All of us know the struggle of losing weight, the commitment, dedication and decisiveness it takes. Suddenly you find yourself surrounded by all those diets, shakes, teas and pills that promise quick weight loss and claim they are the ultimate solution. Making the choice, which road to take can be pretty hard and confusing.
Dr. Sara Gottfried, a Harvard-trained MD and best-selling author, has decided to share her secrets for weight loss and better overall health through the establishment of a balance of hormones. She’s created a course titled “How to Balance Your Hormones For Glowing Skin, Deeper Sleep & Better Digestion.” Excess weight gain creates inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, promoting even more fat storage.
This creates 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 other foods make you keep muscle and burn fat, so the ten key strategies she suggests mainly involve food. She explains that reducing your belly fat involves resetting the belly fat hormones — insulin, leptin, cortisol, growth hormone and adiponectin.
Here are her ten key strategies!
1. Eat Purslane
Purslane offers the richest source of omega-3’s 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
Undereating protein and overeating carbs can lead to weight gain. Lentils, legumes, organic wild-caught salmon or cod, or organic grass-fed beef are anti-inflammatory proteins that can help keep you full and nourish your body.
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, there’s no room for alcohol in your diet.
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 where it creates fat and triggers insulin and leptin resistance, resulting 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. Sleep keeps cortisol and insulin levels in check, so make sure you’re getting a good night’s rest on a regular basis.
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
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.