How To Reset Female Hormones For Weight Loss


How To Reset Female Hormones For Weight Loss Eating and exercising right is the best thing an individual can do to lose weight. But many times, it’s not enough. By resetting your female hormones can be achieved by doing a few simple steps. If a lack of sleep and poor dieting is causing you to gain weight, then read on for advice about which hormones affect metabolism.

Going on a diet allows you to lose weight in a healthy way. Once you get the results you want from the diet, it makes maintaining your weight easier than ever. Here are the benefits of loosing weight.

How To Reset Female Hormones For Weight Loss

Gynecologist Sara Gottfried, MD, created the Hormone Reset Diet with the aim of resetting metabolic hormones to encourage weight loss. The 21-day program is essentially an elimination diet that requires excluding meat, alcohol, fruit, grains, and dairy in an effort to correct hormonal imbalances.

What Experts Say

“The Hormone Reset Diet promises that you’ll lose 15 pounds in 21 days. This should be an immediate red flag that this is a fad diet, and any weight that is lost will likely be regained. Although the focus is on eating healthy foods, such as vegetables and protein, this diet plan is too low in calories for most people and will probably leave you feeling hungry. In addition, there is no clinical evidence to suggest that eliminating foods in a specific order can revamp your metabolism and help you lose weight.”

What You Can Eat

The main foods to eat on the Hormone Reset Diet include primarily whole foods with the exception of the food groups that are eliminated during each specific phase. The foods the diet includes (and excludes) and the phases of the diet are determined by the results of a quiz that claims to determine which hormonal imbalances you may have.


Aim to eat a pound or more of vegetables per day, sticking to less starchy, high fiber choices to stay under the required 99 grams of carbohydrates.

  • Asparagus
  • Leafy greens
  • Zucchini
  • Mushrooms
  • Bell peppers

Organic, Free-Range Eggs and Poultry

The Hormone Diet claims that non-organic, factory-produced eggs and poultry contain “toxins” that contribute to hormonal imbalance.

  • Poultry (organic and free-range chicken, turkey, duck)
  • Eggs (organic and free-range)

Wild-Caught Fish

Wild-caught fish is said to contain fewer “toxins” that interfere with hormone balance.

  • Salmon
  • Haddock
  • Halibut
  • Trout

Zero-Calorie Sweeteners

Plant-based sweeteners are thought to be more natural than artificial sweeteners. Sugar alcohols are low-calorie and sugar-free. They do not increase blood sugar and are approved for use on the Hormone Reset Diet.

  • Stevia
  • Erythritol

Which Hormones Affect Metabolism

Hormones are important substances that serve as chemical messengers in your body

They facilitate nearly every bodily process, including metabolism, hunger, and fullness. Because of their association with appetite, some hormones also play a significant role in body weight

Here are 9 hormones that may affect your weight, along with tips for keeping them at healthy levels.

Woman with dumbbells in gym header

1. Insulin

Insulin, the main storage hormone in your body, is produced by your pancreas. In healthy individuals, insulin promotes the storage of glucose — a simple sugar you get from food — in the muscle, liver, and fat cells for later use.

Your body secretes insulin in small amounts throughout the day and in larger amounts after meals. This hormone then transfers glucose from food into your cells for either energy or storage, depending on your body’s current needs.

Insulin resistance is a fairly common condition that causes your cells to stop responding to insulin. This condition results in high blood sugar because the insulin cannot move glucose into your cells

Your pancreas then produces even more insulin in an attempt to boost glucose absorption

Insulin resistance has been linked to obesity, which in turn can play a role in other conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease

Insulin sensitivity can be thought of as the opposite of insulin resistance. It means your cells are sensitive to insulin. Thus, it’s a good idea to focus on lifestyle habits that help improve insulin sensitivity, such as the following.

Tips to improve insulin sensitivity

  • Exercise regularly. Research supports exercise, at both high and moderate intensities, as a means of improving insulin sensitivity and decreasing insulin resistance
  • Improve your sleep habits. Not getting enough sleep, or not getting quality sleep, is linked to obesity and insulin resistance
  • Get more omega-3 fatty acids. Research indicates that omega-3 supplements may improve insulin sensitivity in people with metabolic conditions such as diabetes. If you aren’t a fan of supplements, try eating more fish, nuts, seeds, and plant oils
  • Change your diet. The Mediterranean diet — which includes many veggies, as well as healthy fats from nuts and extra-virgin olive oil — may help reduce insulin resistance. Decreasing your intake of saturated and trans fats may also help
  • Maintain a moderate weight. In people with overweight, healthy weight loss and weight management may improve insulin sensitivity
  • Focus on low glycemic carbs. Rather than try to eliminate carbs from your diet, aim to make most of them low glycemic and high fiber. Examples include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes


Insulin resistance is linked to chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. To promote insulin sensitivity, focus on regular exercise, a healthy diet, and better sleep habits.

2. Leptin

Leptin is a fullness hormone that works by telling your hypothalamus — the portion of your brain that regulates appetite — that you’re full

However, people with obesity may experience leptin resistance. This means the message to stop eating doesn’t reach your brain, eventually causing you to overeat

In turn, your body may produce even more leptin until your levels become elevated

The direct cause of leptin resistance is unclear, but it may be due to inflammation, gene mutations, and/or excessive leptin production, which can occur with obesity

Tips to improve leptin levels

Although no known treatment exists for leptin resistance, a few lifestyle changes may help lower leptin levels

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Because leptin resistance is associated with obesity, it’s important to maintain a healthy weight. Additionally, research suggests that a decrease in body fat may help reduce leptin levels
  • Improve your sleep quality. Leptin levels may be related to sleep quality in people with obesity. Although this association may not exist in people without obesity, there are numerous other reasons to get better sleep 
  • Exercise regularly. Research links regular, consistent exercise to a decrease in leptin levels


In people with obesity, resistance to the hormone leptin, which helps you feel full, may lead to overeating. Research suggests that exercising regularly, sleeping well, and maintaining a healthy body weight help lower leptin levels.

3. Ghrelin

Ghrelin is essentially the opposite of leptin. It’s the hunger hormone that sends a message to your hypothalamus indicating that your stomach is empty and needs food. Its main function is to increase appetite 

Normally, ghrelin levels are highest before eating and lowest after a meal

Curiously, research indicates that people with obesity have low ghrelin levels but are more sensitive to its effects. This sensitivity may lead to overeating

Tips to manage ghrelin levels

One reason weight loss can be difficult is that restricting calories often leads to increased ghrelin levels, leaving you hungry. Additionally, metabolism tends to slow down and leptin levels decrease

As such, here are some tips for lowering ghrelin to help reduce appetite:

  • Maintain a moderate body weight. Obesity may increase your sensitivity to ghrelin, ultimately increasing your appetite
  • Try to get good quality sleep. Poor sleep may lead to increases in ghrelin, overeating, and weight gain
  • Eat regularly. Because ghrelin levels are highest before a meal, listen to your body and eat when you’re hungry


People with obesity may become more sensitive to the effects of the hunger hormone ghrelin. Research suggests that maintaining a moderate body weight and prioritizing sleep help with managing this hormone.

4. Cortisol

Cortisol is known as the stress hormone and is produced by your adrenal glands.

During times of stress, this hormone triggers an increase in heart rate and energy levels. The release of cortisol — alongside the hormone adrenaline — is commonly called the “fight or flight” response

While it’s important for your to body release cortisol in dangerous situations, chronic high levels may lead to many health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, low energy levels, high blood pressure, sleep disturbances, and weight gain

Certain lifestyle factors — including poor sleep habits, chronic stress, and a high intake of high glycemic foods — may contribute to high cortisol levels

Plus, not only does obesity raise cortisol levels, but high levels may also cause weight gain, creating a negative feedback loop

Tips for lowering cortisol levels

Here are some lifestyle changes that may help manage cortisol levels:

  • Optimize sleep. Chronic sleep issues, including insomnia, sleep apnea, and irregular sleep habits (like those of shift workers), may contribute to high cortisol levels. Focus on developing a regular bedtime and sleep schedule
  • Exercise regularly. Cortisol levels temporarily increase after high intensity exercise, but regular exercise generally helps decrease levels by improving overall health and lowering stress levels
  • Practice mindfulness. Research suggests that regularly practicing mindfulness lowers cortisol levels, though more research is needed. Try adding meditation to your daily routine
  • Maintain a moderate body weight. Because obesity may increase cortisol levels and high cortisol levels can cause weight gain, maintaining a moderate weight may help keep levels in
  • Eat a balanced diet. Research has shown that diets high in added sugars, refined grains, and saturated fat may lead to higher cortisol levels. Additionally, following the Mediterranean diet may help lower cortisol levels


While cortisol is an important hormone, chronically high levels may lead to conditions such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, optimizing sleep, and practicing mindfulness may help lower your levels.

5. Estrogen

Estrogen is a sex hormone responsible for regulating the female reproductive system, as well as the immune, skeletal, and vascular systems

Levels of this hormone change during life stages such as pregnancy, nursing, and menopause, as well as throughout the menstrual cycle

High levels of estrogen, which are often seen in people with obesity, are associated with an increased risk of certain cancers and other chronic diseases

Conversely, low levels — typically seen with aging, perimenopause, and menopause — may affect body weight and body fat, therefore also increasing your risk of chronic ailments

Individuals with low estrogen levels often experience central obesity, which is an accumulation of weight around the trunk of the body. This can lead to other health problems, such as high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and heart disease

You can lower your risk of many of these health conditions through lifestyle changes — especially by maintaining a healthy body weight.

Tips to maintain healthy estrogen levels

To keep estrogen levels at a healthy equilibrium, try some of these techniques:

  • Try to manage your weight. Weight loss or maintenance may reduce the risk of heart disease due to low estrogen levels in women ages 55–75. Research also supports healthy weight maintenance for reducing your the of chronic diseases in general
  • Exercise regularly. Low estrogen levels may leave you feeling less capable of working out. Nonetheless, during periods of low estrogen output, such as menopause, regular exercise is still important to aid weight management
  • Follow a balanced diet. Diets high in red meat, processed foods, sweets, and refined grains have been shown to increase estrogen levels, which may raise your risk of chronic disease. As such, you may wish to limit your intake of these foods


Both high and low levels of the sex hormone estrogen may lead to weight gain and ultimately increase your risk of disease, so it’s important to maintain healthy lifestyle habits in order to keep these risks low.

The “Hormone Reset Diet” Can Help You Lose Stubborn Belly Fat

Mature woman stretching

Here’s a mind-bender: Being overweight often has nothing to do with calories or exercise. For a huge number of us, the problem is misfiring hormones. Research is still catching up with this paradigm shift, which has yet to be comprehensively studied. But seeing how this revelation has helped my patients and I slim down and feel better gives me confidence that it’s true for most women who are trying to lose weight and can’t. You already know about some weight-affecting hormone issues, like thyroid and insulin imbalances. But more subtle ones could also be keeping you from the body you want. Here are some other ways your hormones might be causing weight gain.

You’re consuming too much sugar.

I think of leptin as the hormone that says, “Darling, put down the fork.” Under normal circumstances, it’s released from your fat cells and travels in the blood to your brain, where it signals that you’re full. But leptin’s noble cause has been impeded by our consumption of a type of sugar called fructose, which is found in fruit and processed foods alike.

When you eat small amounts of fructose, you’re OK. But if you eat more than the recommended five daily servings of fruit (which in recent decades has been bred to contain more fructose than it used to)—plus processed foods with added sugar—your liver can’t deal with the fructose fast enough to use it as fuel. Instead, your body starts converting it into fats, sending them off into the bloodstream as triglycerides and depositing them in the liver and elsewhere in your belly.

As more fructose is converted to fat, your levels of leptin increase (because fat produces leptin). And when you have too much of any hormone circulating in your system, your body becomes resistant to its message. With leptin, that means your brain starts to miss the signal that you’re full. You continue to eat, and you keep gaining weight.

You’re super stressed.

The so-called stress hormone cortisol can create all kinds of trouble for women who want to shed weight. When cortisol rises, it encourages the conversion of blood sugar into fat for long-term storage. Hoarding body fat in this way was a useful survival adaptation for our ancestors when they faced stressful famines. But not so much today. Obviously, reducing stress in your life will help rein in this fat-storing hormone, but there’s another very common source of the problem: daily coffee, which elevates cortisol levels dramatically, causing your body to hoard fat when you least need to.

Your high estrogen levels are expanding your fat cells.

Although estrogen is responsible for making women uniquely women, it’s also the hormone that can be the most troublesome in the fat department. At normal levels, estrogen actually helps keep you lean by goosing the production of insulin, a hormone that manages blood sugar. When estrogen gets thrown off, though, it turns you into a weight-gain machine.

Here’s how: When you eat, your blood sugar rises. Like a bodyguard, insulin lowers it by escorting glucose into three different places in your body. When insulin is in good working form—not too high and not too low—it sends a small amount of glucose to your liver, a large amount to your muscles to use as fuel, and little to none for fat storage.

If you’re healthy and in good shape, your pancreas produces exactly the right amount of insulin to have your blood sugar softly rise and fall within a narrow range (fasting levels of 70 to 85 mg/dl). But when your estrogen levels climb, the cells that produce insulin become strained, and you can become insulin resistant.

That’s when insulin starts to usher less glucose to the liver and muscles, raising the levels of sugar in your bloodstream and ultimately storing the glucose as fat. Your fat tissue can expand by as much as four times to accommodate the storage of glucose.

How do estrogen levels climb, exactly? Meat is one of the primary reasons. You take in a lot less fiber when you eat meat. Research suggests that vegetarians get more than twice as much fiber as omnivores. Because fiber helps us stay regular, and we process excess estrogen through our waste, eating less fiber drives up our estrogen.

Meat also contains a type of fat with its own estrogen problem. Conventionally raised farm animals are overloaded with steroids, antibiotics, and toxins from their feed and the way they’ve been raised. When you eat them, those substances are released into your system. They can behave like estrogen in the body, adding to your overload.

Your low testosterone levels are slowing down your metabolism.

You are confronted with an astounding number of toxins each day, including pesticides, herbicides, genetically modified foods, and about six different synthetic hormones in meat. Toxins are lurking in face creams, prescription drugs, processed foods, your lipstick, the linings of tuna fish cans, the fire-retardant materials in couches, and even the air you breathe. The list goes on.

Many types of these toxins, such as pesticides, plastics, and industrial chemicals, behave like estrogen when absorbed in the body. Experts believe that our increasing exposure to toxins helps explain why so many girls are entering puberty earlier and why many boys exhibit feminine characteristics such as developing breasts. Xeno-estrogens, as these particular toxins are called, have been associated with an elevated risk of estrogen-driven diseases like breast and ovarian cancers and endometriosis.


1. Helps regulate blood sugar and diabetes

Losing weight improves insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes, says Preeti Pusalkar, a certified clinical nutritionist with Hudson Medical Center, a primary care provider in New York City. 

Excess body fat leads to an increase in adipose tissue, which causes inflammation and interferes with the function of insulin — the hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels. 

Weight loss reduces adipose tissue, which allows the body to manage blood sugar more effectively. Plus, you don’t have to lose that much weight to see results. Research has found that just a 5% reduction in body weight improved blood sugar levels in adults. 

2. Improved heart health 

Losing weight can also improve heart health by reducing pressure on arteries, meaning the heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood through the body. The result is lower blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels — the “bad” kind of cholesterol that can increase your risk of heart disease, Pusalkar says. 

And it doesn’t matter if you lose weight through diet and exercise or weight-loss surgery like metabolic surgery — you’ll reap benefits regardless, according to a large 2020 study.  

Researchers examined the effects of weight loss surgery on obese patients who either had weight loss surgery or who lost weight through lifestyle changes. The risk of heart disease for the surgical group decreased after a 5% to 10% loss of body weight while the nonsurgical group saw a decrease after losing about 20% of body weight. 

3. Decreased risk of stroke 

Excess weight can increase blood pressure, and therefore your risk of stroke. This is because high blood pressure puts a strain on your blood vessels, making them stiffer and more likely to cause blood to clot. 

“Losing weight helps improve the efficiency of the heart due to less constricted blood vessels,” Pusalkar says. 

4. Better sleep 

Overweight people are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea — a disorder characterized by disrupted breathing while sleeping. Excess weight can increase fat deposits in your neck, which can obstruct your airways. 

If you suffer from sleep apnea, losing weight likely won’t entirely cure the condition. However, losing just 10% to 15% of your body weight can improve sleep quality and reduce the severity of sleep apnea in moderately obese patients, according to the National Sleep Foundation. 

5. Improved mobility 

Losing weight alleviates pressure on knees and joints, which can improve mobility, Pusalkar says. A large 2012 study of obese adults with type 2 diabetes found as little as a 1% drop in weight cut mobility limitations, such as difficulty walking or climbing stairs, by more than 7%. 

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