and alters gut flora, leading to weight gain and bloating. Additionally, the birth control pill decreases gut bacteria, decreases liver clearance of estrogen and causes pituitary insensitivity. It can take up to a year to clear and reverse these effects. Probiotics in the form of food or supplementation are vital to promoting weight loss.

2. Nutrient Supplementation: Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to increase adiponectin and improve leptin sensitiv- ity. Adiponectin is a hormone secreted by fat cells that helps regulate metabolism of fats and sugar.

Deficiencies of vitamin B3, vitamin B6, and magnesium can adversely affect healthy fat metabolism. These are pow- erhouse nutrients helping to convert food into fuel. When your vitamin levels are lacking, the body doesn't have adequate capability to trigger efficient fat burning, thus hampering weight-loss efforts.

Berberine is the most researched supplement to reset insulin sensitivity to support weight loss. It activates an impor- tant enzyme nicknamed the “metabolic master switch.”

Di-Indole Methane (DIM) reduces harmful estrogen excess while promoting protective estrogens. You can also improve your good-to-bad estrogen ratio by eating more lightly steamed cruciferous vegetables.

3. Exercise with Intention: Movement is equally vital for metabolic optimization, especially forms of movement that bring enjoyment. It is important to exercise intelligently. It is best to avoid chronic cardio as this can further disrupt the HPA axis and elevate cortisol levels. Burst training and adaptive exercise are more beneficial for stabilizing cortisol and reproductive hormones.

Burst training involves short periods of high intensity exercise with moderate- level exercise as recovery. It is incredibly efficient without the cortisol-raising side ef- fect of a long run. Moreover, it is extremely effective at raising growth hormone (GH), which maintains lean body mass. Adaptive exercise is even more beneficial for those diagnosed with thyroid conditions, and includes practices such as yoga and Pilates. Incorporating muscle activation with body weights or light resistance is great for the HPA axis and helps to prevent injuries.

In summary, move frequently. Aim for

between two and five hours per week of moderate aerobic exercise. Combine this with one to three brief, intense sessions of full-body functional movements and prac- tice meditation or yoga regularly.

4. Sleep: Make a goal of eight hours of good quality sleep every night. Too much cortisol raises blood sugar and deposits fat at night. Insufficient sleep increases insulin resistance, increasing the risk of obesity. One study demonstrated that even one night of sleep deprivation (four hours) induced insulin resistance in mul- tiple metabolic pathways among healthy participants.

5. Botanicals: Adding plant medicine to the regimen can further support lifestyle interventions and restore proper function to many body systems. Ashwagandha is a wonderful adaptogen that helps to reset cortisol balance. Ashwagandha dials down the HPA so you feel less stressed and prepare for a good night of sleep.

Psychological Relationship We tend to primarily target the physi- cal aspects of weight loss resistance, yet the emotional, mental, social, and spiritual factors are equally, if not more, important. Psychological factors act as a barrier to many who would like to manage their weight.

Emotions can interfere with maintain-

ing a regular workout routine and making healthy food choices. In a national survey about weight loss barriers, 90 percent of respondents discounted one of the most important factors -- the mind. Reconfiguring the way you look at your body and the foods you feed it, is more effective for weight-loss than mindlessly following a fad diet.

We become emotionally attached to

food at a very young age. Most holidays and celebrations are food-focused. The smell of certain foods, like cookies, can create powerful emotional connections. Over our lifespan we have become con- ditioned to use food not only for nourish- ment, but also for comfort.

The more we can recognize and ac-

knowledge this, the better equipped we are to manage it appropriately. The goal is to take emotion out of eating and view food as nourishment, not as a reward or coping mechanism. To help recognize the emo- tional connection you may have to food, identify foods that bring you that comfort and write down why you eat them. Do they evoke a memory, promote a feeling of health, or are you craving those foods out of stress?

Most diets don’t work because they fail to address the root causes that are the most common reasons for weight loss resistance, especially excess cortisol, insulin and/or leptin resistance, estrogen dominance, and problems with the HPA coordination. Start- ing with lifestyle restructuring and filling nutrient deficiencies, administering herbal therapies if necessary, and addressing the psychological barriers are key to generating weight loss.

Dr. Kaley Burns, ND, is a Naturopathic Physician at Collaborative Natural Health Partners and is currently accepting new patients. She is an in-network provider for most major health insurance companies. For more information, visit www.ctnatural- See ad on page 31.

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