I am doing everything right. I eat right and exercise. And I still can’t lose weight no matter what I do! I feel your frustration.

The first thing I am going to do is look at your hormones. The first hormone I will look at is your cortisol and adrenal function. How are you sleeping? Do you sleep through the night and sleep soundly? How is your level of stress? Belly fat is typical of high cortisol levels. The stress response is necessary when coming face to face with a lion and your fight-or-flight response kicks in. But most of us are not in that situation. Our stressors are running to work so we get there on time, meeting our deadlines, etc. These are not life or death situations but our body responds as if they were because of the way we perceive stress. When we are under constant stress our cortisol levels stay high and eventually overwork our adrenals which have to keep producing these high levels of cortisol. Eventually our adrenals can’t keep up with the demand and are unable to keep up. That’s when we start feeling extreme fatigue and have disrupted sleep.

The stress response is supposed to allow us to escape danger. So high levels of cortisol disrupt insulin function allowing glucose to stay in our blood stream to give us energy to run from that lion that is about to eat us. It is a vasoconstrictor which means it raises blood pressure. It also decreases immune function. It basically inhibits other functions of the body including digestion to shuttle all your energy into fight-or-flight.

If you live a stressful life it is going to be hard to lose that weight. We need to remember that our stress response is due to our perception of stress. Planning and organization go a long way to relieving stress as does meditation and taking time out for you!

The next thing I’m going to look at is your thyroid. Usually when your hormones are off, all your hormones are probably not working optimally. Are you getting the correct iodine? If you are using iodized salt that will be the first thing to go. Switch to using sea salt which contains many trace minerals including natural iodine from the sea. You can also add seaweed and seafood which also contain natural iodine.

Finally, I’m going to address the leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone produced by your fat cells to tell your brain that your fat storage is adequate so no need to store more fat. Unfortunately, your fat cells also produce inflammatory chemicals. Inflammation cause a break in the signal from your fat cells to your brain. To fix this you need to increase eating healthy fats and stop eating sugar and grains.

Then, of course, we would need to tweak your plan to fit your lifestyle and goals, and any other health issues you’ve got going on. But the big message here is to not beat yourself up. It is absolutely not about willpower!! It’s about your hormones. And it can be fixed.