When people are eating well and exercising frequently and can’t seem to shed that abdominal weight, hormonal imbalances are usually to blame.
The most common hormones that are involved in this unwanted fat will be cortisol (stress hormone), inflammatory hormones and insulin. In most cases the patient has developed something called insulin resistance.
What Is Insulin Resistance?
In very simple terms this means that your body is no longer processing the blood sugars in the proper fashion.
Instead of your body releasing the proper amount of insulin after a meal to allow the blood sugars to get in the cell for energy, it is releasing abnormally high amounts of insulin in response to the foods that you are eating and the lack of ability for this insulin to properly bind to its receptor.
Since insulin is a storage hormone, when insulin levels are high your body wants to store away this food away as fat instead of utilizing it for energy.
It has been shown that the more inflamed you are, the most insulin resistant you become.
To top that…it has also been shown that in the presence of stress the insulin response can triple!
Is Menopause To Blame?
For all of the menopausal ladies in the audience, during menopause your drop in sex hormones causes your system to naturally become more insulin resistant.
This is why many of the menopausal ladies come into my office wondering why they have all of a sudden gained 5-10lbs around the middle without changing anything in their lifestyle.
What Can Be Done To Fix Insulin Resistance?
So, how do you fix this problem?
First things first is to identify the problem.
In my office this is usually done by bloodwork so we can see exactly what the problem is.
From there we target balancing your individual hormone imbalance. This can include dietary support and potentially supplements depending on how imbalanced the bloodwork is.
In terms of dietary support the best way to target that belly fat is to remove all of the foods from your diet that are causing a large insulin release after a meal, these are called high glycemic foods.
Unfortunately removing sugar may not be enough.
It is more important to remove all white foods and sugars from the diet, these being white rice, white pasta, and white bread. In some cases for a short period of time will remove a lot of the grain based carbohydrates depending on the degree of insulin resistance, and motivation of the patient.
While whole wheat bread is better than white bread, it is still not as good for the insulin metabolism as a more whole grain such as 100% rye.
If you are having difficulties losing weight (especially around the middle) and you are getting frustrated with dieting…it could be that your hormones are out of whack!!
3 Things You Can Do Today
- The best thing to do is have your diet analyzed and get coaching on how to remove the foods that have a very high glycemic index. Here is a list to get you started.
- White bread, pasta, rice
- Corn/Corn Chips/Popcorn
- Candy – Jelly beans/licorice
- Sugared Cereals
- Concentrate on Protein and Fibre in the morning.
- Good Breakfast Choices
- Protein shake
- Greek Yogurt (plain) 1/2 c with ¼ cup nuts and seeds
- Eggs and avocado
- Exercise – very important to decreasing insulin resistance. If you have been exercising for awhile and you are not sweating…you are not working hard enough. Talk to a personal trainer, or join a gym/class/running club and get working!!