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Weekly Diet News Digest

by John McGran, Columnist

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I've been waging a losing battle against my belly bulge for the past decade or so. I always thought I was simply exercising wrong or maybe eating a poor diet.

Thanks to the eye-opening new book, from Belly Fat to Belly Flat (HCI), I know now that the culprit may be hormonal.

The book's subtitle says it all: "How Your Hormones Are Adding Inches to Your Waistline and Subtracting Years from Your Life."

NOTE: To get a copy of from Belly Fat to Belly Flat, click here or click on the book cover at left.

Co-authored by renowned hormone expert Dr. C.W. Randolph and his partner at the Natural Hormone Institute of America, Genie James, from Belly Fat to Belly Flat is a must-read for women in their 30's and 40's and men in their 40's. In a nutshell, it's the medically proven way to reshape your body!

"When people hear the term hormonal imbalance, most immediately think about the change of life, menopause," Dr. Randolph tells Diet.com. "Although it’s true that women going through menopause have significant hormonal changes, the issues associated with hormonal imbalance, such as abdominal weight gain, typically begin in a woman’s early to mid-30's and a man’s early 40's."

There it is -- abdominal weight gain! My belly is a force of nature... it's the byproduct of my body's failure to churn out enough hormones for a fellow my age!

"We found that no matter how much you do you won’t lose the last 30 pounds around your hips and abdomen if you suffer hormone imbalance," says co-author Genie James, M.M.Sc.

"Most of us don’t think of hormone problems 'til menopause, but women in their early 30s -- and men in their early 40's -- are at risk."

Dr. Randolph says you can combat your pooching belly and chunky hips by applying "bio-identical progesterone" cream twice a day. A sensible diet and a steady dose of exercise do help... but they alone won't diminish your belly fat if your hormones are unbalanced.

To learn more about your unique hormone issue, take the insightful Hormone Quiz.

I could get into the science and stumble through the three types of natural hormones, but I'll leave such information to the experts like Dr. Randolph and James.

The pair has agreed to write a regular blog for Diet.com. Future topics will include how stress and a lack of sleep can screw with our hormone balance. Their first blog, The Hidden Weight-Gain Epidemic, has been posted.

Back to your belly fat. Remember the highly tempting ads for CortiSlim and CortiStress -- products that claimed to shrink your belly fat by controlling your cortisol? Those products also grabbed the attention of the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). Warnings letters and fines followed.

Dr. Randolph says those products were on the right path, but because the creators tinkered with the natural cortisol (basically so they could trademark their products) the end result was a substance the body did not recognize and therefore could not use.

And this is why Dr. Randolph insists on bio-identical substances. The creams he supports are exact copies of the stuff your body needs to balance its hormones. The best news: you don't have to buy a cream from him. He lists a few store brands that will work just fine.

He adds that one of the best ways to control the creation of this stress hormone cortisol is lifestyle change. And that's exactly what we promote here at Diet.com. To link up with our perks-packed premium program, click here now and lose weight today!

James says the "Belly Fat to belly Flat" plan was perfected to where women apply cream between their periods, twice daily. Through trial and error, they discovered that the best places to rub the cream are the inner forearms, chest, neck and breasts.

"Some clients told us that from day one they felt like a different person. But usually you feel -- and see -- best results after two to three cycles," she notes.

"Average weight loss is 6-10 pounds the first month. We worked with thousands of volunteers and found that when you take off this weight, you keep it off."

The book includes a 30-day hormone-balancing meal plan and a slew of tasty recipes to help you stick with the eating plan.

Dr. Randolph, a board-certified gynecologist, backs his claims with a wealth of medical experience. He's a hands-on researcher who sees patients at his clinic and wellness center in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. He was a pharmacist in his "first life."

Fat Magnet

If you feel like a "fat magnet" there may be a medical reason, according to from Belly fat to Belly Flat:

Too much estrogen circulating in the body increases body fat, and fatty tissue within the body produces and stores more estrogen. Body fat contains an enzyme that converts adrenal steroids to estrogen. At a cellular level, body fat continues to produce more estrogen, and a high estrogen level, in turn, causes the body to increase its store of fatty tissue. In other words, your belly becomes a “fat magnet.”

When you’re estrogen dominant, your body is unable to effectively use fat stores for energy, which means that your body’s ability to metabolize or burn body fat for calories is compromised. The result is extra weight that won’t go away even with more exercise or less eating.

When high estrogen levels are unopposed by sufficient progesterone, the resulting condition of estrogen dominance also impacts your body fat’s distribution. In both men and women, higher estrogen levels ­predispose the body to store fat around the abdomen. In women, estrogen dominance causes fat to be stored around the waist, hips, and thighs, and it’s the main reason that many middle-age women have pear-shaped bodies. Estrogen dominance is also the reason for the middle-age spare tire in men.

Dr. Randolph notes, "If you are a woman in your 30's, you need to understand that estrogen dominance is not 'your mother’s problem.' For most women, estrogen dominance is a concern to be reckoned with long before middle age or menopause. As a woman approaches her mid-30's, the balance of hormones within her body begins to shift, starting with a decline in progesterone. In fact, progesterone production declines 120 times more rapidly than does estrogen production. It is this downward shift in progesterone production that causes the body to become estrogen dominant."

Contrary to the popular belief, men can also be estrogen dominant. In men, progesterone ...    Continue

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@ 5:09am ET on March 31, 2008
I'm having hormonal imbalance.. thus my period doesn't come on its proper time :( I haven't had them since... months!

@ 5:51am ET on March 31, 2008
hello Dr.John McGran,
I have been stubbling with stubborn weight about ten years now because of hypothyroidism. I have tried many diet plans and basically I do stick to them but I only loose about a 10% of my body weight and then everything stops . I have read all of your informative messages from the time that I registered with your e-mail . I would love to have a copy from your book because I am overseas and it is very difficult for me to purchase anything that is either in U.S.A. or any other country.At this point of time my own endocrynologist cannot give me the support that I need (or anybody else)for the scale to go down alittle just medication which at this point is stable .
would love to hear from you

@ 7:31am ET on March 31, 2008
Dear Dr McGran,
I have lived for years with belly fat. I have tried everything and basically resigned myself to the fact that I would be this way for the rest of my life. Dare I hope that there is something that can help? I hope so! I took the Hormone Quiz and checked off 17 of the symptoms. I would love to give one last try and have something REALLY work!
Thank you so much

@ 9:31am ET on March 31, 2008
Dear Dr McGran,
I am a post menopausal woman with hypothyroidism as well. I have tried all kinds of dieting and exercise, but my stomach is getting bigger rather than smaller. I took the Hormone quiz and answered yes to the majority of the questions. Please send a copy of From Belly Fat to Belly Flat if you think it would help me. I promise to try all the advice and not waste the book.

Thank you so much!

Lydia Livingston
199 Royal Oaks Lane
Lexington, SC 29072

@ 9:42am ET on March 31, 2008
I have been on the South Beach Diet Phase 1 now for 1 month and have had very little results on pounds lost, while I am enjoying the food on this diet, I am not seeing the results I had hoped for. I walk approximately one quarter mile each day, and do a pilates work out 3 days a week and I am very frustrated that I cannot achieve any proper and visible pound lost. Will try to find the Hormone Hell book and read that and see if there is any other info I can incorporate into my diet plan. I could really use some help in this area, as I am disabled and am limited on the excercises I can do. Are there any other things I can do to help this process out? Thanks, Lynn1123 lp1020@earthlink.net

@ 9:43am ET on March 31, 2008
My mailing address is 1020 Hawthorne Dr
Crystal Lake, IL 60014

Please HELP!!!!!

@ 10:08am ET on March 31, 2008
I am 52 years old and have for the last 10 years had this belly that is not going away. I exercise at Curves 3-4 times a week and also do some ab work out at home but to no avail. I would love to know if this is hormonal...I do not have periods since early 30's hysterectomy and hope this is the answer.
Gayla Smith
412 Dwyer Street
Angleton, Texas 77515

@ 10:44am ET on March 31, 2008
I want to win this book because it sounds like exactly what I need. I began menopause about five years ago. I exercise fairly regularly (tennis, walking, weight training at the gym, etc.) but nothing I seem to do will get rid of the belly fat. Even though I've lost weight, the stuff around my middle just won't go. It's frustrating because I can't wear some of my clothes just because they don't fit around the middle, but fit everywhere else. Thank you for this opportunity.

Esther McCarty

@ 11:10am ET on March 31, 2008
Dear Dr. McGran,

This sounds like something that might finally work for me...I have tried EVERYTHING to lose my belly fat, from every diet known to man to starvation to drugs. My body is fine except for my belly!!I can't fit into any of my clothes anymore simply because they won't fit around my stomach, and I can't afford to buy new ones, so I am desperate. It is so depressing to follow a diet exactly according to its rules, and lose nothing. Please, please, please send me one of the free books!!

Thank you,


@ 11:44am ET on March 31, 2008
Hey guys... I am not a doctor (and I don't even play one on television). I am your chief editor and I interviewed Dr. CW Randolph for this great feature. I wll forward your comments to him. Meanwhile, you may want to check out his Diet.com blog (from Belly Fat to Belly Flat) and post questions for him there.
Thanks for writing.

John McGran
The man in the blue Hawaiian shirt

@ 1:50pm ET on March 31, 2008
i had open heart surgery 3 yrs ago and ever since myl entire body is foing crazy things including a hormone imbalance. i gained over 30 pounds in the 2 yrs prior to the surgery and another 20 after. i cannot lose it no matter what i do. help please!!

@ 2:27pm ET on March 31, 2008
Dear Dr. McGran:

@ 2:32pm ET on March 31, 2008
Dear Dr. McGran, I would love to have your book because I am looking for something that will help me lose weight.I am 53 years old and have hypothyroidism, and am takeing HRT and can't seem to lose weight no matter how hard I try . It is very dishearting and discouraging. The belly seems to be getting bigger and bigger each year and the harder I try the fatter I get. I would love to have the book to see if that will help nothing else seems to.

Barbara Smith
328 Planett St.
LaPorte, In 46350

@ 7:14pm ET on March 31, 2008
I am not able to lose my belly fat no matter what I do~~but I have never heard of your plan about hormones before. Please let me see if this will work for me. I really want to look and be as healthy as possible. Thanks, Nancy at nbuckner@mail.com

@ 7:31pm ET on March 31, 2008
I have cushing's at 30 and went down from there to now what is a near total depletion of my endocrine system: sheehan's syndrome..
I keep gaining..
can u please help me..(I am near 60)

@ 8:00pm ET on March 31, 2008
Hi Dr McGran,

I took the hormone imbalance questionaire and marked way more than 2 boxes. I am approximately 70 lbs overweight and about 90% of the excess fat is in my stomach, hips and thighs. I would sincerely love to win a copy of the book, From Belly Fat to Belly Flat. Thank you.

Clarisa Skinner
333 Singing Meadows Lane
Rhome, TX 76078

@ 2:09am ET on April 1, 2008
Hi, Mr. McGran, I have struggled with weight most of my 52 years on the planet. Over the past couple of years, I have managed to lose 11 kg and stick to an exercise plan so that I can now jog more than 2 km of a 6-km walk-run jaunt. However, I still have along way to go -- at least more kg. I have always had a flabby belly, even as a teen. Although I am an American and have a US postal address, I live in Kuwait where it is sometimes difficult to access the latest things, and outdoor exercise is difficult in the summer. With a history of heart disease on both sides of my family, I very much need to get rid of my flabby belly. If 'From Belly Fat to Belly Flat' can help, I am in serious need of it.

@ 2:36am ET on April 1, 2008

Thanks for the good article. I look forward to learn more. If you can send the book abroad, here's my address:

Jill Mitchell
Liquoristerie de Provence
36 avenue de la Grande Begude
13770 Venelles

If not, I can send you a U.S. address.

Love your posts. Many thanks.
Jill Mitchell

@ 5:10am ET on April 1, 2008
Hi Dr,
i just break up with my boyfriend. he said that i'm too 'big' for him eventhough he is not too hot though. i need your book to get a better shape so then i can show to him off.

@ 9:52am ET on April 1, 2008
Voulzo, your question/concern about suffering from hypothyroidism that keeps you from losing those unwanted pounds is something we help women and men deal with almost every day in our medical practice. The thyroid gland is best known for its metabolic function affecting weight. What most people - and even their physicians - often don't know is that estrogen dominance (the weight gain culprit we feature in FROM BELLY FAT TO BELLY FLAT)renders the thyroid hormones dysfunctional, causing the body's metabolism to slow down. The resulting condition is called "relative hypothyroidism". To treat "relative hypothryroidsim" and lose that unwanted weight, you must treat the underlying condition of estrogen dominance. How do you treat estrogen dominance? Follow Dr. Randolph's 3-Step Belly Flat Program featured in both our book and on our website: www.hormonewell.com.
We wish you WELL!
Dr. Randolph and Genie James

@ 9:59am ET on April 1, 2008
Teresa, WOW: 17 symptoms of hormone imbalance including weight gain. I see that you are a busy professional Texas woman who has almost lost hope that you can lose those unwanted pounds around your middle. I bet you are used to putting your mind to something and making it happen. No wonder you have been frustrated. Yes, I believe we offer you not only hope but, also, a solution! Get our book, check out our website and get going on our 3-Step Belly Flat program. You may also want to consider a telephone consultation with one of our highly trained nurse pracitioners. You can check out this service on our website (www.hormonewell.com). Keep us posted. We look forward to the success of a happy - and thinner - you!
We wish you WELL!
Dr. Randolph and Genie James

@ 10:06am ET on April 1, 2008
Lynn, we almost share the same birthday. Mine is Nov 21st. That is not all we have in common, before Dr. Randolph and I got married (and before we wrote From Belly Fat to Belly Flat)I had gained 18 lbs and couldn't get them off no matter what diet - including the South Beach Diet Plan- I tried or how much I exercised. I actually had to punt on the wedding dress I had bought and pony up for a new - and unfortunately LARGER SIZE - dress. After our honeymoon, I got serious about combining Dr. Randolph's unique approach to balancing hormones naturally with a specific nutritional program that worked at a cellular level to help eliminate an underlying condition of estrogen dominance. The results: Our Belly Flat Nutritonal Program (defined in detail in our book)complete with Belly Blaster Foods. Best result: ME 20 lbs lighter and back in my skinny jeans. Now I plan to wear that fabulous first wedding dress at our 10th anniversary and I am confident that, because of our Belly Flat Program, I will most definitely be able to fit into it beautifully.
Go for it. Try our Belly Flat Plan. I have the highest confidence that you will not be disapointed with your results.
Genie James, Co-Author of From Belly Fat to Belly Flat and Dr. Randolph's wife

@ 3:25pm ET on April 1, 2008
I really need a copy of this book i have just had 2nd. I got really cik about 2 months after and lost alot of weight due to the sickness and my stomach just dropped it looks really bad in my clothes i just need help.
Yolanda Coley
9801 Dobby Dr.
Little Rock, AR 72206

@ 5:47pm ET on April 2, 2008
Hello Dr. McGran,
Maybe this is just what I need! I am pretty much a healthy eater. I lowered my cholesterol to 179 by changing my diet, but I can't seem to loose my belly fat. I tried eating healthier and exercising and that didn't work. Maybe your book can help!
Thanks so much

Leanne Hollenbeck
5 Meadow Lane
Salem NH 03079

@ 8:52pm ET on April 2, 2008
Dear Dr. McGran,
I would like to tell you of my sincere desire to receive a copy of your book. I am a post menopausal woman also dealing with hypothyroidism. I walk regularly with a friend, and have for years. I have my fair share of stress, as does everyone else, with 5 children, a new career after leaving a 28 year old career, and to make matters worse, I am only 5 foot tall! Every pound I put on makes me that much rounder. I have 4 grandchildren under the age of 3 and I would really like to be able to keep up with them. I promise to follow the advise, and instructions in your book, as well as share the information with my new friends and fellow associates. Thank you so much, P.Easley
7960 Bee Branch Rd
Iuka IL. 62849

@ 1:24pm ET on April 3, 2008
After having 2 children I have found it almost impossible to get rid of my stomach, and to top it off I have streth marks all over the place as well. I have tried diets, exercise, and eating healthy and nothing seems to help. I'm almost to the point of just getting a tummy tuck to end my frustration!!! PLEASE HELP. chriss7532@yahoo.com

@ 8:28pm ET on April 3, 2008
Hi! I recently had two children, almost back to back and as a result I now have belly fat that still makes me look pregnant! I am dieting and exercising 4 times a week but progress is slow if at all. I really need help losing in this spot!!
Thanks, Kim mskimason@aol.com

@ 8:29pm ET on April 3, 2008
Hi! I recently had two children, almost back to back and as a result I now have belly fat that still makes me look pregnant! I am dieting and exercising 4 times a week but progress is slow if at all. I really need help losing in this spot!!
Thanks, Kim mskimason@aol.com

@ 3:51pm ET on April 5, 2008
hello iam 45 and had belly fat after my 4th baby and bellybutton hernia surgery i cant seem to loose just gain stressed out working full time over 40hrs a week and raising my 4 children by my self with out there father help physical and mentally need help to loose went from 140 to 200lbs very depressed babybluejoy@wowway.com

@ 7:43pm ET on April 6, 2008

@ 8:48pm ET on April 7, 2008
I am a 51 year old woman (menopausal) and have always had a slow metabolism. I am not overweight because I eat fairly healthy and exercise. But in the past few months I have gained about 6 pounds, 3 of them after completing a month long colon cleanse!!!! I ordered the Flat Belly Diet Book, but after following the 4 day "anti-bloat" diet EXACTLY, I lost only one pound and about 1/2 inch from my belly. Eating low carbs used to help, but even that isn't working anymore. My doctor doesn't recommend HRT for me, and told me I am just gaining weight because I am getting older. THAT ISN"T AN EXCUSE...I need something that will help me lose this excess stomach. I'd love to give your book a try!

Thanks! JRZLDY

@ 7:41am ET on April 15, 2008
I exercise four times a week and eat very healthily but am just unable to shift belly fat no matter what I do. I am in my mid-30s and it's becoming increasingly hard to shift it. I took the hormone test and ticked nine boxes. I would love a copy of this book as it would provide me with much needed information. I am sick and tired of buying books that don't work; this one looks like it does. My dream is to have a flat belly and it's not happening, even though I work really hard at it.

@ 10:19am ET on April 16, 2008
I am 68 years old but neither look nor act like i am 68 years old. i am thin but have always had a stomach roll. i was at one time a sz 10-12 not i am a 4-6. i am 5'2" and just weight myself at home at 118.5. i would think my scale is off because i usually don't weigh more than 116 whether thin or a little heavier in look...

@ 7:54pm ET on February 25, 2009
I'm 34 female, and went to my GP & Gyn for the past 5 years about weight gain and "moodiness" and generally not feeling like myself - headaches, lathargic, not sleeping well.
4 years ago I was put on metformin for elavated blood sigar. Its all in your head is a common phrase.
6 months ago the Gyn put me on the nuvaring because the symptoms described above were getting worse.
My sugars are doing fine - HA1c 5.4
but my cholesteral and triglycerides were up for the past year. HDL is high though - 75
I asked for a hormone test -- finally got one:
estrogen, progesteron & testeron all but gone
and my sex binding globolen is high - 145
I have had ovarian problems and had surgery when I was 24. They were able to keep my ovaries.
I work out 5 days a week and eat a MUFA rich diet.

I'm just so tired of feeling crummy and now the doctor is telling me basically I am in menopause at 34 and it is HRT that will solve my problems -- BUT I want to know WHY my body stopped making hormones.

@ 8:14pm ET on December 21, 2009
The link to the Hormone Quiz is not working - can I find it somewhere else?

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