Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD
Weight loss programs that fail to address hormones in women will fail women!
Naturopathy can work very well for weight loss when we can take the time to analyze nutrition, metabolism, hormones, and vitamins that can impact weight.
This is why weight loss for women can be tricky very tricky. Since women experience hormone imbalance and constantly fluctuating hormones every month with PMS, as well as in their 40's and 50's with perimenopause and menopause it is important we rule out hormonal causes.
As a thyroid specialist, I often see thyroid disease causing weight gain, and weight loss, but in women we MUST address all of the other hormones in the "hormone spider web" for a woman to feel properly balanced, healthy, and fit.
If we have a weakness in one part of the web it will impact the stability of the rest of the web.
The impact of estrogen deficiency that suddenly occurs in Menopause, can impact the rest of the hormone web and cause weakness in the thyroid, which is why it is imperative for women to have their thyroids checked when they are perimenopausal and menopausal in their 40's and 50's.
The average age of menopause is 51, and perimenopause generally starts the 10 years prior to menopause. Women that enter menopause at 45 will generally exhibit signs of hormone imbalance earlier, in their 30's. Premature Ovarian Failure occurs when women become menopausal sooner than age 40.
Menopause can also impact the adrenal glands in our spider web model. When the ovaries cease to produce estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, the adrenal glands become the sole source of hormone production. The hormones DHEA, and cortisol can begin to become deficient in menopause or sooner if their is "Chronic Stress."
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue can cause insomnia, joint pain, stiffness, moodiness, anxiety, depression, and a general blah unmotivated feeling where my patient has become flat and lost their zest for life.
The adrenals and the thyroid also interact with each other and when the adrenals become fatigued and cease to produce hormones that can impact the thyroid gland and tax it further. And vice versa. This is what is going on behind the scenes with many of my weight gain patient's labs.
It is not just always about the Thyroid! We must address our entire "Metabolic Web of Hormones." Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto's, Insulin Resistance, and Adrenal Fatigue can also cause women to gain weight.
Testosterone deficiency occurs for most women around the age of 35, this is why our metabolisms slow down when we lose our lean muscle mass with menopause. Each year our metabolism goes down further as we lose our female hormones. Transitioning through perimenopause and menopause also causes the body to become more inflamed and Insulin Resistant. Insulin is the "Weight Gain Hormone," that causes women to gain weight despite following the same diet and exercise regime in their 20's.
"I am doing everything the same, I am not cheating." I commonly hear women complain as they continue to gain weight and cannot figure out why. Most women that are over-weight have insulin resistance and need supplements to address and correct this blood sugar disorder that is common in women with PCOS.
The good news is that by addressing female hormone imbalance, and implementing the following Naturopathic weight loss program I will review today, I do see many cases of stubborn hormonal weight gain finally release!
While I am happy to order hormones and correct hormone imbalance as a holistic hormone doctor, please do not enroll in my practice for weight loss if you cannot make any dietary changes.
I understand it is hard, and I struggle with it myself and do not always eat perfectly, I do cheat every single weekend. Realistically Naturopathic Medicine always fails my patients that cannot make any dietary changes and consistently take supplements for about 3-6 months.
This is why I like to provide patients this over-view of how Naturopathic Medicine works or doesn't work for weight loss so they know whether or not they are going to be able to do it with me! If you
We need to treat the hormone imbalance primarily with herbs and supplements. Herbal medicine takes time to work, most women only can lose one pound per week and need to be patient. If you have 50 pounds to lose as a woman, that is a year of hard work you need to mentally commit to doing for success.
Occasionally Bioidentical Hormones are needed but most women have weight gain issues from excessive amounts of hormones that need to be detoxified. But most of what I do for women and weight loss does involve making dietary changes and taking supplements. So I don't want anyone to enroll in my practice that is not going to be able to do what it takes to lose weight.
If you struggle with eating the right foods you need to go to counseling to figure out why you don't want to take care of yourself. It is a self love thing for many patients, and we all have so many food triggers and food rewards built in to our brains, counseling can help untangle poor decision patterns.
My service is for people that want answers they can apply to be more successful with the healthy things they are already doing for their body. My most successful patients want as much information as possible to somewhat "hack everything."
There is no cheating the system. In order to lose weight, one must follow the basic laws of physiology that you must consume fewer calories than you burn each day.
Or alternatively, you must burn more calories from exercise than you consume. Addressing the underlying causes behind poor eating and lifestyle habits is the ONLY way to ensure a healthy and long-term approach to weight loss.
The best approach to weight loss emphasizes lifestyle changes that incorporate whole foods and activity. It is our belief that sustainable changes in dietary and activity patterns can lead to maintainable, long-term weight loss success.
Physical activity guidelines are recommended to complement the nutrition counseling and make this process easier and more productive.
While each person has different needs and will require a custom tailored dietary program, there are some basic concepts that are helpful for most people. A health promoting, weight control diet will be:
• HIGH in fiber-dense carbohydrates found in whole grains, beans, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Also, it is important to drink plenty of water= 60-80oz daily + 8 oz per "vice" of alcohol or caffeine and more water if you are exercising.
• MODERATE in fish and chemical-free lean meats (chicken, and turkey).
• LOW in red meat, animal fats, hydrogenated oils, full-fat dairy products, pre-packaged, processed, and refined foods, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine.
• Set a realistic weight loss goal, usually 1 to 2 pounds per week is recommended.
• Balance food intake with activity. The most successful weight loss programs combine increased activity with decreased caloric intake.
Tips to Increase the Amount of Physical Activity in a Day:
• Try some group activity classes at the local gym, fitness center, or swimming pool.
• Work out with family, friends, or neighbors. Motivation is increased with partners.
• Take a walk at lunchtime.
• Use a bike to run local errands and go for pleasure rides.
• Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
• Walk to the bus stop or work
• Park the car a few blocks away and walk.
• Dance to some favorite music at home or sign-up for a series of classes.
Tips to Reduce the Quantity of Food Eaten:
• Plan and prepare meals ahead of time.
• Identify foods that are often over consumed and set limits, or avoid.
• Identify and limit problem foods.
• Eat small, frequent meals and healthful snacks.
• Eat slowly and savor each mouthful. Allow 20-30 minutes for each meal, rest, set the fork down, and/or converse between bites. Chew the food well.
• Wait 10-15 minutes before taking a second helping.
• Serve food on a smaller plate.
• Drink two glasses of water or a cup of hot tea 30 minutes before meals to reduce appetite.
• Postpone a desired snack for at least 10 minutes. It may be helpful to take a walk, get some fresh air, drink a cup of water or tea, or take a short nap during this time.
• At restaurants eat half of the portion and take the rest home. Prepackage the food to go before starting the meal.
• Nurture with nonfood related activities, such as a hot bubble bath or a massage, developing a hobby, relaxing with a good book, or listening to some music.
Tips to Eliminate Eating Cues that Promote Overeating:
• Designate a specific place in the home to eat, preferably the kitchen or dining room. Eat snacks and meals only when sitting down at this place.
• Avoid watching TV, talking on the phone, reading, or driving while eating. This will help increase the awareness of fullness.
• Do the grocery shopping on a full stomach to decrease impulse buys.
• Create a schedule for eating. Plan meals and snacks at regular intervals, including the types of food to be eaten.
• Carry food to work or when going out, to eliminate long periods without eating.
• To prevent visual food distractions, keep all food stored in the kitchen cupboards or refrigerator, rather than out on the counter.
• Read or listen to motivational books, join a support group, or consider seeing a therapist to help with any emotional issues involving food, eating, and/or weight loss.
Diet, activity, and emotional work can provide feelings of health and wellness, which establish new patterns that support and nurture the body.
Think well! Eat well! Be well!
If you need my help with weight loss and helping to figure out what is causing your personal hormone imbalance that is impacting your metabolism, I would be happy to help! Please do not sign up for Naturopathic services if you cannot make diet changes and take supplements. If you can commit to making gradual changes I would be happy to help you. Simply pop over to my SCHEDULE page to treat yourself to a Naturopathic visit!
Dr. Nicole Sundene
Dr. Sundene is a Naturopathic Doctor in Scottsdale, Arizona, and is a Female Hormone Expert in Women's Health and Bioidentical Hormones. She specializes in Holistic Women's Health for Menopause, Thyroid, Hashimotos, PMS, Perimenopause, Autoimmune, Postpartum, Chronic Fatigue, Depression, Anxiety, Food Allergies, Digestion, Dermatology, Acne, Psoriasis, Eczema, and Adrenal Hormonal Conditions. In 1999 she began working for a Hormone Doctor prior to starting Naturopathic Medical School. With over 23 years of experience in both Prescription and Natural women's health and hormones, she presents to women the best-integrated health solutions for their Chronic Disease.
She has been an Herbalist for over 28 years and enjoys teaching women how to use herbs to balance their hormones, nutrition and optimize their health. Dr. Sundene relies on blood testing for her hormone metrics. The hormone testing is covered per the patient's insurance plan (not Medicaid) and conducted at certain points in the woman's menstrual cycle. To learn more about Hormone Testing for Women Visit: Bioidentical Hormones. Follow Dr. Sundene on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for more tips on Women's Health, Female Hormones, and Naturopathy!