The Best Weight Loss Advice You’ve Never Heard
By Brandon Allen, PharmD
The new year is upon us and if you’re like most people, you’re going to make a resolution for the new year.
The most popular resolution each year is to lose weight.
It’s an admirable goal and can have a huge impact on your overall health.
Losing weight can decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and reduce joint pain. Not to mention, it can boost your self-image. And, who doesn’t want to feel better about how they look?
But there’s a problem with this resolution: 80% of people who resolve to lose weight fail.
There are dozens of diets, hundreds of workout plans and thousands of supplements, hacks and tricks to losing weight. Some work, most don’t. Ultimately, there is one thing that, if overlooked, can thwart even the best weight loss efforts: Hormones.
Hormones, if not in balance, can wreak havoc on your weight, your energy levels, your sex drive, and your overall health.
There are dozens of hormones, including stress hormones like cortisol, sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone, and thyroid hormones. In the simplest of terms, these hormones are signals. They signal our bodies to do a number of things, not the least of which is regulation of our metabolism.
A whole book could be devoted to the various hormones and their role in weight control, but I want to keep things simple and best of all, actionable. So, I’m going to break it down into three simple steps.
Before we get into the meat of this, it is important for you to find a competent provider to help you carry out these steps; they shouldn’t be attempted on your own.
Test. Don’t Guess.
This is of paramount importance. In order to get your hormones balanced and working for you, not against you, you will need to test your hormone levels. There are many overlapping symptoms when it comes to hormones and without proper testing you’ll be shooting in the dark to find a solution.
Blood testing, urine testing and saliva testing all have scientific evidence to show their utility in accurately measuring hormones when applied correctly. There are advantages and disadvantages to both and you should discuss these with your doctor before testing to ensure you’re using the right method of testing.
Take a Step-Wise Approach
When we are working with clients regarding their hormones, we take a step-wise approach.
First, we look at their lifestyle factors, including a nutritious diet, proper exercise, stress management and sleep.
Secondly, after looking at their hormone testing, we discuss the use of supplements and/or medications to help with the metabolism and the removal of certain hormones. We may also discuss the use of supplements and/or medications to help support the body in creating its own hormones.
Lastly, we discuss the use of exogenous hormones. These hormones should always be started at a low dose and increased slowly based on further testing and the client’s response to the hormones.
It’s a rather in-depth subject, but I always encourage clients and customers to use products containing bio-identical hormones. These contain the exact copy of the hormone our body naturally produces and is much safer and more effective than synthetic analogs, such as conjugated estrogens and progestins.
Generally, when we start balancing hormones, we look at thyroid hormones and progesterone first. Often, we find that this is enough. If, after addressing these, there are still issues, we can move on to stress hormones and the other sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone.
No matter which type of therapy you begin, it’s important that you follow up regularly with your provider. The same principle applies as before, we must test and make sure things are going the way we expect them to when we start treatment of any sort. You may notice symptoms improving or even resolving, but we must continue to monitor these things.
As you continue to progress and find that you’re maintaining your improvements, your follow ups will get further and further apart, but it’s important to keep them up until your provider says otherwise.
You may feel a little overwhelmed with this information but taking action to get your hormones checked and then balanced can help you achieve your weight loss goals this new year and we can help make this process easy.
Contact our pharmacy staff at Allen Pharmacy to learn about our hormone counseling services that can help you get the weight off and keep it off.