In spite of following the traditional advice of eating well and exercising, many people simply don’t shed weight, according to physician Sara Gottfried. Recent research indicates that the problem may be a hormone imbalance, she writes in “The Hormone Reset Diet.”

Leptin is a good example. Normally fat cells release this hormone to signal your brain that you’re full. But this important mission is undermined when you consume too much sugar because your liver can’t process it fast enough to use it as fuel. So the sugar is converted to fats, which flood your bloodstream as triglycerides and causes fat buildup in your liver and belly. This triggers the production of more leptin, but when you keep consuming food you don’t need, your body becomes immune to the message to stop eating.

Popular TV host Dr. Oz says, “If you have struggled to lose weight or keep it off, I guarantee that your hormones are at play. Your hormones control every aspect of weight loss including your metabolism, where you store your fat, your appetite and even your cravings! This means any form of hormonal imbalance will sabotage your efforts – regardless of your diet and exercise habits.”

Like Angie, many of us have had the experience of craving a food that we really don’t need to have enough to eat. In spite of our rational mind telling us to stop eating things that are bad for us and pack on the pounds, something so powerful inside of us overrides our good judgment and drives us to indulge our cravings.

Last year Angie started working with a natural hormone balancing specialist. She shed 20 pounds in eight weeks using plant-based topical creams that helped with her hormone related symptoms: food cravings, anxious feelings, sleep problems, hot flashes and low energy. She also attended several stress management counseling sessions.

The traditional calories in – calories out approach doesn’t work well once you’re past your 20s. After that time stress reactions can cause hormone imbalances that prevent your body from using stored fat as a source of fuel. Doctors have discovered several parts of your brain, namely the hypothalamus, adrenal and thyroid glands, which need to be properly balanced to control appetite.

Stress causes your glands to produce an over-abundance of adrenalin and cortisol, and this chemical imbalance in your brain triggers food cravings. Correcting metabolic imbalances in your body can occur with a special combination of hormone balancing creams, probiotics and liver detoxification supplements. This combination can rebalance blood sugar and insulin levels, as well the hormones that support the major glands orchestrating your body chemistry.

Of course, the foods you eat contribute to maintaining a healthy hormone balance. Strictly limit sugar while eating properly sized portions of protein, veggies and fruits. Dr. Gottfried suggests eating foods such as oatmeal with blueberries and cinnamon for breakfast, salmon and veggies for lunch, along with a salad, chicken and cauliflower rice for dinner.

After six months Angie reported: “I am honestly doing fabulous. I have been holding at 130-131 pounds, which is amazing for me and the longest I have ever been able to sustain this. I honestly have not felt this good in years! What is huge for me is that I now understand on so many levels how to enjoy life and not create a yo-yo relationship with food. For example, we had a business dinner at my favorite Italian place last Saturday. I had too much wine and a few bites of unplanned dessert. I was up 2 pounds the next day and felt lousy. But I got back on plan with the foods I know that make me feel great and the 2 pounds were gone the next morning. That is the focus that I need in my life and I have been trying to get ‘there’ for years.”

“Oh…and cravings. I really don’t have them often. If I do, I have learned to ‘switch’ my brain into a distracting thought…or do something on purpose to focus elsewhere.”

To learn more about hormone balancing, attend a free seminar on Jan. 25, 6:30 to 7:30 at BeBalanced Hormone Weight Loss Center, 1321 General’s Highway, suite 101A in Crownsville.