We all like to think that we’re in complete control of our body. And to some degree we are. We make choices that influence how our body feels. If we’re cold, we put on a coat to feel warmer. If we’re tired, we sleep. If we’re sad, we cry. If we’re happy, we smile. If we’re hungry, we eat.
But on a deeper level, we hand the reigns over to little messengers inside our body called hormones. I like to think of them as Minions. If you’ve never seen the movie Despicable Me, you may not get the reference. Just envision countless little “helpers” in your body that try to do their best, but sometimes get it wrong and cause more harm than good.
When our Minion-like hormones are in perfect harmony, our body sings along with them. We’re not bothered by mood swings, our body temperature is perfect round the clock, we have good energy, we eat when we’re hungry and (usually) we have a pretty good shot at maintaining an optimal weight.
When our hormones are less-than-cooperative, all hell breaks loose. We get moody, suffer from hot flashes, lack energy, feel hungry too often and have a tendency to gain weight around one part of our body fairly easily.
Because each of us has a unique biochemistry – part of which includes our hormones – we don’t necessarily gain weight in the same region of our body as someone else. Needless to say, this is why most commercial diets don’t work for everyone. Food plays a vital role in making sure hormones send the right messages. If one group of hormones out numbers the rest, weight gain can happen – and quickly. What’s more, unless that “gang” of hormones gets balanced out with the others, losing weight can be an uphill battle.
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?
- Belly weight: You’ve noticed you’ve gained weight through your belly, but haven’t really changed your diet.
- Hips & thighs: No matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to get rid of any body fat in your bottom, hips and thighs.
- Chest & upper arms: You’re legs are lean, but a growing bit of fat keeps edging its way in around your bra line and upper arms.
- All-Around Curves: You’re gaining weight, but it’s noticeable in your face, belly, hips…well, everywhere!
Correcting the Minion-overload
As far as our diet, there is a lot we can do to give our body a helping hand in an effort to regulate weight gain related to hormonal imbalance. You’re a lot more familiar with hormones than you realize. Insulin, estrogen, cortisol, adrenaline, progesterone and growth hormone are just a few that might sound familiar.
I’m a personal trainer, but I also hold a masters degree in health and nutrition education. More often than not, when I start working with a new client who comes to me ready to pull their hair out because they just can’t lose weight, we talk food and we do fitness. The combo is pretty nice. If someone is motivated to eat in a way that’s right for their body type (a plan laid out in my book, The Belly Burn Plan), they start seeing results pretty fast.
The knee-jerk reaction for most people who are frustrated by unwanted weight gain is to diet, usually by dramatically cutting calories, counting points or eliminating whole macronutrients (like carbohydrates) altogether. Big mistake.
First, take stock of where you tend to gain weight. Then, start eating right for your body type? You can get a better understanding of how to do this here. To get the full lowdown on taking control of your body, get my book, The Belly Burn Plan (pre-order by 3/31 and save).
The book includes:
- A 6-week meal plan for your body type
- 65 recipes
- 22 body changing workouts
Traci D Mitchell, author of The Belly Burn Plan, is a nationally-recognized Chicago-based nutrition coach and personal trainer featured on the TODAY Show and Dr. Oz. As the trainer for Steve Harvey’s Bridal Bootcamp, Traci keeps herself busy by challenging others to be the healthiest they can be. Traci is available for corporate speaking events and private coaching. Interested in working with Traci? Get info here. To keep up-to-date, subscribe to her newsletter.