The Key to Hormonal Weightloss
Insulin vs. Glucagon
For the past decade, I have been practicing a form of weight loss called hormonal weight loss. When I first meet with clients, I am typically presented with many questions as to what exactly hormonal weight loss is. Does this method of losing weight have to do with estrogen, progesterone or testosterone? Does your fat loss slow if you are peri or post menopausal and …is it really possible to prevent the middle aged spread?
The answers are quite simple. While calories are important, hormonal weight loss has little to do with calories in and calories out. Rather, it deals with the interplay of two little hormones – insulin and glucagon. In a nutshell, when a balance is struck between these two hormones– cravings are gone, belly fat begins to burn and overall health soars at any age.
The opposing hormones – insulin and glucagon
Insulin is a hormone that is secreted by the pancreas in response to elevated blood sugar levels. Among its many jobs, one of insulin’s roles is to store fat (especially around the belly region!) In short, when you eat too many refined sugar or floury foods that cause a sugar rush (cookies, cakes, cereal, bread, pasta, white rice, pop), the pancreas will be triggered to over-secrete an appropriate amount of insulin. The sequence works like this:
- Over-ingestion of high glycemic index foods
- Over-secretion of insulin is produced
- Blood sugar drops due to insulin’s presence creating cravings for more carbs and sweets
- Excess insulin triggers more fat storage
- In addition to eating too many refined flours and sugars – other conditions that can cause blood sugars to dip and an over-secretion of insulin to occur are prolonged periods of stress and sleep deprivation.
Glucagon is the other hormone that is insulin’s “enemy” is glucagon. Glucagon has the opposing function to insulin and breaks down fat. In other words, when insulin is up, glucagon dips down and vice versa. Eating protein options such as chicken, fish, eggs, turkey, dairy products, lean beef and tofu secretes glucagon and therefore causes fat loss.
So…does this mean to lose weight on a hormonal weight loss program you should only eat protein? Of course not! However, it does mean finding a proper balance of macronutrients (proteins, fats and low sugar-secreting carbohydrates) that fill you up, balance blood sugars and burn unwanted belly fat.
In summary, hormonal weight loss programs include:
- Lean proteins to trigger glucagon secretion
- Essential fats such as nuts, seeds, avocados, oils and natural nut butters to fill up and keep cellular walls healthy
- Slow releasing carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, beans and a modest selection of high quality whole grains
- And of course… a few built-in cheats here and there to avoid any and all feelings of deprivation!
Keep In Mind Though ...
prior to starting any new weight loss venture, you must ask yourself the fundamental questions – “Can I see myself following a version of this program within a 5 year period?” If the answer is no (i.e. the diet is overly restrictive or too outlandish to continue on for life) – don’t do it! You will only set yourself up to lose and gain the weight right back. Instead, decide to make a shift towards a healthier way of eating and living to finally lose the weight and…live your life!
Dr. Joey’s Hormonally Balanced Morning Parfait
- 1/2 cup of mixed berries
- ½ cup of plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup of vanilla yogurt
- ¼ cup of All bran or psyllium cereal (Nature’s Path)
- 1 tbsp of flax meal
- Spoon half of the mixed berries into the bottom of a parfait glass or other ice cream sundae-type dish. Top with half of the vanilla and plain yogurt, (mixed together) and sprinkle with half of the cereal.
- Repeat with remaining fruit and remaining yogurt.
- Top with flax meal
- For a finishing touch, add a teaspoon of cocoa powder. Enjoy!
Protein 15 g
Fat 2 g
Carbohydrates 54 g
Fibre 17 g
Dr. Joey Shulman is a best selling author and the founder of Shulman Weight Loss Clinics. For more information, please visit www.drjoey.com