A lot has changed since the first Thanksgiving shared by the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Native Americans in 1621.  The “lot” being the growing groaning table of Thanksgiving goodies. Creamed this, buttered that, every kind of carb from mashed potatoes to mac and cheese, tater tot casseroles, and of course sweet potato casseroles with tons of tiny little melting marshmallows. And pies. Don’t forget the pies. All kinds of pies. Overeating has become a tradition. Did you know that the average American gains 1 to 3 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day every year? According to a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, Americans add on an average of 0.7% of their weight during the holiday season. All that food just dumps itself onto your belly. That might have been jelly before you jumped into the fight for the greasy, crisp turkey skin.


But for many people, a big belly isn’t about a holiday belly. Extra pounds park themselves around their middle on an ongoing basis. Potbelly. The pouch. Spare tire. Middle-age spread. Though the term might sound dated, “middle-age spread” is a greater concern than ever. As people go through their middle years, their proportion of fat to body weight tends to increase — more so in women than men. And lower belly fat is hard to shed. Certain body fats hold onto fat around the lower stomach longer than any other part of the body.


Fat isn’t just “fat”. There are different types that have different effects on different parts of your body. But we’ll focus on subcutaneous and visceral fat here.

The subcutaneous fat is the outermost layer of fat; it’s the fat you can pinch between your fingers. This layer sits on top of the abdominal muscle tissue. If you can pinch a good amount of subcutaneous fat, chances are you have a large amount of visceral fat lurking underneath your abdominal muscles. Subcutaneous fat is less harmful to health and serves as a layer of protection for your organs as well as insulation to regulate body temperature. This is what defines the “pear shape”.

Visceral fat hangs beneath the muscles in your stomach, close to all your organs. Can’t see it and can’t pinch it. This is what is called the “apple shape”. In the mid-1990s, scientists learned visceral fat releases hormones and other substances that affect the body’s functioning. These substances cause inflammation, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, and other chronic diseases. Visceral fat also secretes a protein that makes it harder for the body to use insulin effectively, which increases the risk of diabetes. And because visceral fat is so close to the liver, it may cause the liver to produce too much cholesterol, which raises the risk of developing high blood pressureheart attack, and stroke. It can cause sleep apnea, asthma, and even different types of cancer. Not exactly something to give thanks for.


Let’s get into some of those hormones we were talking about. Let’s say you’re doing everything right. You work out and eat healthy meals as much as you can, but your belly won’t budge. The fat hanging over the pants just persists. The same hormones that mess with your libido (estrogen and testosterone), can impact your waistline. Cortisol also plays a major role in metabolism regulation, and basically, chronic stress can lead to chronically high cortisol. That’s a one-way ticket to a big appetite and high blood sugar. (Next stop: belly fat!). You may have leptin resistance. Leptin is the hormone that helps regulate your appetite. It tells your brain when your belly is full. If your body starts ignoring leptin’s messages, that’s called leptin resistance. Another hormonal cause of belly fat? Insulin imbalance. Wild sugar cravings, sudden weight gain, and lack of focus could all indicate insulin issues. A common symptom of an underactive thyroid is weight gain, often around the abdomen. So don’t blame that gut you’ve got on the platters of goodies that have put you in a food coma.


Belly fat can be tricky to ditch. Like the day-after-Thanksgiving Day-leftovers, it just keeps hanging around. Belly fat can drive people to some pretty dangerous ways to dump the lump. Extreme or bizarre diets. Starving themselves until they’re ready to pass out. Exercising until they lose it. (And we’re not talking about the fat). Online and over-the-counter meds that might actually do more harm. What you need to do, is see a medical professional who is trained in hormones and the way they affect your weight, and specifically not-beer gut. The hormone experts at Denver Hormone Health can help you carve out a safe and personalized program. It’s called Hormonal Weight Support. Everything you need to help you on your weight loss (belly loss) journey. Including emotional support. At Denver Hormone Health, they understand your frustration and care about you in every way. From hormonal replacement therapy to the guidance of experienced nutrition and exercise specialists. Denver Hormone Health is the way to make that belly be a thing of the past. Be your best. Feel your best. Look your best. Call Denver Hormone Health for an appointment now.

Hormones and Diabetes: It’s Not So Sweet

Diabetes Basics

Did you know that the medical term for diabetes is actually “Diabetes Mellitus”?  (Although you probably never hear it called that.) Diabetes affects approximately 30.3 million people (9.4% of the population) in the United States, (Tom Hanks, Nick Jonas and Halle Berry to name a few) while another estimated 84.1 million people have prediabetes and don’t know it. What you probably know is that it has something to do with sugar. To put it simply, diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body does not produce enough of the hormone insulin, resulting in high levels of the sugar “glucose” in the bloodstream.

Every Type is Pretty Terrible

There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Both types of diabetes are lifelong diseases that affect the way your body regulates blood sugar, or glucose. Glucose is the fuel that feeds your body’s cells, but to enter your cells it needs a key. Insulin is that key. People with type 1 diabetes  (often known as juvenile diabetes) don’t produce insulin. You can think of it as not having a key. People with type 2 diabetes don’t respond to insulin as well as they should and later in the disease often don’t make enough insulin. You can think of this as having a broken key. Of the two, type 1 is the most severe.

When Hormones Have Their Way

Hormone imbalances definitely influence blood sugar levels. To better understand how hormones affect diabetes, it is important to identify which hormones can impact those levels in the blood. Insulin is the hormone that affects blood sugar levels the most, but it’s not the only one. Glucagon, Amylin, Epinephrine, Cortisol and Growth Hormone are others that are best left to medical minds. Let’s just say when it comes to diabetes, unbalanced, they’re “bad”.  This, we can all understand.

Some Serious Stuff Here

Many people with diabetes often “poo-poo” it, not believing it can really do that much damage. But consider just some of the symptoms and health-related problems:

  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Nerve pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Hunger
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth 
  • Depression
  • Slow-healing wounds, cuts, or sores 
  • Itching skin
  • Increased susceptibility to infections
  • Heart and blood vessel disease
  • Kidney disease

Still think controlling it isn’t something to think seriously about?

Eat This Up

The first thing people think about when it comes to diabetes and diet, is deprivation. No this, no that, and absolutely, positively, never-ever anything sweet. Not so. It’s just all about portion. That box of Valentine candy? Have a small piece or two, just don’t devour the whole thing or dig into a 5-lb chocolate heart. (Cupid won’t die if you don’t). A diet for diabetics is a sensible, healthy diet for anyone; fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and heart-healthy fats. It’s about cutting back on sodium and processed foods. And really cutting back on carbs which are most easily broken down into sugar.  What are a few examples of things you should you totally try to avoid?

  • Frosting (Sorry, but you can ‘t get caught up in the cupcake craze)
  • Bagels
  • Soda (sugar-free is fine)
  • Sugary cereals- (Fruit Loops can really send your blood sugar in loops)
  • Stick margarine
  • Jarred tomato sauce- (Sure, it’s easy, but…Prego is a no-go)
  • Bacon (No more “Bs” in your BLTs)
  • Maraschino cherries (And the sugar-laden cocktails you love them in)
  • Soy sauce
  • Smoothies (Just being green, doesn’t make them healthy)
  • Vanilla cappuccino with whipped cream and hazelnut drizzle (Or any other Starbucks specialty where tons of sugar make them so special.)
  • The devilish duos of anything breaded and fried (bye-bye chicken McNuggets)
  • Fatty red meat (liverwurst’s the worst)
  • Hot dogs

It’s All in the Balance

Before you go bonkers over diabetes, you have to remember that it can be all about hormone imbalances. And imbalances, if treated correctly, by the right medical specialists, can be balanced. The place to start, is getting a good and accurate measure of your hormones, especially those that can contribute to diabetes. And in the Denver area, there’s no better place to do that than at Denver Hormone Health. Every one of the doctors that are at Denver Hormone Health are hormone specialists that know everything there is to know about hormones and getting them back in balance. Simple tests can tell them how they can help you if they determine you’re pre-diabetic or diabetic. Even if it turns out you’re not, they can see if something isn’t in balance with all the other hormones floating through your bloodstream. In any case, all they care about is getting you back to feeling your best. Call the experts at Denver Hormone Health now.

Diabetes doesn’t have to get you down.