The human body is both amazing and complicated. Multiple different brain chemicals and hormones affect the body’s performance, including how excess weight is stored and where. Specifically, these hormones are cortisol, insulin, estrogen, progesterone and the thyroid hormone.

Do you have more mass around your tummy area? You may be able to blame it on cortisol and insulin imbalance. Cortisol is a stress hormone that causes you to look for “comfort foods” which are usually sugary. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. Insulin helps glucose to enter your cells, but if you take in more calories than you need, your cells will get more glucose than needed and that “extra” becomes fat.

Do you have more mass around the hips? This could be because of an estrogen-progesterone hormone imbalance. High levels of estrogen are responsible for turning calories into fat. The balance between these two hormones promote better metabolism and overall well-being.

The thyroid hormone regulates the body’s metabolic rate, so weight gain all over the body is one effect of this. Imbalance of this hormone causes the slowing of the body’s overall metabolic rate.

Those are just a few of our body’s chemicals that contribute to weight gain. It is important that we understand how our body works in order to take care of it. The key to weight loss with respect to hormones is balance – keep the chemicals in balance so your healthy dieting and exercise work will be maximized!

Our next Support Group is Wednesday, April 3 and the topic is “Emotional Eating” presented by Kris Craig of Bridges Counseling. Support groups are FREE and open to everyone! The meeting will be from 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM in the Willow Room (adjacent to the cafeteria) at Providence Hospital. Click here to register!

If you would like more information about how Anchorage Bariatrics can help you with a customized weight loss solution, would like to attend a free informational seminar, or our Monthly Support Group, please call us at 907-644-THIN.

Eat Avocados to Balance Your Hormones!

Avocados are truly a superfood, with studies showing benefits from fighting inflammation to improving insulin regulation and weight-loss.

Insulin is managed well by the monounsaturated fats in avocados, while the fat also provides the building blocks the body needs to make both estrogen and progesterone. The fat in avocados also lubricates the digestive system, and may in-turn help to improve mild constipation.

Avocados also contain beta-sitosterol, a compound that balances stress hormones produced by the adrenal glands. When you’re stressed and in “frantic-mode,” more cortisol is pumped throughout your body. So anytime you can help reduce or balance that response of stress hormones, you’re doing your body a huge favor!

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. It doesn’t specify which foods you should eat but rather when you should eat them. In this respect, it’s not a diet in the conventional sense but more accurately described as an eating pattern.

There are several different ways of doing intermittent fasting — all of which involve splitting the day or week into eating and fasting periods.

During the fasting periods, you eat either very little or nothing at all.

These are the most popular methods:

  • The 16/8 method: Also called the Leangains protocol, it involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, such as 1–9 p.m. Then you fast for 16 hours in between.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat: This involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week, for example by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
  • The 5:2 diet: With this methods, you consume only 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, but eat normally the other 5 days.

Our jury is still out on this concept. But, we do agree that by reducing your calorie intake, all of these methods could cause weight loss as long as you don’t compensate by eating much more during the eating periods.