If you’re like most Americans, you’re starting 2016 with the resolution to lose some of that belly weight and be a slimmer, trimmer version of yourself. With diets and weight loss tips all over social media, you have probably even experimented with a couple of lifestyle changes to see if anything can work for you. If you are like most people, you may be confused by contradictory medical claims and advice.
This week, the Center for Natural and Integrative Medicine focuses on the symphony of hormones that may affect your weight. Join us at our office on Thursday, January 21st, 2016, where Dr. Thomas Moraczewski will educate us on how to keep your hormones happy and your belly slim. Here’s a preview on some of the key points he will discuss.
After the age of 25, your body will begin to lose muscle mass. While you may remain the same weight or gain weight through the years, that precious muscle mass is being turned to fat. The change in hormones, as well as birth control pills, environmental exposures and toxins can all contribute to hormonal changes, which may affect your weight.
There are many hormones to consider when evaluating any individual. Thyroid hormones are incredibly important and play a large role in regulating metabolism. Patients with hypothyroidism usually find themselves gaining weight, as their metabolism is not optimally active. While many practitioners may check some thyroid tests, few will delve deep to understand if your thyroid is optimal. While your basic testing may fall in the “normal” range, you may still feel tired and lousy. In order to feel your best, it is important to strive for optimal levels. This means that in the right clinical context, Reverse T3 should sometimes be checked. Reverse T3 essentially acts as inactive thyroid. In addition, a thorough practitioner will check Vitamin D levels, as Vitamin D is needed to perform enzymatic reactions to achieve optimal and active thyroid levels. Selenium and Iron stores (Ferritin) are also needed for optimal functioning and should be evaluated when achieving optimal thyroid function.
Thyroid hormone is crucial to weight and metabolism, but there are also many other hormones to consider. I want you to take a moment and think about this. Have you ever met anyone that was exactly like you? Someone that had the same body type, build, and reacted to foods the same exact way as you? The answer is most likely no. You are a unique individual, and it is silly to think that one ‘weight loss plan’ can be prescribed to thousands of unique individuals.
Our hormone guru, Dr. M, generally starts by asking an individual where they gain their weight. To keep it simple, are you a big belly or big bottom type or person? If you are a big belly person, the predominant hormone dysfunction is most likely cortisol. If you are a big bottom type of person, the prominent hormone to think about is estrogen. Depending on your body type, you can think about a dietary plan that will work best. To be more specific, if you are a big belly person, your cortisol may be high in the morning. High cortisol results in high fasting blood sugars. Many people with a big belly and high cortisol do not feel hungry in the morning, but eat breakfast out of habit. Instead of reaching for eggs and low glycemic choices, the average American will eat cereal, toast, pancakes, waffles, muffins– essentially things that will convert right into sugar. If your glucose is already high in the morning, why add more sugar on top of it? A person with a predominance of cortisol will actually benefit from waiting a few hours after waking to eat something. In fact, they may benefit by condensing all their meals into a 10 hour window.
A big bottom person, or estrogen predominant individual, is quite the opposite. Breakfast is incredibly important to these people, and they should strive to eat high fiber, frequent meals.
This is just a sneak peak into what Dr. M, our in-house hormone guru will explore. Come join us this Thursday, January 21st, to learn more helpful tips to develop a program suited to your individual needs.