Losing weight can certainly be a struggle. With all of the different diets, drinks, pills, and powders on the market claiming to be the best weight loss solution, figuring out where to start can be challenging. And I’ll bet no one pointed out that it’s also key to balance hormones.
Dr. Sara Gottfried, a Harvard-trained MD and best-selling author, has decided to share her secrets for weight loss and better overall health: we need to balance hormones.
To do this, she’s created a course titled “How to Balance Your Hormones For Glowing Skin, Deeper Sleep & Better Digestion.” You see, excess weight gain creates inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, promoting even more fat storage. Thus begins a vicious cycle of hormonal imbalance, symptoms, and disease that can greatly affect your health. According to Gottfried, the key to improving your health and losing weight is to reverse hormonal misfires, which in turn can help you control cravings and lessen the storage of fat in the body — especially belly fat.
Gottfried stresses that not all calories are the same. Calories from some foods make you store belly fat, while calories from other foods make you keep muscle and burn fat. It’s no surprise, then, that the ten key strategies she suggests mainly involve food.
But, she explains, reducing your belly fat also involves resetting the belly fat hormones — insulin, leptin, cortisol, growth hormone, and adiponectin. Yep, when you need to balance hormones, these are the main players.
Here are her ten key strategies to balance hormones!
1. Eat Purslane
Purslane offers the richest source of omega-3s and melatonin that you can obtain from a green vegetable. Its nutrient density strengthens synapses, the connections in the brain, to enhance memory and learning. Omega-3 fatty acids are believed to reverse the harmful changes to belly fat produced by fructose, so Gottfried suggests adding purslane to your salads.
2. Practice HIIT
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is known to help reduce body fat. It involves exercising at a high intensity for 30-75 seconds, separated by 2-3 minutes of exercising at a lower intensity. These bursts of high intensity training allow for far more fat loss than steady cardio.
3. Eat Protein
Basically, undereating protein and overeating carbs can lead to fat gain. Lentils, legumes, and beans are anti-inflammatory proteins that can help keep you full and nourish your body. But avoid overconsuming calories overall!
4. Ditch the Alcohol
Liquid calories from soda, sugary juices, and alcohol help store belly fat. If you’re serious about losing body fat and losing weight, then there’s no room for alcohol in your diet. And it’s more than just the calories. It’s about alcohol’s affect on hormones.
5. Remove Gluten and Dairy
Gluten and dairy are the most common food intolerances. Research suggests that going gluten free can reduce fatness, inflammation, and insulin resistance. Food intolerances tend to raise stress hormones such as cortisol, and they can trigger inflammation.
6. Manage Stress
Chronic stress raises cortisol levels which can lead to weight gain, fat storage, and the breakdown of muscles. Find a way to manage your stress, whether it’s through essential oil baths, yoga, meditation, exercise, or a creative outlet.
7. Limit Fructose
Fructose is the most metabolically hurtful sugar. It doesn’t tell your brain when you’re full, so you still feel hungry and keep eating. Fructose goes straight to the liver, which causes a cascade of problems. For one, the liver turns fructose into fat (triglycerides). Also, high fructose triggers insulin and leptin resistance which, in turn, results in inflammation, a stressed liver, and more visceral fat.
8. Get Enough Sleep
In order to burn visceral fat, the body needs 7 to 8.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Specifically, sleep keeps cortisol and insulin levels in check, so make sure you’re getting a good night’s rest on a regular basis. Even one night of poor sleep can do it.
9. Raise Adiponectin
Adiponectin works between fat cells and the brain. When levels are low, it can cause the body to store fat. The more adiponectin you have in your blood, the more body fat you can burn. To raise adiponectin, eat pistachios and pumpkin seeds, get at least 35 grams of fiber each day, and make sure you’re getting magnesium in your diet.
10. Consider a Mini Fast
Don’t get too worried. Fasting doesn’t mean going days without food. On top of that, intermittent fasting works just as well as caloric restriction for the purpose of reducing visceral fat. Gottfried suggests an 18-hour window for women, and a 16-hour window for men.
Not sure you have what it takes to balance hormones? Watch Dr. Sara’s video to see what she eats in her day!
Mind Body Green: hormone expert article
Mind Body Green: intermittent fasting
NCBI: affect of protein on weight gain
Medical News Today: food intolerances
David Wolfe: rebounding exercise
David Wolfe: Yoga
Science Daily: omega 3s and fructose
Shape: high intensity interval training
U. of Illinois Ext.: purslane
Very Well Mind: alcohol and hormones