Why Can’t I Lose Weight and Keep It Off? (Hint: It’s Not Your Fault)

Have you tried every diet imaginable, and still find it hard to lose weight? Or maybe you lose weight, only to gain it back within a few months? Chances are your metabolism is broken. A broken metabolism is intertwined with what I call hormone misfires, which make you store fat no matter what diet you try.  Unfortunately, restrictive diets put your body into trauma mode, and now it yearns to preserve every fat cell to save itself against perceived starvation. So what you need is a hormone reset, not another diet plan.

You read that correctly – you can reset your hormones. By eating and living in a way that treats your body well, your body will use up the fat cells is doesn’t need. When your hormones are operating optimally, your metabolism works efficiently. Take care of your body, and it will reward you by shedding excess fat. I know, it sounds like a dream, but I promise it’s reality.

Hormone Reset for a Healthy Weight

Most diets don’t work for women because they fail to address the hormonal root causes. Hormones govern nearly all aspects of fat, including fat storage, cravings, appetite, gut bacteria, and food addictions or compulsions. Here’s the low-down on the hormones affecting weight and how to reset them and your metabolism.

Testosterone. Ladies, testosterone is not just for the guys. While women need less testosterone than men, we still need to maintain an optimal level for a healthy metabolism. If your testosterone is too low, your muscles are flaccid, even doughy. And weak muscles mean a slower metabolism.

To reset testosterone: Increase testosterone levels by gently increasing resistance training. Aim for a minimum of thirty minutes, three times a week.  You don’t have to specifically work out with barbells. Any weight-bearing exercise will do, so choose what you like and stick with it. For example, ballet training can increase testosterone significantly and lower cortisol. In addition cut back on sugar, maintain vitamin D levels, and supplement with branch amino acids.

Cortisol and adrenaline. These are the two main stress hormones. Adrenaline is associated with acute (fight-or-flight) stress, whereas cortisol is long lasting, and high levels can chronically affect you. Over time, high stress hormones make your body store fat, especially in your belly. High cortisol is also linked to depression, food addiction, and craving high-sugar foods. In other words, stress can make you fat.

To reset cortisol and adrenaline: I believe that weight loss is a result of a calm mind and body, particularly for women. To maintain physical and mental calmness, stay away from caffeine, sugar, and processed foods, and develop a contemplative practice, such as yoga.

Leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is nature’s appetite suppressant: When you’ve had enough to eat, leptin signals your brain to stop eating. However, if you have too much stored fat, your fat cells produce excess leptin, causing leptin’s normal function to shut down because it’s been overwhelmed. So it never signals your body to say, “I’m full.” So the more fat you carry, the more likely you’ll be in an endless cycle of never feeling full. Ghrelin, dubbed the “hunger hormone,” is leptin’s opposite: The more ghrelin you have in your system, the hungrier you are. Ghrelin works by activating the brain’s reward response to highly addictive sweet, fatty foods, making you crave them incessantly.

To reset ghrelin and leptin: Get more sleep. New research has shown that even low levels of sleep deprivation increase your ghrelin levels and lead to more body fat storage. For robust leptin function, reduce the amount of fructose in your diet to fewer than twenty grams per day and eat zinc-rich foods such as beans, chicken, oysters, and cashews to balance out leptin. Just as important, go yoga on the eating: Slow down. By slowing your food intake, you give leptin time to perform and you lower your stress level. More bang for every bite.

Estrogen. Too much estrogen in the body is associated with a higher body mass index (BMI).

To reset estrogen: Eat a pound of vegetables every day. Think of it as consuming a pound in order to lose pounds – because the fiber from the vegetables eliminates excess estrogen, freeing you up for natural weight loss. Women should aim for thirty-five to forty grams of fiber per day. Be sure to increase your veggie intake slowly in order to avoid bloating and gas.

Spexin. This peptide hormone is the new kid on the block in research for healthy weight maintenance. Low levels of spexin are linked to pediatric obesity and weight gain in adults.  Conversely, when spexin levels are regulated, gut motility improves along with food intake, energy metabolism, and regulation of fat storage, particularly long chain fatty acid uptake in fat cells.

To reset spexin: Since research is just beginning on how to reset spexin, we are staying tuned for specific recommendations. In the meantime, you can have your spexin levels checked to determine if you have a higher likelihood of weight gain. If you do, any of the above recommendations for hormone reset will help your body’s metabolism function optimally.

By correcting hormone misfires, your body will stop shooting from your (ever increasing) hip, and instead, fire on target for a healthy metabolism. And it’s not just about weight – by resetting your hormones, you’ll feel energized, feel more positive, and improve your libido. That’s worth more than any scale could ever measure.

Learn more about how to reset your hormones for weight loss and health in The Hormone Reset Diet