Female Fat Loss Secrets
By Christine Fitzgerald, Regional Director of Nutrition at Leisure Sports
Ever feel as if your weight loss efforts read like a meme? "Work out five days a week for at least one hour, eat healthy — still can't lose weight." "Try absolutely every workout and diet under the sun — still can't lose one freakin’ pound!" Why is it so darn difficult to lose weight?!
Most of us think we can fix our weight problem by cutting calories and exercising like crazy, but that approach is exhausting and unsustainable. You see, weight gain and inability to lose weight is the symptom of an underlying cause — our bodies can't and won't release fat until they're at a certain level of health. Oftentimes, the best path to weight loss is to create healthier glands and hormones.
In his book, "The 7 Principles of Fat Burning," Dr. Eric Berg identifies four body types resulting from specific glands that need healing: Thyroid, Adrenal, Liver, and Ovary. Take the Female Fat Loss Secrets: Body Type Quiz to determine which body type you are, then find your description below to find out what that means and to learn tips to finally lose those pesky pounds.
As you take the quiz, you may find that more than one answer applies, so choose the one that is more prominent. After you complete the quiz, count up your totals. The highest number is your primary type and you should follow that plan for best results. If you have any questions, make an appointment to speak with your ClubSport nutritionist or nutrition coach.
THYROID BODY TYPE
What it is: The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the front of the neck. It makes hormones that regulate metabolism, body temperature, the breakdown of carbs, mental clarity and well-being, energy levels, cholesterol levels, and sex drive. When the thyroid gland malfunctions, it can produce either too much hormones (hyperthyroid) or too little (hypothyroid), which leads to weight gain all over the body.
What it means: EVERYTHING is slower, but not in a good way like in The Matrix. Thyroid body types will feel tired, lethargic, have trouble losing weight, process things slower, and generally feel low or depressed.
How to fix it with exercise: High-intensity, short-duration exercise like weight training, sprints, hiking, swimming, and resistance training are best. These types of workouts should be done every other day, not every day.
How to fix it with diet: Thyroid types crave sugar because of the sluggishness of fuel processing. Make sure you consume a diet low in protein (25g a day) and go light on fats. Snack between meals (protein and raw nuts and seeds) to keep blood sugar levels even.
ADRENAL BODY TYPE
What it is: The adrenal glands deal with stress. When too much stress builds up, the fight-or-flight response kicks in, triggering the hormone cortisol to build up fat around the most vital organs, which are located in the midsection.
What it means: Constant stress — like injury, infection, divorce, pain, illness, eating junk food, financial stress, babysitting small children under the age of five — leads to poor sleep patterns, which causes worry, excessive thinking, brain fog, poor memory, and weight gain.
How to fix it with exercise: Adrenal types need very light, slow exercise like walking, yoga, and meditation. Once the adrenals are stronger, you can add in more intense exercise. Working out intensely before your adrenals are strong enough would basically add stress to an already stressed out body, meaning you could actually add pounds instead of lose them. That defeats the purpose, doesn't it?
How to fix it with diet: Eat small meals frequently. Be sure to eat a diet high in protein (3-6 oz. per meal) and high in fat (raw nuts and avocados). Add lots of vegetables with vitamin C (leafy greens, broccoli, bell peppers, etc.) and consume small amounts of organic protein between meals to prevent the body from eating itself.
LIVER BODY TYPE
What it is: The liver is a three-pound organ under the right side of your rib cage that filters out the body's toxins and break down fats, proteins, and even carbohydrates.
What it means: When the liver doesn't function correctly, sugars are converted into fat, triglycerides, and cholesterol, and toxic substances become trapped in it. This all inhibits weight loss and can result in side effects like a potbelly, hemorrhoids, high cholesterol and blood pressure, bloating, headaches, and arthritis.
How to fix it with exercise: Liver types need to stimulate fat-burning hormones for weight loss to occur, which is why high-intensity, short-duration workouts are super effective. However, if you're fatigued, start with low-intensity exercises like walking, yoga, and breathing classes.
How to fix it with diet: Eat high-quality proteins and lots of vegetables to take stress off the liver and let it heal. Bitter greens like arugula, bitter melon, and kale are great at boosting the liver’s performance. Aim for a diet consisting of 7-10 cups of veggies, low in protein (3 oz. per meal), and low in fat.
OVARY BODY TYPE
What it is: The ovaries produce estrogen, which creates the fat layer around a female body, specifically around the ovaries, hips, buttocks, and lower abdomen. When the ovaries become dysfunctional, they can produce an excess of estrogen, which causes more fat, and those fat cells produce even more estrogen.
What it means: Problems caused by the ovaries include PMS, cravings and bloating at certain times of the month, painful cramps and excess menstrual bleeding, depression, lower back pain or pain in one of the knees, and inability to lose weight after pregnancy. Side note: Many ovary types turn into thyroid types after pregnancy.
How to fix it with exercise: Ovary body types usually deal with superficial cellulite, which sits mostly below the belly button. Try a combination of high- and low-intensity exercise that focus on the lower body, such as walking, running, treadmill workouts, sports like soccer and basketball, step aerobics, cycling, and even dancing.
How to fix it with diet: Keeping estrogen low is essential, so consume organic, hormone-free foods as much as possible. A diet high in protein (50-75g) will help trigger the fat-burning hormones in your body. Also, eat organic food that is high in fat, mix in cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.), and stay away from soy. Be sure to keep sugary foods low.
Christine Fitzgerald is a two-time published author, a certified nutritionist, and holds a Master’s in Nutrition. Christine specializes in hormone education, testing, and balance; weight management; athletic performance; and recovery. She holds quarterly nutrition seminars across all ClubSport clubs, and Female Fat Loss Secrets is among them.