Master Your Fat Burning Potential
This video post is part two of a series of three videos to help you get started in recognizing and addressing the key hormone indicators that can help you stay on track toward burning fat. These indicators are the most common complaints I see in my practice that are associated with the inability to lose weight. Here are the questions you will need to ask yourself when determining which hormone indicator is out of balance:
Did my sleep suffer and do I wake feeling unrested? Did I feel hungry in between my meals? Did my energy crash at any point today? What time did this occur? Did I have cravings for food that does not benefit me (i.e., too much coffee, sugar, fat, salt)? Did I have digestive issues after I ate a meal (bloating, gas, cramping, etc.) Did I suffer from mood changes throughout the day? Did my performance suffer during my workout, today?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, Let’s dig a bit deeper into each of these questions so that you can tailor your regimen, accordingly and improve your fat burning pathways.
Today’s post is part 2 of a tutorial for beginners and seasoned health fanatics who want to determine if their body is in fat burning mode or fat building mode. We are going to do this by recognizing the different hormone indicators and learn how to adjust them if they are not in balance. If you missed part one on how to create a basic nutrition plan, you can get caught up by using the link HERE. In the Beginners’ Guide to Better nutrition, we walked through the steps you will need to create your basic nutrition plan for better health, nutrition and physique. Now that we have the basic nutrition guide, we can dive a bit deeper into the customization of our fat burning plan.
Have you ever wondered if your eating habits and workout routine is really helping you to burn fat? The truth is everyone is different and we must approach diet, nutrition, and exercise from a customizable and calculative approach to really nail the right diet for you! Having tried every diet on the planet, I know how frustrating it can be when a diet that seems to work for everyone else only causes me to gain weight. The truth is everyone is different and we must approach diet, nutrition, and exercise from a customizable and calculative approach to really nail the right diet for you!
Here is what I found out. The reason why some diets and fitness plans work for some and not others is that everyone has a different hormonal makeup. Your body is constantly giving you signs that your hormones are either in fat burning mode or fat building mode. I call these signs, the Hormone Indicators. Once you know the hormone indicators to watch, you can then modify and adjust your habits to keep you in fat burning mode! In my research, I discovered other physicians who are providing research and clinical evidence that hormone balance is key to weight management. I highly suggest you check out these experts and I’ll put their names and their books I recommend, below.
You see, we used to believe that if you simply cut your calories and increase your activity you will lose weight. We now know that if your fat burning hormones are not balanced, you cannot lose weight.
Today, I’m going to share with you an excerpt from my book, The Forever Fat Burner to help you get started in recognizing and addressing the key hormone indicators that can help you stay on track toward burning fat. These indicators are the most common complaints I see in my practice that are associated with the inability to lose weight.
Here are the questions you will need to ask yourself when determining which hormone indicator is out of balance:
Did my sleep suffer and do I wake feeling unrested?
Did I feel hungry in between my meals?
Did my energy crash at any point today? What time did this occur?
Did I have cravings for food that does not benefit me (i.e., too much coffee, sugar, fat, salt)?
Did I have digestive issues after I ate a meal (bloating, gas, cramping, etc.)
Did I suffer from mood changes throughout the day?
Did my performance suffer during my workout, today?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, Let’s dig a bit deeper into each of these so that you can tailor your regimen, accordingly and improve your fat burning pathways. In this post, we’ll discuss the behavioral adjustments you can make to increase fat burning. In the next video (part three), I’ll teach you how to make further adjustment to each of these hormone indicators, through your nutrition.
If your sleep is poor, then rule out some of the common causes. If you drank alcohol the night before, consider giving it a break for a while. If you had caffeine later in the day than usual, you may need to try cutting down on your caffeine intake. If you are waking often to use the bathroom, try stopping your liquid intake three hours before bedtime. If you are struggling with mind racing thoughts? Try journaling before bed, making a list of “to-do’s” for the next day, and listen to a guided meditation for sleep. If you wake up often at night for no reason you may need to have your cortisol levels tested and ask your holistic practitioner for assistance in managing cortisol at night. I have a great PDF for sleep enhancement that I’ll link for you HERE.
If you are hungry between meals, then mismanagement of your leptin and insulin levels is likely. Was your hunger a real growling of your stomach or was it a mental desire to eat food? If it is the latter, ask yourself if there is a reward that you are seeking from the food? Can you provide the reward you seek from a non-food source? Try the non-food source method or drink two large glasses of water. After you hydrate, if you are still hungry, then you know you need to adjust your meals and eat more.
There are many possible reasons for reduced energy. If you aren’t sleeping well, then it is possible that cortisol and insulin imbalance are to blame. Don't forget to assess your stress levels. Are you managing your stress appropriately? If not, see the help for stress reduction in the link I provide for you HERE. Are you drinking too much coffee? Titrate your intake down to no more than one-half a cup to one cup of caffeinated beverages per day. What time of day did your energy crash? Were you properly hydrated? If not, have two glasses of water. Did you workout today? If so, was the workout too intense? If so, you’ll need to tone it down until you know your body’s sweet spot for maintaining energy.
The cause(s) of cravings can be very complex. Usually, cravings involve an increase in stress hormones (such as cortisol), or diminished neurotransmitter function (such as dopamine and serotonin) or a combination of both. Stress is a key component when unlocking the mystery to cravings as well. You see, stress increases the release of cortisol and increases the activity of the reward centers in your brain. The increase in both cortisol and reward center activity create the perfect storm for shutting down the more “reasonable” aspects of the brain. You will feel more inclined to attack the nearest salty, sugary, fatty food. Another cause for cravings can be as simple as a deficiency in nutrients. For example, a craving for chocolate can be the body’s need for magnesium as cacao is one of the highest sources. The key with cravings is to determine if there is a mental, emotional component that must be ruled out, first. Is there something that you are longing for that a particular food provides. Is it comfort? Is it relaxation? Is it a sense of euphoria? How about the need for indulgence or reward? Address these longings with non-food methods first. Try coffee with a girlfriend; binge-watch your favorite comedy show; take a hot bath and sip on tea. Check out the stress reduction link I have for you HERE for more tips.
Signs and symptoms that may indicate you have digestive issues include gas, bloating, stomach pain, and changes in bowel habits. For most people, the onset of discomfort is rather immediate and within a couple of hours of the last meal. Digestive issues can be caused by food sensitivities, inadequate digestive enzymes or low fiber intake. Food sensitivities can lead to intestinal inflammation and cause gut lining permeability so we must address these. A good rule of thumb is to eliminate common allergens such as grains, dairy, eggs, soy, beans (including peanuts), potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers. Of course, you will need to eliminate sugar as this can wreak havoc on your gut biome (or flora). In general, you should be eating clean protein sources, vegetables, fruits, seeds and non-dairy fats. Follow this uncomplicated eating plan for two weeks to one month. Then, every three days, reintroduce ONE food at a time to your diet and gauge how you feel. I’ll attach a Meal tracker PDF for you HERE to help you track your symptoms associated with food reintroduction.
So many variables affect mood. Not getting enough sleep, not eating enough food, and improper amounts of exercise, can all impact mood. Granted, it is always wise to test your neurotransmitter function if you suspect your attitude change is a result of neurotransmitter imbalance. If you are experiencing anxiety, make sure you address these concerns with your practitioner, in addition to addressing your stress levels appropriately. Again, for tips on addressing stress check out the stress reduction pdf I have for you, HERE. However, if the disposition change is more sudden, more temporary and seems to fluctuate with any change in your habits, then the issue more likely lies in your sleep, food or exercise rather than your neurotransmitter function. If you suspect that food is the issue, we’ll address that in the next video. For now, work on your sleep and assess your activity levels. If you are not exercising, start. If you are, make sure you are not overdoing it as this can deplete your body of the right chemicals.
How do you know if your workout performance is suffering? Well, if your workout used to make you stronger over time, but now you feel too weak, you cannot complete each movement or you are unable to maintain proper form and alignment, then we have a problem. When your performance starts to suffer, this is a huge sign that you are underfeeding your body or you are over-training. Take a hard look at your training. If you are attending a cross fit or intense exercise class four times a week and running on the weekends, you most likely are burning precious fuel. Dial down your workouts to the bare minimum until your nutrition is in check and then make adjustments based upon your activity level. We’ll cover how to adjust your food intake in the next video.
So, in this post, we discussed the big hormone indicators you need to watch out for when determining if you are in fat burning mode. We discussed sleep, hunger, energy, cravings, mood, digestion and workout performance and the different behavior adjustments you can make to keep you on track.
Here is the first thing that you should do once you finish this video. Pick ONE of the hormone indicators that needs your attention and try just ONE behavioral method to help move you more toward a fat burning state. Then, I want you to come back to this page and post your results. You can do this! I believe that you are just a few choices away from getting on track toward burning more fat.
Thank you for reading this post and for considering the small change you wish to make to improve your health!
In the next post, I’ll share with you how to adjust your food intake to improve your hormone balance, using these hormone indicators as your guide.
As always, remember to supercharge your health and simplify your lifestyle so that you can satisfy the soul!
Other physicians to check out:
Dr. Sara Gottfried (The Hormone Cure), Dr. Tami Meraglia (The Hormone Secret), Dr. Jade Teta (Lose Weight Here) and Dr. Alan Christianson (The Adrenal Reset Diet).