I hear from many women who say they just can’t lose weight no matter how little they eat or how much they workout. (Sorry men, this article will be directed to the ladies…it’s nothing personal.)
Everyone is looking for the magic bullet to weight loss and more importantly, keeping it off! We’ve all been told about calories in calories out. The less we eat the more we’ll lose. That’s just not a sustainable solution. How many times have you restricted calories for a period of time only to gain the weight (plus more) back? Probably every single time, just like me. Think about it. If you restrict your caloric intake your body says uh oh, I’m not getting any fuel so I better hang on to the fat I have, and the body will change its set point…think of it as a thermostat set point. If you have your air conditioner on and set it to 78 the AC comes on if it gets to 79. Your body will do the same thing. If you eat 1000 calories your body says I better store anything over 1000 and that’s why we gain the weight (plus more) as we add more calories. Calorie restriction can slow your metabolism aka set point.
The calories in calories out is a myth as told by Ken Berry, MD in his book Lies My Doctor Told Me: Medical Myths That Can Harm Your Health. He further explains how weight loss is a hormonal issue and not only how much you eat but what you eat affects your hormones. The body only uses the 3 macronutrients carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
There are 4 hormones I’ll briefly talk about. I look at it this way. If you go see a 5-piece band and the drummer is awesome and the guitar player sucks, your experience won’t be good. It’s the same with your hormones. All 5 hormones need to be performing optimally. A low-carb diet can balance out your hormones. If your diet isn’t right your body won’t respond. It’s important to have a comprehensive blood panel done to see what needs to be done. Your healthcare provider should be your partner in care and not your dictator.
- Insulin. This is the queen hormone of weight loss/gain. In a non-diabetic person, insulin is produced in the pancreas and allows the body to use glucose (from carbs) for energy for future use. When insulin is elevated it tells the body to store sugar. Hum? So, if I don’t eat carbohydrates does this mean the insulin will lower? You bet it will! Therefore, a low-carb diet can reverse type-2 diabetes. Think about this for a minute. If you’re taking insulin for your diabetes your body is always in fat storage mode. From my observation, diabetics are typically overweight, if not obese – this is not a judgment but an observation. For obvious reasons mainstream medical and big pharma don’t want to talk about this easy fix.
- Cortisol – aka the stress hormone. There’s good stress and bad stress. An example of good stress is a heavy workout or sprinting. You all know what bad stress is. You’re in a job you hate, your relationship sucks, you’re dealing with a stressful situation. You’re not sleeping well, which affects all your hormones. If your cortisol is always elevated you’re turning off any weight loss and you’ll hold weight. Chronic stress can be a huge inhibitor of weight loss. 30,000 years ago, our genetics were designed to help us with those times of starvation. Not so much today.
- Thyroid – The thyroid gland is the most complicated gland in our body. It’s also known as the master gland and really helps regulate your metabolism. If you’re not feeling your best, you’re cold all the time, your skin and hair are dry, you’re experiencing hair loss, constipation, and thinning eyebrows, you should have a thyroid blood panel done. Just checking THS isn’t enough since that just tells you if the pituitary gland is telling the thyroid to make thyroid hormone. It doesn’t tell you if there are any underlying issues. Go to stopthethyroidmadness to learn more about what test you should request from your medical practitioner.
- Sex hormones – Ladies, I’m talking about the big 3. Estrogen, progesterone, and yes, even testosterone. We need all 3 to be balanced optimally. It’s a known fact taking synthetic hormones can greatly increase breast cancer and in addition, taking any hormone in a pill form can also damage the liver. Bioidentical hormones are natural hormones that need to be compounded by a pharmacist and applied to the skin. Here’s an interesting fact. Back in the 70’s men were given Estratest. It was found this was causing liver failure in men and was taken off the market in the 80’s. Guess what, that same drug is now given to women! I guess we have stronger livers?? What the heck!
In summary, work with a medical practitioner who is your partner. Have extensive blood work done to get to the root cause of why you’re not feeling the best you and why you can’t lose weight.
Joyce L Shafer says
Excellent, informative article, Pat! And timely, as I’m sure some of the weight gain for a number of people also connects to stress as well as lockdown.