Female fat loss can be a frustrating business. You’ve been attending the gym regularly, maybe even working with a personal trainer (Editor’s note – warning, not all personal trainers are created equally!) sticking to a strict fat loss meal plan and avoiding those nights out with the girls. Your tummy feels tighter, clothes feel looser but there is one problem, you’re not losing lower body fat.
If this sounds all too familiar then don’t fear as there is an explanation for the vagaries of female fat loss and several ways to tackle this problem often referred to as estrogen dominance.
How is Estrogen related to lower body fat?
The legs, mainly the thighs, have a large number of estrogen receptors which bind with high affinity to estrogens. When too many poor food and lifestyle choices occur over a period of time there is an increase in the fat storing form of Estrogen known as Estradiol. This hormonal imbalance can create a large amount of fat storage around the thighs, hips and bum.
Below are five top tips to help budge estrogen induced stubborn lower body fat:
1. Refined carbohydrates/sugar – although this should be the first steps in any fat loss diet plan, it is especially important when it comes to losing lower body fat, as sugars increase the aromatase enzyme which role is to convert testosterone (yes ladies you do have some) into estradiol (the fat storing estrogen) thereby increasing lower body fat. As well as allowing you to balance your blood sugar levels and control cravings, refined carbohydrates must be the first thing you eliminate if fat loss is your priority.
2. Digestive support – before I continue with the nutritional support required, it’s imperative that optimal digestion is present in order to ensure nutrients in the diet are allowed to be absorbed properly and perform their various functions. 95% of people we test show very low levels of Hydrochloric acid (HCL) which in short, means the greatest organic foods and fancy supplements are going to be almost pointless, as the main role of HCL is to breakdown and prepare foods to be assimilated in to the body.
3. Methylation – This is a process which affects nearly every metabolic process in the body from DNA expression, protein regulation, liver detoxification, estrogen metabolism and so on. In order for the methylation cycle to function optimally various nutrients such as B6, B12, Trimethlyglycine, Folic acid, Magnesium and Zinc are just a few of the nutrients needed. Now for the twist…it’s estimated that nearly 40% of the population have a genetic fault in one of the pathways of the methylation cycle called Methyltetrahydrofolate (MTHFR). This is a very complex process to explain and beyond the scope of this article, but extremely important to be aware of in order for optimal estrogen metabolism to occur. So how do I know if I have it? This is the easy part…include some Asparagus in your next meal and the next time you go to pee… your know it! I’m sure many of you will already be aware of the smell that takes place after eating asparagus, well now you know why. One of the simplest ways to manage this is by supplementing with some of the nutrients mentioned above. A high quality B complex, zinc, magnesium and a diet high in cruciferous vegetables is the way forward. For those of you that don’t have this gene, these nutrients are still going to be of benefit to support proper methylation. Methylation may sound complicated but if you remember that you need a full spectrum of B vitamins to properly metabolise the estrogen that causes you to store a preponderance of your fat in your lower body then you won’t go too far wrong.
4. Cruciferous Vegetables – without doubt these have the greatest potential to help rid the body of bad estrogens. Examples would be Broccoli, spinach, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. Broccoli especially contains compounds known as indoles which have very potent anti (breast) cancer fighting properties as well as improving the liver’s estrogen detoxification abilities. So eat your greens for better and faster female fat loss.
5. Dim – Diidolymethane (Dim) is the active form of indole 3 carbinol found in cruciferous vegetables…Ok so I can hear the supplement sceptics already… well can’t I just eat vegetables then? In the ideal world the answer would be yes, but in today’s society how many of you have the time or inclination to sit through 4-5 feedings of green vegetables a day. Also our foods our so nutritionally depleted from poor soil and chemicals, not to mention the fact that they’ve sat around for at least 5 days from the time they were pulled out the ground to the time you purchased them, it would be wise to supplement to ensure adequate levels of this potent nutrient are consumed. Dim also helps to prevent aromatase (conversion of testosterone to fat storing estrogens) and helps to improve E2 (anti cancer) to E16 (cancer promoting) ratios.
So those are some things that will hopefully help you to break through those estrogen specific lower body fat loss plateaus that have been bothering you for so long. Below are a few other things for you to consider if you’re determined to lose fat from typical female problem areas:
Avoid Spin classes (increase intra cellular fat stores in the thighs)
Omega 3 Fish oils (increase E2 decrease E16)
Avoid tap water (Britain’s water supply contains large amounts of estrogen, and no that Brita filter just won’t cut it I’m afraid)
Birth control pills (increase estrogen levels)
Go organic (most nonorganic meats contain hormones you don’t want in your diet)
Drink green tea!