When you begin to put on weight, especially belly fat, your body shifts out of balance—which in turn makes you gain more weight. A vicious cycle that persists leading to fatty liver and high cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension, hormonal imbalance, fatigue, and poor mood.
Key Player in Belly Fat: Insulin
Numerous hormones contribute to belly fat, but the most powerful is insulin, your fat storage hormone. High levels of insulin tell your body to gain weight around the belly and increases inflammation and oxidative stress. Eventually your body will become resistant to insulin and your body will hold on to belly fat for dear life! High insulin levels block leptin, your body’s satiety hormone, leading to hunger that persists throughout the day and hunger even after a large meal.
Changing The Way You Think About Food & Lifestyle Management:
If you want to lose pounds and end the endless cycle of yo-yo dieting, you need to first lose the ideas that keep you stuck in an endless cycle of yo-yo dieting.
1. Suggestions: Working with our Health Coach doing an elimination diet to discover allergies and sensitivities Or ALCAT testing, a comprehensive food sensitivity test. This is highly suggested as autoimmune conditions can be underlying due to food allergies and weight gain/ weight-loss resistance is likely to occur.
4. Balance Your Hormones: Progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone that are not in optimal ranges impact stress hormones, cravings, and insulin mediated belly fat accumulation. Many people, especially women who are pre and post-menopausal have very low levels of hormones which increase risk of cardiovascular disease, mood disorders, and unexplained weight gain. It is highly recommended to assess hormone levels when starting a weight loss program and learning ways to balance them either through natural supplements and lifestyle changes or if needed bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. Dr. Pacholec and the team specialize in HRT alongside weight loss, so we are prepared to guide you through this process!
1. Suggestions: Follow these lifestyle suggestions listed.
2. Supplements: Hormone Protect, Fem Guard, DHEA
5. Get 7– 8 Hours of Sleep: Not getting enough sleep will increase sugar and carb cravings by affecting your appetite hormones. One study found even a partial night’s poor sleep could contribute to insulin resistance and higher than normal blood sugar in the next day. Poor sleep also adversely impacts fat-regulating hormones like leptin and ghrelin, so you’ll feel hungrier and less satiated.
6. Optimize Your Nutrient Levels: Take high quality vitamins that contain blood sugar-balancing nutrients and antioxidants. Make sure you are consuming enough Omega-3 fat. Omega 3 fatty acids are responsible for lowering inflammation and controlling insulin function. Vitamin D levels are crucial for appetite control and warding off insulin resistance, in fact, The American Diabetic Association research finds that the chance of developing insulin resistance goes down with higher supplementation of vitamin D. B-vitamins are essential for energy, metabolism, cognitive function, and detoxification. Most Americans are deficient in these fundamental vitamins, so supplementing may be necessary.
1. Suggestions: Work with our providers and health coach to design a supplement protocol that restores vitamin, mineral, and amino acids needed to regain and optimize health based on your lab work and symptoms.
2. Supplements: Consider taking other supplements for cravings control such as amino acids like L-Glutamine and Opti-Fiber Lean to control cravings and balance blood sugar.
7. Exercise Regularly. Aside from changing your diet, exercise is probably the single best medication for all health issues, but especially excess weight and stubborn belly fat. Walk at least 30 minutes every day, aim to get 10,000 steps a day, and do not sit for more than an hour at a time, ideally get up and move every half hour. Moderate to intense exercise four to six times a week may be necessary for some, 30-45 minutes at a time. Studies show that high intensity interval training, which can be done in 15 minutes and weight resistance training for 30-60 minutes can accelerate fat loss and tap into the most stubborn areas. The American Medical Association finds that even just 2 days a week of exercise at these levels can decrease all cause mortality by up to 30%. Now that’s a reason to get up and move more!
1. Suggestions: Find a community center or gym near you and set new movement goals. Starting a workout routine can be hard and intimidating for a lot of people- work with our Health Coach for a personalized exercise plan that fits your specific needs and level of trainability.
8. Monitor Alcohol: As a daily habit, alcohol can do more harm than you realize, especially if you are struggling with weight or any other chronic illness. Consider this: If you drink two glasses of wine a day, you will consume about 72,000 extra calories a year, which could mean an extra 20 pounds a year. These calories go right to your belly. Moreover, alcohol inhibits the absorption of nutrients, slows metabolism, and increases cravings. When working through a weight loss program it is important to stop alcohol for six weeks. See how you feel. Then, if you want, enjoy one to three glasses of wine or alcohol a week, you may find this is sustainable.
At Pacholec Center for Weight Loss, our providers in both our North Tampa and St. Petersburg, FL clinics strive to provide holistic and integrative care to help our patients lose weight and meet their goals. We offer functional weight loss visits with our providers and also a 3-month health coaching plan with our functional RN to provide more comprehensive and individualized diet, exercise and detoxification plans. Call one of our clinics to set your next appointment or schedule a free consult here! All of the supplements recommended in this blog post can also be purchased through our online store or in clinic.
Barbara Pacholec, MD
Dr Pacholec is Board Certified in Bariatric Medicine and Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine. She has run a successful practice specializing in medical weight loss, hormone replacement therapy and anti-aging/regenerative and functional medicine for the past 20 years in Lutz, FL in Tampa Bay. In January 2018, she opened a satellite practice in St Petersburg, FL which also specializes in medical weight loss, hormone replacement therapy, and anti-aging/regenerative and functional medicine.