your body to slow down its metabolism.  To positively influence this hormone to help burn fat we must not follow this approach of eat less train more.

Cortisol – The Stress Hormone

Cortisol, secreted from the adrenal glands, has a split personality in the body.  In other words it’s not all bad and it’s not all good.  Acute stress tends to cause a short term increase of this hormone.  It gets the body in the fight or flee from stress mode.  To positively influence this hormone an individual should exercise in 2 different forms, long duration + low intensity or short duration / high intensity.  There are 2 different forms of stress

  • Acute Stress – Short term (Few weeks)
  • Chronic Stress – Long Term (Months, Years)

Cortisol that is released with HGH and testosterone becomes a fat burning influence.

Human Growth Hormone (HGH) – The anabolic restorer

HGH helps you to build muscle and burn fat at the same time.  This is why it has the reputation of being an anti-aging hormone.  It works closely with cortisol and adrenaline in order to keep you lean, strong, and youthful.  Lack of sleep and being non active makes this hormone almost non existent.

To help maintain this hormone you should aim to get plenty of sleep and exercise in short bursts of 30-40 mintues at a time.  Maintaining a protein adequate diet.


Insulin is found in the pancreas and is responsible for the sugar levels in our blood.  As soon as your body recognises an increase in blood sugar levels, insulin will be released by the pancreas and will take glucose to be stored.

You can either be insulin resistant or insulin sensitive.

Insulin Resistant – This is when insulin can’t do its job properly, we don’t want to be insulin resistant. This could lead to difficulties burning fat.

Insulin Sensitive – You want your body to be insulin sensitive so insulin can do its job properly.

The best way to control your insulin levels is to watch out for the amount of carbohydrates you consume


Glucagon almost works as a reverse to insulin.  Glucagon takes glycogen back out of the muscles and liver and puts it back into the bloodstream when sugar levels are low in the blood.  This would give us instant energy.  It works with insulin to help keep the blood sugar and energy needs in balance. To cause an increase in glucagon you should not over eat but at the same time minimize your carbohydrate intake.

Ghrelin – The hunger Hormone

This is the hormone which increases in your body when your hungry.  If you can keep this hormone at a level that does not ring alarm bells for eating food then you are probably burning fat.  There are two different factors which can affect this hormone……

Physical Hunger – Physical hunger occurs below the neck.  For example you would feel physically hungry through the feeling in your belly.  Physical hunger builds up gradually and usually occurs about 3 hours after a meal.  You can temporally offset physical hunger by drinking water.  When your physically hungry your body will feel satisfied after a meal.

Emotional Hunger – Emotional hunger occurs above the neck ie taste for a certain food.  Emotional hunger can occur at random times rather than a steady build up.  Emotional hunger will still persist even after drinking some water and will also still persist even after a good meal has been consumed

Leptin – The fuel Gauge

Leptin is actually secreted from your fat cells and tells the brain how much fat you have on your body to burn. Leptin also influences the thyroid hormone.  Regularly under/over eating can cause this message to the brain to be scrambled or ignored (Leptin resistance).  In other words this could make the brain think that a body which a high percentage of fat on, is actually very skinny.  This could cause us to get fatter or if the other way round then skinnier.

To positively influence this hormone one should not over consume food while at the same time not under consume food.

Adrenalin – The Gas Pedal

Adrenalin gets secreted by the adrenal glands quickly when you exercise and tells the body to get ready to start burning fat.  This hormone influences all other hormones especially HGH, cortisol, and testosterone, to go into fat burning mode.  It has a close working relationship with cortisol.  Its effects can be blunted if cortisol levels are not optimal.

Exercise is its number 1 influencer.  Short duration high intensity exercise causes this hormone to be secreted quickly and strongly prompts the other hormones to send their fat burning messages.

Testosterone – The Sculptor

This hormone gives men their ‘V’ shape.  With women it’s a little more complicated.  It’s really the right mixture of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone that help give women her hour glass shape.  There are testosterone receptors all over the male and female body, and as such it influences your state of well-being, sex drive, lean mass, bone strength, and energy levels.  Although testosterone has a stronger influence on the male body than the female body, women with levels either too high or too low can also feel and see its negative effects.

Appropriate levels of exercise and sleep, can help to keep this hormone at the right levels for both men and women.

Estrogen – The Feminizer

This hormone tends to have a stronger influence on the female body than the male body.  However men also require appropriate amounts of estrogen to maintain a healthy body but at much lower levels than women.  Younger women tend not to struggle with an increase in body fat compared to post menopausal women due to higher levels of this hormone.

Estrogen is the main hormone which gives a female her hour glass look.  This hormone is considered both a fat burning and fat storing hormone. Research has shown this hormone allows women to handle stress better than men.

Good sleep, and eating a well rounded diet would help to maintain good levels of this hormone for both women and men.

Progesterone – The Partner of Estrogen

Again both the female and male bodies are influenced by this, although very little is known how it influences men especially where fat burning is concerned.  In women this hormone works with Estrogen to help give women that hour glass shape.  It also helps to blunt any negative effects of cortisol, thus helping with fat burning.

Good sleep along with any stress reducing activities like meditation or long slow walks will help.

Thanks for reading

Team ‘On The Go Nutrition’