I’ve been there before, when nothing seems to work. Months after the birth of my daughters, I fought to lose weight. I went to my doctor at the age of 38, and he smugly told me that losing weight is just a matter of basic math—that all I had to do was “eat less and exercise more.”
I was disgusted at first, but then I became enraged because I believed that millions of women are made to feel horrible by this popular misconception, that they simply need more self-control when it comes to weight loss. Which is just incorrect.
I left his office and headed towards the lab to test my hormones since I suspected they were out of whack. However, I was shocked to see that my cortisol, the main stress hormone, was three times higher than it should have been: Cortisol is linked to abdominal obesity, PMS, and irritability.
My insulin levels were too high, causing my blood sugar levels to rise (insulin wasn’t doing its job, which is to drive glucose into cells). My leptin was also blocked, which made me ravenous. My thyroid was somewhat inactive, which resulted in hair loss and fluid accumulation. The list could go on and on.
So I had to fix my hormones, and when I did, something amazing happened: not only did I lose weight more readily, but my mood also improved. With my kids, I was more generous and patient. Instead of going to the wine bar, I decided to go to yoga at night. I finished couple’s treatment! I reconnected to my own nature of joy. My daily outlook was no longer influenced by the bathroom scale or my battle with the bulge; I had more energy to devote to important things.
“I found that the calorie-in/calorie-out theory has been widely criticized and that the most common misunderstanding regarding nutrition and weight loss is the calorie-in/calorie-out hypothesis. Calories are important to some people more than others, but hormones are more important.
After doing some research, I discovered that hormonal resistance responsible for 99 percent of weight reduction resistance. The calorie-in/calorie-out notion has been widely debunked, but it remains the most common misunderstanding about nutrition and weight loss. Calories are important to some people more than others, but hormones are more important.
Almost everyone who has trouble losing weight is also dealing with a hormonal imbalance. It’s amazing how simple it is to lose weight once your hormones are back in balance. Hormones are in charge of determining how effectively a calorie makes you fat.
Most diets fail to work for women because they ignore the hormonal core causes of weight loss resistance, such as high cortisol, insulin and/or leptin resistance, estrogen dominance, a slow thyroid, low testosterone, and issues with the HPA (hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal) system.
I struggled with each of these hormonal misfires and learned how to fix them quickly with functional medicine through trial and error: I developed a three-step protocol, starting with lifestyle changes and nutrient deficiencies (step 1), then administering herbal therapies if symptoms don’t improve (step 2), and finally adding bioidentical hormones if imbalances persist (step 3) but only in the smallest doses and for the shortest amount of time.
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