Every day in our practice we see patients who have been told by their primary care physicians that they are in good health, but just need to eat better to get in top shape. These are the same patients that, in spite of cleaning up their diet, can’t seem to make progress at losing those extra pounds.
Many of them follow very restrictive, low-calorie diets; spend countless hours at the gym to lose a mere 5-10 lbs.; and then plateau. If you can relate to this, let me be the first to say it is not all your fault! Most of the patients I see in my practice are not overweight because they are lazy or eat unlimited quantities of fast food. I can see in their eyes that they are really trying – some by doing the latest exercise programs and others by following all sorts of crazy, fad diets. But even those on the liquid diet frenzy seem to be gaining weight over time. If this is happening to you, you might be suffering from a hormonal imbalance. Hormones are critical in your wellness; having too little or too much of a particular hormone can hinder body functions, thus leaving you feeling upside down. Women, in particular, suffer from hormonal imbalances as they enter menopause.
A major hormone that is crucial to our survival is the mighty thyroid – lack of it will slow down your metabolism and cause weight gain. A hormonal imbalance can also affect your leptin hormone, for example. Because this is the hormone that tells your brain when to stop eating, if the signals are not read by the brain, you will end up overeating because you don’t feel full. Having a healthy weight is not all about looks and getting ready for bikini/Speedo season. The truth of the matter is there are dire implications for those who are not within the healthy body max index (BMI) range of 18-25. The top five conditions associated with an unhealthy BMI are diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, cancer and coronary artery disease (causes heart attacks, chest pains, arrhythmias). All these conditions are serious, but treatable. The goal of a functional medicine doctor, such as myself, is to find the root of the problem to eradicate it and prevent future illnesses. And this is exactly what we do with patients who might be suffering from hormonal imbalances.
At Bellissimo, our first step is not to prescribe all sorts of medications. We take the time to study the patient’s family history – a practice that is much ignored by traditional doctors. This is important in order to conduct specialized testing and customize the treatment.
When it comes to hormones, no size fits all, but there is hope. In some cases, adding vitamins and minerals to the patient’s diet is all it takes. Whatever your situation might be, we can work together to bring your hormones back to their optimal range. How will you know it worked? You will lose weight, have more energy, sleep better and feel great. You could even see improved blood pressure and cholesterol levels.