Obesity in the United States is becoming an epidemic and there are more books written about diets to lose weight than any other health care topic. Men and women are struggling to figure out why eating less and exercising more is not working. Every day men and women come to my office telling me that “I can’t seem to lose these last 10-15 pounds around my midsection no matter how hard I try.”
What Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and Lindora fail to tell you is that your hormone levels are in the bottom 25% of the normal range and it is this reason why you can not shed those last pounds or lose any weight at all.
I have found that when you optimize hormone levels, in conjunction with a solid meal plan and regular exercise you can achieve whatever your goal weight is much more easily.
- What hormones affect weight loss?
The major hormones that keep off the excess fat and weight are primarily testosterone, growth hormone and thyroid . The hormones that contribute to weight gain are primarily cortisol (stress hormone) and insulin. As we age, levels of all the good hormones that keep us lean and mean decline and the bad ones increase leading to excess fat accumulation year after year.
The first thing I do when meeting with any patient who is trying to lose weight is check their thyroid levels (particularly free t3 which is the active hormone), growth hormone (IGF-1 levels typically decline 50% every 7 years after the age of 30) and testosterone (total and free) in both men and women.
What I typically see in my practice is that these levels are in the bottom half to bottom 10% of the normal reference range. I make it crystal clear that until we get their levels in the optimal range (top 25%) that they will never achieve the level of weight loss that they want.
In addition. many patients I see have high cortisol levels due to stress in their life (financial, relationship, poor sleep etc) which causes fat to accumulate around the midsection. A morning cortisol level >15 is going to cause fat accumulation.
Lastly, as patients consume more and more sugar and processed carbohydrates, their insulin levels start to creep up which causes cells to store fat as well. This combination of low free t3, IGF-1 and testosterone with elevated cortisol and insulin is the kiss of death for weight loss and keeps patients obese.
Here is a link to a great article on thyroid hormone and weight loss: http://www.lifeextension.com//Magazine/2009/6/Using-Blood-Test-Findings-To-Induce-Weight-Loss/Page-03
- If I optimize my hormone levels do I still have to diet to lose weight?
Any doctor that tells you they you will get lean simply with hormone optimization regardless of what you eat is full of malarkey. Personally, I inject sermorelin (to boost growth hormone levels), inject testosterone twice weekly and take thyroid and DHEA every morning. My levels are in the top 10% of the range and I generally feel amazing. However, if I don’t stick to my meal plan and eat whatever I want I will gain weight fast. Diet (I prefer nutrition plan) is 70% responsible for the success of your weight loss.
This is the general nutrition plan I give to my patients and what I believe would solve the obesity epidemic in the United States. Six days per week you will eat at 8:00AM, 10AM, 12-1PM, 3PM and 6-7PM (minimum 5 meals). Each meal should have a portion of protein (organic chicken, organic eggs, wild fish, grass-fed beef, protein powder), a portion of carbohydrate (vegetable, fruit, brown rice or sweet potato) and a portion of fat (avocado, oil etc). The portion size (for each protein and carb) should be no larger than the size of your fist.
This will generally equate to 15-20 grams of protein for women and 25-30grams of protein for men, 20-25 grams of carbs for women and 25-35 grams of carbs for men and 5-8 grams of fat for women and 8-12 grams of fat for men. These calculations are for each meal. So 5 x per day a women would have a meal consisting of 15g protein, 20g carbs and 5 grams of fat. One day each week my patients can eat whatever they want (its your free day!)
- What about exercise and other supplements for weight loss?
The only other supplement (outside of thyroid, sermorelin and testosterone) that work for weight loss are injections using MIC (methionine, inositol and choline) + B Complex + B12. I will have patients inject 1ml up to 3x per week to boost energy and make fat metabolism more efficient.
As far as exercise the data says that you need to exercise 200-300 minutes per week to lose weight and an hour per day to keep weight off (it takes more time to keep weight off than lose it). However, I generally tell patients that high intensity, interval training for 20 minutes daily will generally work very well.
I actually think that Bill Phillips Body for Life workout program is the best overall program for sculpting your body. Here is a link to the BodyForLife program: http://bodyforlife.com
The bottom line is that obesity is an epidemic and until doctors start optimizing hormone levels patients are going to continue to gain weight. Every patient needs to have optimal levels of thyroid, testosterone and growth hormone.
In addition they should follow the simple meal plan I laid out above and stick to a regular exercise program.
If you have interest in getting in the shape of your life and would like to schedule a consult with Dr. Breen simply give us a call at 877-721-0047 or visit us on the web at www.DoctorBreen.com