Women, Food, and Broken Metabolism

used to be fat and . . . I’m a doctor. After decades of starving myself and feeling as though I were living in someone else’s bloated body, I quit the war. In the process, I came to understand that what we’ve been taught about dieting is wrong—even what I was taught in medical school more than twenty-five years ago. Harsh depri- vation, beating myself up over the waning willpower, daily fights with food and whether to be “good” or “bad” in my nutritional choices—these dieting skirmishes actually left me more stressed; worsened my hormonal imbalances, body shame, and food addiction; and kept me out of a genuine conversation with my body and what it actually needs. It took me many years to learn the lesson, which occurred after trying nearly every diet, including the no-carb, low-carb, carb-cycling, low-fat, high-fat, low- protein, high-protein, no-salt, lemonade and honey, and Mediterranean diets. The truth? These diets don’t work for most women because they fail to address the hormonal root cause. Hormones dictate what your body does with food. Fat- ness is the result of major hormonal misfires in women, and forceful approaches to losing weight fail to address the hormonal root cause in strategy, tactics, and  delivery. Fortunately, there is a solution. You can rediscover a body you’re happy with— in which you shed the weight, feel trim and sexy in your skin, and restore your hor- mones and health—without a daily battle. After earning a medical degree, becom- ing a wife, birthing two babies, and getting certified as a yoga teacher, I ultimately learned that there’s an alternative to the suffering over weight that doesn’t involve shame or guilt. In short, you need to correct hormonal misfires with your fork. I learned how to eat in a way that optimizes hormones and reinstates a healthy weight in women, and now I want to share my discoveries with you. As women, we’re at a disadvantage when it comes to getting fat. We are exquisitely sensitive to the ravages of stress and inflammation—you may notice the telltale signs as sugar cravings, extra weight hanging around your waist, mood- iness, lack of sleep, or perhaps an overwhelmed feeling. These are clues that your hormones have begun to turn against you, which sets off a vicious cycle of inflam- mation (the type that makes you overweight) and more difficulty regulating the hor- mones that help you burn fat (also known as the hormones of metabolism, or the engine for burning calories). When misfiring hormones are allowed to spiral down- ward, you’re left with hormone anarchy and, ultimately, a broken metabolism; and  you store fat no matter what—even when you try popular diets like Paleo or Weight Watchers. Soon the bathroom scale seems weirdly stuck 10 or 25 pounds higher than you’d prefer. If you struggle to get and stay lean, I promise that your hor- mones are to blame. Your hormones govern nearly all aspects of fat loss, from where you store fat (and how much) to your cravings, appetite, gut bacteria, and even your addictive patterns with food. The good news is that you can turn this problem around—in twenty-one days. In the pages of this book, you’ll find a novel step-by-step plan that I’ve designed to help women of all shapes and sizes, ages and ethnicities, to lose weight and feel lighter, from your cells to your soul—a formula that has had amazing results for thousands of women just like you. I’m excited to share it with you now. The prevailing nutritional paradigm is what I call “outside in,” which refers to the hard-driving, forced march of restricting calories and maybe carbohydrates. These strategies are external and focused on physical requirements, instead of resetting your internal world and addressing the emotional issues you face. The “calories in, calories out” mind-set is the old-school approach of a one-sided con- versation with the body: You need to eat this, not that. Submit to my will. The prob- lem is that coercion doesn’t work for women, who don’t like to be forced, deprived,  or disempowered. The outside-in approach tries to beat you into submission. It’s a boot camp for your body, when what a woman’s body really needs is three days at a spa. The female body responds far better to the coax than the shove. 

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