Restart Your Fat-Loss Hormones, Pt 1 (5:53)
If you have stubborn problem areas on your thighs, butt, belly and arms that won't go away no matter what you do, your hormones could be to blame. Dr. Natasha Turner, an expert in naturopathic medicine, believes her plan to supercharge your hormones may help melt away your unwanted fat. Here is a 3-step action plan to start you on the road to a slimmer, more energized you.
Step 1: Detox Your Digestive Tract
If you're worried that your hormones may be imbalanced and you are thinking of starting a new diet regimen, first talk to your doctor. Your diet could be irritating your digestive tract and throwing your hormones out of balance, making it hard for your body to control cravings and drop fat. Reset your body's digestive health by cleansing your diet of pro-inflammatory foods and detoxing your liver.
- As outlined in her book The Supercharged Hormone Diet, Dr. Turner recommends eliminating foods that cause cravings, potential allergic responses, inflammation or hormone imbalances. She suggests replacing them with a low glycemic index diet.
- In particular, you should cut out processed foods high in carbs and sugar, which wreak havoc on hormones such as insulin and ghrelin that are needed to control blood sugar and appetite. These foods may also lead to inflammation, which can increase cortisol levels and promote storage of belly fat.
- Dr. Turner recommends eight cups a day of detox water, which she says can increase metabolism, lower insulin levels, support good digestion, dampen hunger and detox your liver. To make detox water, mix half of a lemon, a one-inch piece of fresh ginger, a pinch of cayenne pepper and four cups of water.
- Eat at least 35 grams of fiber a day to help promote good digestion and to keep you full.
Step 2: Target Your Specific Fat Storage Site with Hormone-Balancing Supplements
If you have a particular area of your body that seems to bulk up more than others, specific hormones might be to blame. Supplements may be able to help balance out-of-whack hormone levels. However, remember that not all supplements are right for everyone and that some may pose dangers to people taking certain medications or with certain health problems. Always consult your doctor before starting a new supplement.
If you pack on belly fat, you're not alone – this is one of the more common problem sites. A bigger belly could mean that you have too much cortisol, a stress hormone, pumping through your body. Studies suggest excess cortisol promotes abdominal fat storage and may also contribute to bloating.
Solution: Holy basil, an herb native to India, has been used to combat stress-related problems. Animal studies suggest that this herb is effective at lowering stress and blood sugar, and a small human study showed that holy basil eased anxiety and depression. Dr. Turner recommends taking two gel caps of a holy basil supplement each day for at least a month. For more cortisol-lowering foods, check out our cortisol-reduction grocery list.
If you tend to carry weight in your butt and thighs, you could have high estrogen.
Solution: Dr. Turner recommends Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C), a compound found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. I3C is thought to modulate the effects of estrogen receptors, alter the function of estrogen-responsive genes and interfere with estrogen metabolism. Dr. Turner recommends taking a 200 mg I3C supplement twice a day.
Trunk and Back Fat
If you tend to gain weight in your upper trunk and suffer from unsightly bra bulges, you may have high insulin levels.
Solution: Dr. Turner recommends using conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which can be found naturally in some dairy and beef. Small studies suggest that CLA supplementation may reduce body fat and increase satiety. However, other studies suggest that CLA may negatively impact blood vessels, so if you have any type of heart disease, it may be wise to avoid it. Anyone with diabetes or insulin resistance should be particularly sure to consult their doctor before starting CLA.
Step 3: Eat Glyci-Med Style
According to Dr. Turner, Glyci-Med is a new twist on the Mediterranean diet. It is a diet high in healthy fats and proteins and low in carbs. The general rule to follow is that for every serving of carbs in a meal, be sure to have twice as much fat and protein. This will help keep you full, control cravings and stabilize your blood sugar and insulin levels, all major drivers of how much weight you gain.
To help get you started, here are some of Dr. Turner's top picks for hot hormone foods to help melt fat:
Whey Protein Isolate
Whey protein is the most bioavailable protein and may act as an appetite suppressant. It may also help control blood sugar and enhance muscle mass and weight loss. Add a scoop to a smoothie or juice, but make sure you pick an "isolate" and not a "mixed concentrate" – it will have more protein and less fat and lactose.
Pomegranate contains ellagic acid, which may help tamp down the effects of estrogen. It also contains anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory factors. Dr. Turner recommends half a cup of pomegranate seeds, which have more fiber and less sugar than the juice alone.
Buckwheat is actually a fruit seed related to rhubarb and is a good substitute for people who are sensitive to gluten. Buckwheat may help with blood sugar control and insulin levels and is very satisfying. You can eat buckwheat-based pasta or Japanese soba noodles for lunch or dinner.
Dry Red Wine
Dry red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah contain the highest amount of flavonoids and may help with digestion if consumed during or after a meal. Resveratrol, contained in grapes, may increase satiety and resting metabolic rate, potentially reducing body mass. If you're over 21 and aren't pregnant, try 2-3 glasses a week.
Roasted Soy Nuts
Soy nuts are made by soaking soybeans and then baking them until they have a nutty, crunchy consistency. Studies suggest they may help increase metabolism and manage fat cell deposition. Try about a handful a day.