- As many of you know, weight loss and metabolism can be complicated issues that are more than an equation of calories in and calories out, especially for women. I have listed below some of the top areas to address to spark weight loss and stimulate your metabolism. Please contact the office if you would like to look into any of these in more detail.
1. Check your hormones:
- For women, addressing hormones is an essential part of weight management. Three key areas to explore are: Thyroid function; Adrenal gland function; and Estrogen /Progesterone balance.
- THYROID: Low-grade or ‘subclinical’ thyroid conditions are often missed by conventional testing because usually only a TSH level is tested. It is essential to look at TSH + free T4, free T3 and thyroid antibodies to understand the full picture. If you have symptoms that suggest thyroid dysfunction such as low energy, weight gain or difficulty losing weight, dry skin, hair loss, constipation, low mood and poor cold tolerance thyroid imbalance may be the cause.
- ADRENALS: High stress hormones (cortisol) are associated with weight gain because they affect insulin levels and blood sugar balance. If you have prolonged high stress in your life and feel that your metabolism is affected, this is why. By addressing the hormone levels, your metabolism will shift.
- ESTROGEN/PROGESTERONE BALANCE: Hormone imbalance can create problems with your metabolism by affecting food cravings at PMS time, and also creating water retention. If you also suffer from PMS, irregular periods, or spotting before your period, this may be one key area to address.
2 . Stabilize blood sugar levels and reverse insulin resistance:
- Since culturally we are very carb-heavy in our diets and food is in abundance, pre-diabetic states are enormously on the rise. If you carry weight in the middle, eat (and crave) lots of high carbohydrate foods and especially if you have a family history of diabetes, then the key to boosting your metabolism and preventing diabetes is to address blood sugar and insulin stability. The most accurate test for this pre-pre-diabetic state called is a blood test called the ‘insulin-glucose challenge’. A standard fasting blood-glucose will not pick up anything abnormal yet. A nutrition plan that addresses blood sugar stability will yield much better results than simply cutting calories.
3. If you are a high carb craver with emotional ups and downs, take a look at serotonin:
- On a completely different track, there is an approach with carb cravers to allow a specific amounts of high carbohydrate foods at certain time in the day to allow the serotonin rise that follows a high-carb meal or snack, resulting in better mood and satiation. For many people when they restrict carbohydrates in their diet they feel low or depressed. If this is your reaction, then a creative approach is to strategically place your carbs in the day. This approach works especially well for people on anti-depressant medications, especially SSRI’s that are associated with weight gain. Please ask for more details.
4. Stimulate your metabolism by cutting carbs 2 days per week:
- Interesting recent research has shown that cutting carbs 2x per week, and eating moderately through the rest of the week is a very efficient way to stimulate weight loss, and also to lower insulin resistance. It is actually more effective than simply cutting calories 7 days per week. What this means in practical terms on the low-carb days is to avoid all grains, starches, starchy vegetables and sugars and limit yourself to 1 piece of fruit, while eating lots of vegetables, high quality proteins and healthy fats. The rest of the week, it is recommended to follow a moderate diet because binging in between will stall the whole process.
5. Make sure you exercise:
- Exercise is absolutely key to boosting your metabolism, but more isn’t always better. Most people who have a moderate amount of stress (or more) in their lives will respond better to lower-intensity exercise than high. High intensity exercise raises the stress hormone cortisol which then affects insulin levels, and weight will plateau or even go up! Aim for more frequent exercise of the 20-40 minute duration for best results.
If you would like more information on any of these tips, and how to apply it personally to your health, please let me know during your next appointment.