By Dr. Sara Gottfried
Can you relate to any of the following?
• I follow all the rules, but I still can’t lose the weight.
• I’m just getting old and my metabolism is slow. It’s genetic. There’s nothing I can do.
• I’ve tried everything to lose weight. Maybe I need to accept myself as fat, and give up my skinny clothes.
• Nutrition strategies that work for others don’t seem to apply to me.
• I lose 5 pounds, and then I regain 7. It’s so frustrating!
These are comments that I hear frequently from my patients and online community, and most of them don’t know an important secret: the reason you’re weight loss resistant is that your hormones are out of whack.
When it comes to women and weight, there are seven hormones that make losing weight very challenging—if not impossible—when they are out of balance. In this article, I want to show you the top three hormones that are the most likely culprits when it comes to your difficulty with weight loss, and how you can begin to reset them.
Fat Storage Hormone #1: Estrogen Dominance
Estrogen is the female hormone that gives women breasts and hips, and it keeps joints lubricated. Men have it too, but at far lower levels. Both men and women are at risk of estrogen overload, which is having too much estrogen in the body—even in menopause.
Here’s one action you can take today to lower your estrogen levels and help you lose weight: eat a pound of vegetables per day. The fiber from the vegetables will help excrete estrogen so it doesn’t keep circulating in your body like bad karma. Aim for 35 – 45 grams of fiber per day for women, and 40 – 50 grams per day for men, but slowly increase in 5 gram increments each day to get to the goal without gas or bloating.
Fat Storage Hormone #2: Insulin Resistance
One in two Americans have some degree of diabesity, which is diabetes + obesity. When you’re overweight or skinny fat (normal weight but you have too much fat mass), insulin becomes imbalanced and your cells become numb to the hormone. As a result, you experience blood sugar highs and lows, and you store fat because your glucose regulator is broken.
There are many ways to reset your insulin, but a personal favorite is to drink filtered water with apple cider vinegar. A recent study found that consuming two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before a high carb meal significantly reduces blood glucose levels in people with insulin resistance. In fact, apple cider vinegar might work as well as prescription drugs at fixing your blood sugar regulation.
Fat Storage Hormone #3: Cortisol Overwhelm
You make cortisol in response to stress, but most of us run around stressed all the time. All those stress hormones wreak havoc over time, and make you store fat—especially in your belly. High cortisol is also linked to depression, food addiction, and sugar cravings, so that you overeat the wrong foods like cookies and processed foods. What’s the net result? You get fat.
To reset your cortisol, you need to hit the pause button on your caffeine intake. Slowly wean off of caffeine over three days, and notice how your sleep and stress levels improve! There are many more targeted suggestions in my new book, The Hormone Reset Diet, but kick the caffeine first.
My mission is to help people who struggle with weight issues from hormone imbalance. Understanding that permanent weight loss occurs as a result of hormone balance has helped so many people finally get their weight under control and break through weight loss resistance. When you follow the right program, guided by a trusted mentor and armed with the best knowledge, it’s possible to lose the weight that’s burdened you for so long—and keep it off forever.
Sara Gottfried, MD is a board-certified gynecologist and New York Times bestselling author of The Hormone Cure. Her new book, The Hormone Reset Diet: Heal Your Metabolism to Lose Up to 15 Pounds in 21 Days, hits bookstores March 17, 2015. Click here to learn more.