Let’s Choose Sanity, and Ignore the Magazines

It’s the end of February and while it’s still deep winter in many parts of the country, here in California we’ve had just enough sunny days to remind us that spring is coming.

And with spring comes summer.
And with summer comes…swimsuits.
Are you reaching for a puffy jacket right now too?

I wish that this season, instead of magazines full of ads for “bikini-body diet!” and “beach-bod workouts” publications were pushing “oxytocin-boosting practices!” and “novel ways to love up your cortisol!” When it comes to effective weight loss, most magazines have it all wrong.

Here are five of the best weight loss tips I learned while researching hormones and working to balance my own.

1. There Are No Healthy Weight Loss Pills or Injections

Not long ago, The New York Times ran an article about women injecting themselves with the pregnancy hormone hCG in order to lose weight. As a gynecologist and a woman, I’m fully aware of people trying to inject themselves to thinness. But it stunned me to see the fad had reached a fever pitch—that women will pay thousands of dollars to “treat” symptoms of what are, in truth, hormone imbalances, emotional eating patterns, and nutrition problems with a shot of pregnancy hormone. In my humble medical opinion, this is absurd.

2. Bad Stress Creates Belly Fat

Hormones, specifically thyroid and cortisol, can wreak havoc on a metabolism when they’re unbalanced. Elevated cortisol has been shown to increase hard-to-lose belly fat and slow down metabolism. Your problem may not be your diet or your exercise routine: it may be how you’re handling stress.

3. Mindfulness = Fullness

Rushing from one task to another makes it difficult to make a home-cooked meal, let alone sit down and enjoy it. However, being aware of what and how much we eat can make all the difference when it comes to weight loss. Track what you eat: every meal, every snack, every handful of M&Ms. Smell your food. Chew slowly. Channel Dean Ornish, and chew each bite 30 times. You’ll notice your satiety much more effectively.

4. Small Goals Make a Big Difference

Rather than say you’re going to lose 30 pounds, break your goal into smaller increments, like losing 1 pound per week. Smaller, more manageable goals have been proven to be more effective. This is basic change management.

5. Work It, Girl

Move more. Walk 10,000 steps per day. This may look like a big number, but it’s surprisingly achievable. Setting the goal to walk 10,000 steps will motivate you to get up and move around, even if you don’t make it to 10,000.

Take a deep breath, pass on the comfort food, and take the stairs. You’ll be ready for that cute suit this summer – I know it. And here’s one more tip once bikini season is in full swing:

Confidence is the sexiest accessory of all.

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