What’s Your Hormone Type? Customized Weight-Loss Solutions
Apples and bananas and pears, oh my! While knowing which fruit your body most resembles can help you decide if you look best in boot-cut or straight-leg jeans, one author has d
d another set of body types that he says can tell you about how your body works. Chiropractor Eric Berg, author of The 7 Principles of Fat Burning, explains his hormone-driven body types.
The Adrenal Shape
What it is: Our adrenal glands sit on the kidneys and deal with stress. “When too much stress builds up, your fight-or-flight response kicks in, triggering the hormone cortisol to build up fat around your most vital organs—which are located in your midsection,” Berg says.
What it means: Constant stress leads to poor sleep patterns, causing worry, excessive thinking, brain fog, poor memory, and weight gain, he says. “Most growth hormone is released at night, and this hormone regulates fat burn,” Berg explains. Trying to lose weight can actually cause you to add pounds since conventional diet programs that call for drastically cutting calories and overtraining with exhaustive workouts only further stress your body. “This is why hundreds of sit-ups every day will never give someone with the adrenal shape that flat stomach they desire,” Berg says. Overtime, as adrenal fatigue continues, tolerance to stress dives even lower and patience with others wears thing. “These types tend to be edgy and irritable, and oftentimes, others get on their nerves.”
The Thyroid Shape
What it is: Your thyroid resides in the front of your lower neck and is about 2 and a half inches wide. It makes hormones that control the metabolism in all your cells. “Hence, thyroid types tend to get big all over, not in just one place,” explains Berg. “Many thyroid body types are triggered by the hormone estrogen. As estrogen becomes dominant, your thyroid slows down and over time, can become sluggish.” Stubborn baby weight that doesn’t seem to go away after giving birth is often due to a spike in estrogen, coupled with thyroid malfunction, he says.
What it means: Besides weight struggles, those with a thyroid body type also often suffer hair loss, saggy skin under the arms, ridged nails, and loss of the outer eyebrows, Berg says. “Thyroid types also tend to reach for simple carbs, such as bread, for quick energy to rev their sluggish metabolism.” You can get tested for thyroid disorders, but Berg says that problems don’t always show up on blood tests until the person is already in an advanced state.
The Ovary Shape
What it is: For women in childbearing years who are trying to conceive, having over-productive ovaries isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But for others, it can lead to saddlebags and lower stomach pooch, Berg says. Like the thyroid shape, too much estrogen triggers the ovary shape; in fact, people can be both shapes in their lifetime. “Many ovary body types turn into thyroid types after pregnancy due to the spike in estrogen, especially if the woman develops a thyroid problem during or shortly after having the baby,” he explains.
What it means: Ovary types can also suffer heavy periods and develop facial hair and acne, especially during that time of the month, Berg says. “Anything that is cyclic, such as headaches, PMS, bloating, and depression, can occur frequently with the ovary type, oftentimes during ovulation or about one week before a menstruation.”
The Liver Type
What it is: Your liver is a 3-pound organ under your right rib cage that filters toxins and helps digest your food. “Liver types typically have thin legs and a protruding belly,” explains Berg. “These types have a condition called ascites, which is essentially the liver leaking a plasma-like fluid into the sac that sits just above our intestines.” Because the liver type has this belly pooch, people often equate them to having a fat stomach, but in reality, they actually have lowbody fat. “Even if the person is 300 pounds, if most that weight in their tummy, a lot of it could be fluid. People always incorrectly assume that all weight is equated to fat, when it isn’t,” says Berg.
What it means: In healthy individuals, blood sugar naturally rises in the morning due to hormonal changes, but after fasting overnight, liver types inevitably wake up with low blood sugar—and irritability, Berg says. They also have digestive problems such as gas and heartburn after they eat because of their sluggish digestive juices. “This means food is not broken down thoroughly, and if bile isn’t released, the person will feel unsatisfied and crave quick carb energy,” Berg says.
The Hungry Hormone Type: Insulin and Cortisol Imbalance
Although insulin plays an essential role in healthy body function, an excess of it will certainly make you fat. Too much insulin not only encourages your body to store unused glucose as fat, but also blocks the use of stored fat as an energy source. For these reasons, an abnormally high insulin level makes losing fat, especially around the abdomen, next to impossible.
Another hormone responsible for unwanted belly fat is cortisol. Cortisol is the hormone responsible for helping us deal with long-term stress, as compared to adrenalin, which is involved in the immediate response to stress. An elevated cortisol level destroys muscle fibers, suppresses immunity, affects memory and concentration, can weaken bone mineral density and contributes to cancer. It can cause increased body fat, particularly around the abdomen, by adversely affecting blood sugar and insulin levels. High levels of cortisol are also very detrimental because it leads to other hormonal imbalances. Together, these two hormones will have you battling an insatiable appetite and craving carbs late at night.
Your Hormone-Balancing Solution
Phosphatidylserine: This product negates the bad effects of stress hormone on the muscles and the brain cells. Taken before bed, 100 mg of this product may be calming and improve your sleep too. White beans, cabbage, barley, rice and carrots are also rich in phosphatidylserine.
Incorporate yoga into your workout regimen to lower cortisol while still working to increase muscle strength. One -two times per week will improve stress-related conditions such as depression, anxiety, high blood pressure and cardiac disease.
Holy basil has been found to reduce cortisol and help the body adapt to stress. It also improves blood sugar balance and the activity of insulin in the body. Take 2 gel caps a day for at least a month.
Balance your protein, fat and carbohydrates for three meals and two snacks each day and consider a non-pysllium fiber supplement to improve insulin sensitivity.
Drink 2 to 4 cups of green tea each day to improve fat burning and glucose regulation in the body. As an added bonus, enjoying it with a meal can lower the blood sugar spike brought on by starchy carbs.
Increase cinnamon in your diet. Just one-quarter to one-half teaspoon a day can improve insulin response and reduce blood sugar levels in 40 days.
Have blueberries in your smoothie daily. This has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity by 22% in six weeks.
The Moody Hormone Type: Serotonin and Dopamine Imbalance
Balancing serotonin is critical for effective weight loss. Though serotonin is typically recognized as a brain chemical, most of this neurotransmitter is produced in our digestive tract. Serotonin exerts a powerful influence over mood, emotions, memory, cravings (especially for carbohydrates!), self-esteem, pain tolerance, sleep habits, appetite, digestion and body-temperature regulation. When we’re depressed or down, we naturally crave more sugars and starches to stimulate the production of serotonin.
Serotonin’s partner in crime, dopamine, is the neurotransmitter that’s heavily involved in the pleasure center within the brain. It is released in high amounts during activities such as eating, sex and other naturally enjoyable experiences. Many researchers today agree that dopamine is one of the reasons that foods can be addictive. We also know stress stimulates the production of dopamine, which provides us with more energy, drive and motivation, just as the addictive stimulants chocolate, caffeine, sugar and cigarettes can.
Your Hormone-Balancing Solution
5 HTP: This is a precursor to serotonin, which means when you take it, your body will make it into serotonin. This product is often used to assist with carbohydrate cravings, binge eating, anxiety, depression and insomnia all of which are symptoms commonly associated with low levels of serotonin. The typical dose is 50 to 200 mg per day.
Rhodiola may enhance learning capacity, memory and mood regulation. It may also help fight depression by stimulating the activity of serotonin and dopamine. Take 200 to 400 mg each day, preferably in the morning.
The best food sources of serotonin-boosting tryptophan are brown rice, cottage cheese, meat, peanuts and sesame seeds. Sources of tyrosine to increase the production of dopamine include almonds, avocados, bananas, dairy products, lima beans, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds.
Coffee may also stimulate dopamine release, but remember to not go overboard on the caffeine!
Meditating or focusing your mind on one thing will improve serotonin levels. Exercise, sex and massage also help to boost these mood hormones.
The Sluggish Hormone Type: Low Growth Hormone, DHEA and Melatonin
Growth hormone affects just about every cell in the body. Not surprisingly, it also has a major effect on our feelings, actions and appearance. This youthful hormone is released during deep sleep and while we exercise. It’s essential for tissue repair, muscle building, bone density and healthy body composition. A study from the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism linked abdominal obesity in post-menopausal women with low growth hormone secretion, elevated inflammatory markers and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Growth hormone release naturally declines as we age, but poor quality sleep and low melatonin can cause growth hormone production to drop off even further. Without sufficient melatonin, we lose the rejuvenating and fat-burning benefits of growth hormone and become susceptible to abdominal weight gain. Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that maintains youthfulness, improves sleep, perks up libido and boosts energy and resistance to infections. It affects your ability to fall asleep, stay asleep and your sleep quality.
The final component of our anti-aging trio, DHEA, is a precursor to the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone and is also one of the most abundant hormones in our body. It is known to support healthy immunity (particularly autoimmune function), aid tissue repair, improve sleep and counteract the negative effects of cortisol. It influences our ability to lose fat and gain muscle. Together, balancing these three hormones will have you looking and feeling younger, longer – not to mention a slimmer waistline.
Your Hormone-Balancing Solution
7-Keto DHEA: According to research, 7-Keto enhances metabolism effects, promotes fat loss, protects us from the harmful effects of excess cortisol and appears to prevent the decrease in the metabolism known to occur when we’re dieting. Take 25 to 100 mg twice a day.
Melatonin: Take 0.5 mg under your tongue per day at bedtime to aid sleep. To improve your natural melatonin production, sleep in total darkness (consider blackout curtains!), wearing light clothing or nothing at all.
Walnuts: Research from the University of Texas Health Science Center found that walnuts are a source of melatonin. Top your salads or side dish with 1 tablespoon a day.
Tart cherry juice: In one study published in Natural Medicine Journal participants boosted their exogenous melatonin intake by 85 mcg a day by enjoying this tasty tart drink. The results? There were significant increases in time in bed, total sleep time, and sleep efficiency total with cherry juice supplementation. I recommend drinking 1/2 to 1 cup an hour before bedtime for best results.
Try my Hormone Diet Recipes, suitable for all hormone types.