7 Sexy Hormone Tune-Ups For Lasting Weight Loss

April 30, 2015
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

Fast Fixes For Hormone Repair

“I can’t lose weight because my hormones are out of whack.”

I hear this day in and out from nearly all of my female clients.  Women suffering from fatty liver, prediabetes, high cholesterol, gallbladder problems, and depression feel powerless in their struggle to lose weight and feel healthy.

Hormonal imbalance has long been to blame for unexplained weight gain.  As we age, many factors can upset the delicate balance between our hormones.

Why is it then, after addressing these factors, some of us still have difficulty losing weight?

Why Hormones Need To Be Reset

It’s simple.  Every hormone is a key that must turn a lock in order to be effective.  These “locks” are called receptor sites.   Inflammation—from a variety of seemingly unrelated factors—can alter the shape of our receptors, making our hormonal “keys” ineffective.

Here are the hidden sources that can clog up receptor sites and “gum up” your system:

  • Constant exposure to xenoestrogens (estrogen mimics) in our diet, environment, and even our personal care products
  • Sugar, alcohol and caffeine intake (coffee, black tea, green tea, and white tea)
  • High fructose intake (even from natural foods like unsweetened applesauce and tomatoes)
  • Stress, EMFs (electromagnetic frequencies) and sleep deprivation
  • “Grain Drain” from wheat, rye, barley, and corn based products (which are usually genetically modified, to add insult to injury)
  • Meat, dairy and eggs from animals treated with growth hormones

Your Personal Hormone Tune-Up

By making a few tweaks in your daily routine you can easily re-shape your receptors for a personal hormone tune-up, resulting in lasting weight control and well-being.

Estrogen is the ultimate hormone magnet for sodium and fat.  When out of balance with its sister hormone progesterone, estrogen dominance creates an increase in water retention, migraines, memory lapses, and will promote fat storage around hips and thighs.  It can even accelerate aging!

Tune-Up Tricks For Clean Estrogen Receptors

  • Topical Progesterone crème can help offset estrogen dominance.
  • Reduce copper-rich foods like chocolate, nuts and seeds, soy, avocados, and shell fish. Copper is closely associated with estrogen, so women using copper IUDs or birth control pills are at high risk for estrogen dominance.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly to remove estrogen-mimicking pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides.
  • Do not re-heat food in plastic containers, and choose a water bottle made of glass or stainless steel rather than plastic.
  • Avoid personal care products that include endocrine disruptors like parabens and phthalates.
  • Sweep away excess estrogen by using two tablespoons of lignan-rich toasted cold milled flax seeds each day, sprinkled on your food or blended in smoothies.
  • Season soup, stew, chili or other bean dishes with 2-3 cardamom seeds. Cardamom is a digestive aid with the unique ability to cleanse and detoxify the liver, which is essential for hormone balancing.
  • Optimize estrogen metabolism by supplementing with DIM (diindolylmethane).  Take 100 mg twice daily with meals.

Insulin levels skyrocket with excessive intake of sugar, alcohol, and caffeine.  Meals that are not properly balanced with blood sugar-stabilizing protein and fat also spike insulin, overwhelming receptor sites and triggering fat storage. When receptors are blocked or already saturated, insulin resistance occurs, giving rise to metabolic syndrome and contributing to high blood sugar and elevated triglycerides.

If weight gain, cravings for sugar, intense hunger, feeling frequently hungry, difficulty concentrating, feeling anxious or panicky, lacking focus or motivation, fatigue are your major symptoms, then it is time to clean up your insulin receptor sites.

Tune-Up Tricks For Clean Insulin Receptors

  • Sip on a glass of water with 1 teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar during each meal. The acidity of ACV slows the digestion of carbohydrates and can lower blood sugar by as much as 30%!
  • Enjoy hot lemon water first thing in the morning in place of one of your cups of coffee. Coffee consumption while fasting is associated with increased fasting insulin concentration and decreased insulin sensitivity, as determined by The American Diabetes Association.
  • Supplement with chromium, which is a key mineral for blood sugar regulation and is commonly deficient in our diet. The UNI KEY Weight Loss Formula contains 400 mcg of chromium, your body’s transport mechanism to enable insulin to work quickly and more efficiently.
  • Use stevia in place of sugar in beverages, smoothies, and baking. Stevia is a naturally sweet-tasting herb that does not cause an increase in blood sugar.
  • Season your food liberally with cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, and coriander—which are all proven to help your body metabolize sugar.

Leptin is the hormone of satiety. If you never feel satisfied after a meal, then clogged leptin receptors is likely your problem.  Levels soar when you’re eating high amounts of fructose and not enough essential and healthy fats. Receptors are never able clear out.

Tune-Up Tricks For Clean Leptin Receptors

  • Avoid foods high in fructose, which stimulate the appetite. Obvious offenders are processed foods and drinks that contain high fructose corn syrup.  Less obvious are natural foods like tomatoes, unsweetened apple sauce, and agave.  Fat free salad dressings, ketchup and barbeque sauces pack an unsuspected punch as well.
  • Eat protein within 30 minutes of waking. Enjoy a plant-based protein smoothie as a clinically proven way of clearing out leptin receptors and promoting satiety.
  • Reactivate leptin receptor sensitivity by including omega fatty acids 3, 6, and 9 in your diet. Black currant seed oil offers an unparalleled combination of these essential fats that increase metabolism, fight inflammation, and add luster to hair, skin, and fingernails.

Fat-promoting Cortisol is activated by stress, EMF exposure, and sleep deprivation.  Just one night of poor sleep can raise cortisol by 45%!  A stressful conversation at work is enough to overload cortisol receptors within minutes, and 24/7 use of wireless devices add insult to injury by ramping up cortisol production, with the creation of over 20 heat-shock proteins.  Excess circulating cortisol is responsible for weight gain around the midsection, low immunity, salt and sugar cravings, tissue destruction and inflammation—all of which begin a vicious cycle that can quickly lead to adrenal burnout.

Tune-Up Tricks For Clean Cortisol Receptors

  • Treat yourself with coffee whipped up with 1 tablespoon each of coconut oil and vanilla whey protein. Black coffee on an empty stomach tanks blood sugar, which sends cortisol levels through the roof.  Blending with a little healthy fat and protein, however, can prevent the cortisol spike.
  • Practice yoga and meditation. These stress-relieving activities are proven to lower cortisol.
  • Put down electronics one hour before bed. EMFs affect the body on a biological level, raising cortisol.  To wind down and promote restful sleep, disable your wireless router, switch mobile devices into airplane mode, and read a book instead of watching TV.

Your thyroid is a key metabolic driver.  When it is under-active, you’ll be experiencing fatigue, joint pain, depression, impaired memory, constipation, cold hands and feet, dry skin, hair loss, and weak fingernails.

Tune-Up Tricks For Clean Thyroid Hormone Receptors

  • Go grain free. Many grains contain gluten- a type of protein that looks so similar to thyroid hormone that it can actually trick our bodies into producing less of this critical hormone.  Eliminate gluten containing grains from your diet to naturally reset thyroid hormone production. Wheat, rye, spelt, kamut, couscous, oats, triticale and barley should be avoided.  Gluten free alternatives are millet, brown or wild rice, taro, teff, buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth.  Instead of flour, consider using arrowroot or tapioca for thickening.
  • Cook with coconut oil. This healthy fat is a rich source of medium chain fatty acids that improve the efficiency of your thyroid and boost metabolism by 56%!
  • Get tested. Ask your doctor to order a comprehensive thyroid test that evaluates TSH, Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, and thyroid antibodies.  Keep in mind that “normal” values for these hormones are not always the optimal level for your unique biochemistry.  I like to see T3 at the upper quarter of the normal range.

Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is not only a key player adolescent development- it plays a crucial role in bone remodeling, cardiovascular protection, and body composition as we age.  Too bad that once you turn 40, HGH production decreases by 14% every decade!  The issue is further complicated by exogenous sources of HGH in meat, dairy, and eggs treated with growth hormone rBST.  This unnatural hormone exposure can fool our bodies into producing less of our own bioavailable HGH.  Symptoms of low HGH include muscle loss, high body fat percentage, anxiety, depression, low libido, and high blood pressure.

Tune-Up Tricks For Clean HGH Receptors

  • Eat Montmorency tart cherries—a naturally rich source of melatonin. Italian researchers discovered a 157% increase in HGH levels when study participants took 5 mg of melatonin at night before bed.  I encourage my clients to sip on ¼ cup tart cherry juice diluted with 1 cup of water between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.
  • Adopt an interval training exercise program. Alternate short periods of high intensity activity with longer periods of low to moderately intense activity for a surefire way to increase HGH production by more than 500%!
  • Ground yourself. The revolutionary Earthing technology naturally raises melatonin levels while simultaneously lowering cortisol and eliminating inflammation.
  • Eliminate dairy. While most milk labels assure that cows were not treated with rBST, many other dairy products are not able to make this claim—think butter, sour cream, cheese, yogurt, coffee creamer, etc.  Keep the synthetic HGH out of your diet!
  • Choose only organic meat and eggs. USDA organic standards prevent the use of growth hormone in animals.

The Daily Detox

Fat stores more than just excess weight—toxins of all types are stored in fat, too.  Heavy metals, chemicals, drug residues, and excess hormones are sequestered in our fat cells as a method of protection, so as we burn fat and lose weight many toxins are released into circulation in our bodies.

Since we can’t just let those toxins circulate, it’s crucial to have tried-and-true detoxifiers to bind with and eliminate these dangerous compounds.  Incorporate as many of the following finale “tune-ups” to ensure a thorough hormone and weight loss makeover!

  • Soak in a luxurious detox bath once or twice per week. Add 2 cups baking soda and 2 cups sea salt to a hot bath and relax until that water cools.  Towel off and do not rinse for 4 hours.  The initial hot water brings toxins to the surface of the skin.  As the water cools, osmosis draws toxins away from the heat of the body and into the cooling water.  This is especially good to alleviate jet-lag and radiation-related fatigue.
  • Cleanse with Liver Lovin’ Formula, which contains taurine used by the liver to produce bile- a necessity for the conjugation and removal of heavy metals, chlorine, aldehydes, petroleum solvents, alcohol, and ammonia.
  • Drink ½ of your body weight in ounces of water each day, including cranwater in the mix! Cranwater and pure water are essential to keeping your lymph flowing, which is a main means of toxin removal.
  • Fiber up with flax and chia seeds. Their soluble and insoluble fiber ensures toxins that are dumped into the digestive tract are bound and promptly eliminated.  Flax and chia seeds are wonderfully detoxifying in this way, so try incorporating 2-4 tablespoons per day into your diet.
  • Try activated charcoal, which uses the principle of adsorption to soak up toxins in the stomach- like a sponge soaking up water.

Have you experienced road blocks in your weight loss due to hormone imbalance?  Please share your story in the comment section below!

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Lisa

    The information in this blog is so helpful in explaining why it is not enough to just have the right amount of hormones available, the hormones need to be able to be used by the body. Your clean-up suggestions are so easily doable.Thank you Ann Louise.

  2. Margaret

    Well I can’t prove my hormone imbalance with testing, but I was experiencing all those symptoms of Thyroid and Cortisol imbalance. I have been doing most of those fixes described since December 28th: eating no hormone meat and poultry, organic or clean 15 veggie choices, stir in 2 tbs of organic coconut oil into my coffee, cut out grains, most added sugar and alcohol. I am down 30 ugly pounds that had over the past 5 just glued themselves centrally. And my energy has returned, I was so lethargic before, always tired. Thank you for putting this article together in one place. This is so on target I will bring a copy to my GP and GYN, so they’ll have something to hand other female patients instead of just suggesting that they lose 10% body weight.

    • Team ALG

      That is so fantastic to hear, Margaret! What an accomplishment 🙂 For the tricky “final 5” you might try adding some glandular supports for either thyroid or adrenal or both! Call UNI KEY to discuss your options- 1.800.888.4353

  3. Sarah

    What kind of sea salt for the detox bath? Would Epsom salt work?

    • Team ALG

      Regular salt will do fine. Epsom is okay, too, but generally used for different protocols.

  4. Cherly

    All great info…thank you so much!

  5. Anna

    Great article. Thank you.

  6. Susan

    Thank you so much for this info.
    I came home from vacation so ready to pick up my Fat Flush book and try to incorporate the principles back into my life. I have 8 Children, aged 25-11. After my last baby, I found FF, and in 3 months lost all pregnancy weight and was thinner than I had ever been. I got off the track on a thanksgiving when my baby was 7 months old and slowly gained a little back. 6 years ago, at age 39, we moved and my life seemed to be assaulted on many levels. My health started failing, I had an unnecessary gall bladder operation, and then was sick every three months with a respiratory illness. Went thru unbelievable stress with marriage and 4 teens, and packed on 25 lbs. Over last two years I have continued to gain 10 more lbs. I am moderately disciplined in eating. Avoid grains and sugar most days. I use progesterone cream from day 8. I have been hypothyroid for 14 years, when I was diagnosed with Hashimotos. I take 125-250 mcg of levoxyl a day or every other day.
    I live a very stressful life, but wrk out hard 2-3xs a week. I drink two cups of coffee with coconut oil day.
    I’m very desperate. Hitting 46 next month and heavier than I have ever been in my life. Please help.

    • Team ALG

      Try adding Cholacol to supplement bile acids that you are lacking due to gallbladder removal. This, along with lipase, will help fat metabolism. Reduce the intensity of your workouts to lessen the strain on your adrenals, and try following the Fat Flush Plan. Thousands of women in similar circumstances have been successful with these strategies! Best wishes

  7. Marlynn

    Hesitantly clicked on this link thinking it was another sneaky add for Garcinia. So glad I gave in and clicked on it. I think, I hope, I have found something that might help me! I have gained 80 pounds after back surgery 10 years ago, and still have difficulty working out do to back spasms, tendonitis, carpal tunnel, & now “arthritis” in knees, hips, & elbows (could it just be a toxic inflammation?). That pretty much covers every part of me that would be included in a workout session. Just so tired of hearing “If you would just put down the fork” diet advice from people who eat far more calories than I do & have never had a weight problem. Sounds like things have just gotten blocked inside my cells and are continuing to gather and save every possible negative thing that I’ve been trying to get rid of for years! If I could get rid of the pain/swelling in my joints and stop the spasms, I think my energy would go up some and I would be able to move around more easily and more often, then maybe that would even be enough to help this body breaking weight come off. Thank you for this info!

  8. Lisa

    I have been having a hard time losing weight. I’ve tried shots. And diet pills. I have no energy and lots of fatigue. I’m almost giving up hope. Please help

    • Team ALG

      Hi Lisa, Check out the Fat Flush Plan by Ann Louise Gittleman!

  9. Mary

    I have been using Estroven to help with my Menopause symptoms and fatigue. Do you recommend this or should I use the progesterone creme with it?

    • AnnLouise

      We believe the progesterone creme should always be used when taking any time of estrogen – bioidentical or otherwise…

  10. Sofia page

    I have tried the progesterone cream along with dim and the liver cleanse and have gained 6 lbs. is it the combination?

    • Team ALG

      Sofia, it sounds like you could still have some hormone imbalance going on and possibly you are holding water. It would be helpful if you could do a Salivary Hormone Test to find out where your levels are so you could know exactly what to take to balance them. https://www.unikeyhealth.com/salivary-hormone-test

  11. Cheryl S

    I would like to add tart cherry juice to my day, but my main goal is keeping my insulin from spiking. I know tart cherries have a low GI, but how about the juice? It has a lot of carbs, but how about the GI? Thank you!

  12. Andrea Cagney

    What exactly is estrogen dominance?

    • Team ALG

      Andrea, when the amount of estrogen in your body is higher than progesterone you can experience hormonal imbalance symptoms like PMS, depression, fat gain, fatigue, foggy thinking, headaches, infertility and bone loss.

  13. Malini

    Great informative article. Thanks!!! I can’t seem to get my progesterone up. Been on bioidentical progesterone for over a year. I have all the symptoms of estrogen dominance. Also my digestive system doesn’t work naturally. I’m in menopause for almost 2 years.

  14. Natasha

    I have PCOS, endometriosis and adenoymosis. I have always been super active in my lifestyle but have always struggled with my weight. I am 5′, 4″ 1/2. (Size 8-10) and weigh between 140-155 almost always; even when I was a soldier and running 8 miles a day. I lift weights and have a lot of muscle but my body fat is much higher than it should be. My diet consists of no dairy products, tons of veggies (VitaMix every morning), almonds, walnuts, coconut/olive oul/grape seed oil, eggs, steel cut oats, no soda, 1 cup of coffee per day (with cocobut oil), very little bread or simple carbs (almost none), lemon water in the morning before my spinach/celery/fresh ginger/coconut water/frozen pineapple/banana smoothie, fresh and limited processed foods for dinners. We do not buy everything Organic for financial reasons. I am not a t.v. watcher, I work full time a job that is highly active (teaching Sped), and I do not snack. I had a hysterectomy last winter and take DIM every day. I also take Ox Bile (had gallbladder removed), fish oil, pre and probiotics, glucosamine and daily vitamin. Our water source is high in copper so we filter it. I can’t shed a poynd tegardless of what I do and since my hysterectomy I have gained 8 lbs in 3 weeks from my 8 week post-op point. Totally crazy because I am always hyper and on the go and I have struggled with CDiff since my surgery. Everyone typically loses mass weight with C. Diff and I have gained 8 lbs. Please, suggest something that I may be missing.

    • Team ALG

      Natasha, I hope you have gotten the C diff under control with S. boulardii, a type of yeast, to be used with an antibiotic. You may have a progesterone imbalance. I’d suggest taking the Salivary Hormone Test to find out where your levels of the steroid are. The test comes with a letter of recommendations from Ann Louise with suggestions to rebalance them. https://unikeyhealth.com/products/salivary-hormone-test



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