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The Secret Ingredient to Stubborn Weight Loss

The Secret Ingredient to Stubborn Weight Loss

One of the perks of writing a book about sound medical solutions to common health complaints is that I have an opportunity to reach so many people from so many places on the globe.  In the release of my latest book, The Blood Sugar Solution, I have been inspired by countless tales of the human body’s empowered healing from the debilitating effects of insulin resistance and unruly inflammation in each system of the body.

I feel such joy every time I hear feedback from a reader or a patient about his or her success on the program.  It’s not egotistical joy necessarily, although my passion for Functional Medicine certainly fills me with happiness.  Rather, it’s pure gratitude for your willingness to make an effort at restoring your health by honoring the most natural and basic laws of the human body.

Remove unnecessary stressors, seek balance, and strive for enjoyment on your ever-changing quest for health and vitality.   

While most of you will undoubtedly experience remarkable recovery for your enthusiasm of life via improved health and even complete disease reversal, some of you will get stuck.  Try as hard as you might to follow my recommendations precisely, to  miss not one workout, to take each supplement I suggest and even set up appointments with your local Functional Medicine provider- something inside of you simply won’t budge.

Maybe you’re still tired? Experiencing brain fog? Feeling anxious or depressed?  Unable to get your blood sugars down?  I’ve heard it all.  Yet the most emotion and frustration tends to come from those people who are striving to lose weight.

Weight gain and stubborn weight loss are often symptoms of something deeper occurring beneath the surface in a body and mind miscommunication.  My programs often allude to weight loss as an added benefit but not necessarily the primary task.

This is because weight is like a secret message the body uses to alert us to the inflammation burning within.  While it isn’t always pretty and certainly is not always healthy, there is much wisdom in its message.

If we listen carefully, our body speaks to us and provides us with the exact information we need in order to reach our individual health goals.  I realize that for many of you, achieving your weight loss goal is your #1 priority and until you succeed, it may be difficult to see that weight, in some ways, is merely a symptom.

So let’s dive into this and talk about how you can use your own body to magically transform your entire relationship with food and outlook on life!

Slow Down, Tune In and Let Go

In 1975, Herbert Benson released his groundbreaking work on the effects of stress on the body in his book called, The Relaxation Response.  It’s no wonder this Harvard-trained cardiologist has touched the lives of millions world-wide with his pioneering mind-body medicine.

While stress is natural, it is the way in which we handle stress that tends to predict health outcomes.  Studies reveal that the more we can engage our parasympathetic nervous system, the healthier we will be.  Under this state, the body can effectively rest and digest.

This time of repair and renewal allows us to automatically harmonize the systems of our body to work together and balance The 7 Keys of UltraWellness.  Conversely, when the sympathetic nervous system is chronically engaged we exist in a constant state of stress which has ultimately led to the current epidemic of stress-related chronic diseases.

Consider there is a continuum of stress and relaxation similar to insulin resistance.  We all fall somewhere on this spectrum in any given moment. Each of us has the power to modulate our experience of both by realizing the power we have to tune in to a deeper part of ourselves.

But first, let’s understand how stress is the barrier between you and stubborn weight loss.

How Stress Impacts Your Metabolism

The top five factors are:

  • The body shifts into survival mode under stress and your digestive tract literally shuts down.  This means that there can be a shortage of the necessary enzymes, bacteria and acids required for proper digestion, absorption and metabolism.  Clearly, when the body does not receive the nutrition it needs to function properly it will remain “hungry.”  You might be reaching for food out of malnutrition even if your intake is excessive! Secondly, all that rancid and decaying food – poorly digested stuff that is sitting in your gut, leads to gut permeability, dysbiosis (an imbalance in gut flora) and inflammation. This “leaky gut” syndrome is responsible for a plethora of conditions running the gamut from weight gain, hormone imbalance and autoimmune conditions to bloating, cramping and socially uncomfortable odoriferous gas.
  • The stress response un-regulates the sympathetic nervous system and increases the dominant stress hormone, cortisol.  Cortisol not only increases insulin which can inhibit weight loss and actually increase belly fat, but also disengages your brain circuitry.  An increase in cortisol dampens your ability to receive pleasure and satisfaction from food.  Stress literally hijacks your brain! This makes complete sense.  There are times when we need our stress hormones to protect our life from grave danger such as running from a bear and we certainly don’t want to perceive that delectable looking plate of savory food as being more salient than defending our life! The problem is that in this modern lifestyle we don’t necessarily face blood-thirsty animals or the type of threat that warrants this chronic state of heightened re-activity.
  • The stress response increases the excretion of valuable nutrients we need for our brain to tell us when we have eaten enough or that we need more or less of certain nutrients.  I often see patients who complain of binge eating or out of control food cravings, who lack essential fats, micro-nutrients and certain B vitamins. While we can certainly boost our nutrition status via eating whole foods and appropriate supplementation, it is equally as important and effective to diminish our cravings by getting to the root of the issue and calling out our stress! Manage stress properly and watch as your levels of calcium, magnesium, chromium, selenium, zinc, B Vitamins stabilize; your antioxidant status improve; and your food cravings vanish.  Stress washes these away but leaves disease ashore. It is no coincidence that stress goes hand in hand with osteoporosis and blood sugar imbalances- two major conditions present in our culture which depend on proper mineral status, among other important nutrients, for healing and prevention.
  • Levels of potentially inflammatory cholesterol, glucose, triglycerides, sodium and insulin increase while valuable hormones necessary for weight loss and lean body mass, such as human growth hormone and thyroid hormone, decrease under stress. If you want to get rid of that stubborn belly fat you will need to prevent oxidation and inflammation from running rampant!
  • Stress can be real or perceived which means it is solely part of our unique dispositions to interpret one thing as stressful and another as not.  Another person may find that the same thing which causes you stress may not elicit the stress response for them. Because so much of our world is construed by our thoughts and judgments, it is of the utmost significance to appreciate the value our thoughts have on our health.  You literally can increase your metabolism by inspiring your daily life with a positive outlook or a peaceful agreement within yourself  not to speak negatively or cast judgment. Each time we say something such as “I’m too fat,” or “I will never control these cravings,” or “I’m never going to manage my annoying bloat”, our stress hormones and cortisol flood the system and weaken our fat burning capacity.

Tune In to Let Go…

The next time you eat, ask yourself if you are about to eat under stress.  Note how you feel by checking in with your breath- is it shallow or deep? Get in touch with your heart rate and see if you can find a way to use your breath to slow it down and relax your pulse.

Is your mind racing and do you have stressful thoughts running it?  Are you excited about your food or are you feeling guilty or concerned about what is in front of you? Do you feel calm or restless?

All of these questions are the beginning of embarking on an understanding of how you relate to food.  The funny thing is, how we each relate to food tells us a lot about how we approach life and what we want out of it.  The next time you catch yourself eating under stress, follow these guidelines:

  1. Start each meal with 3 deep belly breaths.  For a thorough explanation on how to calm your mind and relax your body please check out my article on meditation.
  2. Observe your thoughts about yourself and the food you are about to eat.  Remember, judging your food as good or bad essentially begs the idea that you too are either good or bad.  While a diet based on whole, fresh, real, organic, local and seasonal foods is best, there will be times when you will want a treat, a “recreational food” or you will be offered a food you may think of as “bad.”  Imagine the difference in digestion you would experience if the next time you ate your favorite food or any food under a relaxed state where you savored each bite and didn’t have to rush through it out of guilt, worry, or self doubt about willpower! I’d rather see you eat all food under the optimal state of digestion and absorption so that you best metabolize and utilize your nutrients.
  3. When you eat, do so with willing attention toward your food.  In fact, do as my friend Marc David suggests and eat soulfully, not just mindfully. Marc runs the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.  Learn more about this unique style of nutrition. Soulful eating allows you a whole-body experience that celebrates your innate desire to seek pleasure from food and not stop until you receive the right amount.  Mentally and soulfully reap nourishment from your food before, during and even after your meal by doing this:
    Savor the flavor: Notice the texture and aroma of each bite to get the most flavor. Is it sweet, salty, spicy, crunchy, sour, bitter, or smooth?
    Observe: Notice your body – is your belly gurgling with hunger?  Or are you completely
    stuffed?  Are you stressed or calm and what could you do in that moment to increase relaxation?
    Be Present: Sit down while you eat, turn off all media or keep it in another room and simply eat while you are eating-nothing else!
    Resist Judgment: Let go of the urge to engage in negative self-talk and eat with compassion, respect, and gratitude toward your body. Notice when “should” or rigid rules pop into your mind and be aware of any guilt that comes up for you around certain foods.  Now is not the time to criticize-now is the time to calm your mind, slow the chatter and be present in your body.
    Awareness: Notice the difference the next time you drift off during a meal.  Bring yourself back to the moment and taste each bite. Maximize your pleasure!

See your symptoms as hidden messages from your inner world trying to tell you to listen- don’t dismiss them.  By dismissing these clues or worse, beating yourself up over them, we lose the opportunity to tune in and do the real work of unlocking the mysterious barriers to our unsolved health conditions.

These clues are, in essence, your inner Doctor taking residence within each cell of your body saying “Hey you! Something isn’t right with this stress you’re putting on us, and I can’t take it anymore – I’m falling apart. You gotta help. I’m trying to send you some signals…please “see” them!”

Examining your stress and seeing its impact on your metabolism will work well for many of you.  But I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you are wondering about how to get out of the mind and venture to the stress taking place in the heart.

Emotional eating has become ubiquitous in our fast-paced culture which honors quantity over quality, willpower more than pleasurable nourishment and the dollar more than humanity.  How can you fully let go and tune in when your heart is desperate for a different culture but your mind is living in this one?

Click here for Part II of this series to learn more about how you can actually make emotional pain and the overeating that stems from it work for you.

Now I’d like to hear from you…

Do you think you will be able to pause before a meal and take more time to savor it?

How does stress manifest in your relationship with food?

What impact on your health and well-being does awareness have on you?

To your good health,

Mark Hyman, MD

P.S. Please leave your thoughts by adding a comment below – but remember, we can’t offer personal medical advice online, so be sure to limit your comments to those about taking back our health!

Mark Hyman MD is the Medical Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, the Founder of The UltraWellness Center, and a ten-time #1 New York Times Bestselling author.

Comments (58)

  • Have you ever considered about adding a little bit
    more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is important and everything.
    However think of if you added some great graphics or
    video clips to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with images and clips, this blog could definitely be one of the greatest in its field. Great blog!

  • I am having much success from your Blood Sugar Solution. I have completed the 8 weeks and have lost 20 pounds, (10 more to go). I have found this program to be very manageable. I feel great. I was not diabetic buit had a fasting glucose of 113 so I was on my way to being diabetic. Every year my weight crept up more and more. I have tried everything to lose weight and was not successful for any time at all. I had given up on being thin again. I am thrilled with my success and thank you for writing the book. Now I am reading your “Ultra Prevention”, book, a Mother’s Day present from my daughter.

  • Heres the problem doctor, we all know this and we would change if we could…This is just more knowledge..How about developing a meditative practice to help us with change, not just knowledge…Like MBSR stress reduction, Jon -kabot zinn..

  • The effects of stress on health can last for many years! “Burning the candle at both ends” such as being a single parent and working two and more jobs and trying to get through school not to mention all the life stress that happens to you of no choosing. It’s just not worth risking. Sometimes we have to be better stewards of our time and realize that going to school or having too many jobs is a bad thing. I know, because this was me. I think we have to see our life in “seasons”. There is a time to work hard and a time to attend to the children even if you do not have it all! Kids don’t need it! There is a time when it may be better to go to college. And mostly, ask for help during stressful times! We are not Islands to ourselves. There are many good people, and programs to assist and encourage us on our journey.

    Dr. Hyman is so right about eating! I once worked at a hospital and learned to eat fast and I know this is contributed to my digestive problems along with all the job stress. I now eat in a peaceful setting with soft music playing and candle light. I gaze out a set of french doors at the beautiful nature. The greatest challenge is in politely expressing my need to digest my food to my husband as he loves to discuss all the bad news around the world at this time. I try to guide the conversation to more pleasant things. And yes, it’s all about the flavor! Cooking with herbs and foods from our garden help me connect with the “circle of life” and I do enjoy my dinner time!

  • I LOVE your advice and inspirational messages. Though sometimes it was hard to change habitual eating under stress, now that I am slowing down it makes all the difference! I lost 20 lbs and feel healthier than ever!

  • This is an incredible post, Mark. You are exactly right; weight is a symptom, and the body trying to tell us something. We need to start looking at it that way. I have lots of thinking to do …

  • I am half way through “The Blood Sugar Solution” and I am just eating it up (no pun intended). Thanks for all the excellent nutritional information in that book. It certainly turns existing methods and theories of weight loss and wellness on its head. Although I changed my diet several months ago to a largely fresh food “raw” diet and have successfully lost 18kgs without even trying, I am taking things to the next step and ensuring that I strive for total body balance inside. I feel great and I have nothing but praise and thanks to people like YOU who have opened their eyes to the benefits of eating healthy and staying away from all the processed crap on the market. I cannot believe I have been poisoning myself for so many years with absolute faith that the big food companies would never intentionally feed me with harmful chemicals and additive in the endless quest to satisfy the shareholders. Its a sick (again no pun intended) world we live in these days. All the best and keep up the good work ! (I will be passing on your book to friends)

  • Many weight loss product can buy online, my personal review about weight loss product that already approved by USA-FDA in only Phen375 – My personal favourite is Phen375 because Phen375 is proven to show an average weight loss of 25lbs in just 6 weeks!.

  • Hi Dr Hyman, I can certainly slow my mind down and eat my meals in a peaceful state Except when I am at work. Ironically I work at a SPA where people come to relax and destress but we as therapists are under alot of pressure to adhere to a tight schedule often without a scheduled meal break.But even with that in mind I can squeeze in a moment to mindfuly eat a few nuts or berries,organic of course,thanks Dr Hyman! Kathe

  • Mark,
    Love all your posts and articles. What a breath of fresh air to have some common sense in the world of medicine. I salute you for breaking from the conventional tired approach. So many people need this information to improve their health. I appreciate your work. I own a CrossFit gym and I’m constantly promoting your approach. Balance in one’s life, stress-reduction, adequate sleep, good hard workouts offset by full and complete rest and recovery, all on a foundation of quality nutrition. Keep up the great work.

  • Just the right message at just the right time! 7 weeks into the blood sugar solution, I am feeling great an have lost weight. I do have stubborn belly fat that hangs on. Managing stress and mindful eating sound right to me and I will incorporate it into my meals. Thanks

  • Thank you, Dr. Hyman, for your on-going support for people who are choosing to be well. Your discussion about stress is so important. This certainly touched a deeper note within me, especially after looking into The Gabriel Method, by Jon Gabriel – per your recommendation. Having worked in alternative health care for 30+ years, I spent a lot of time speaking with individuals about being willing to look at their health-related symptoms as just that….symptoms. Diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other dis-eases/illnesses of our culture are all symptoms of a deeper, often hidden cause that our concious mind is not (yet) aware of. Clearing the subconcious mind of unhealthy programming through simple and powerful techniques e.g. meditation, EFT, Healing Codes and other safe and effective approaches, allows us to more easily follow-through with the concious choices we are making to experience greater wellness in our bodies, our minds and our spirits. If we have to ‘force’ ourselves to follow a healthy lifestyle, perhaps the better question is, “Why are we resisting?” When we are able to release our resistance to living a more healthy life, then it becomes much easier! If we have faulty programming in our subconscious, no amount of will-power will change that. It has been my experience that when we change the ‘program-of-operation’ (our subconscious), our lives change to reflect that. Thank you again for your sensible insight. It has been and continues to be a welcome voice of great wisdom in a very confused health-care system.

  • Mark, Thanks for a very good article. It provides good food for thought, pun intended.

  • I know that I am an emotional eater. In the last 5 weeks I have strayed from my healthy eating habits I established after reading The Blood Sugar Solution. I had lost the inflammation in my body, my digestion was the best it had been in years and I was feeling great. Then I started slipping back into my old habits with the arrival of summer and my grandson who was staying with us for the summer. I brought bread and flour back into the house, started baking again, drinking caffeine on occasion and adding sugar back into my diet. This morning, I had regained 5 of the 16 pounds I had lost and feel terrible. Today is a new day. I have 3 more weeks with my grandson here and will have to deal with the bread in the house, but no more baking or sugar. If I had not seen this (or felt it), I would never have been convinced of the role that eating healthy has on how I feel on a daily basis. I always thought it was a long term thing. I feel sure that the 5 pounds is inflammation as my old symptoms are creeping back. My fibromyalgia was gone and I could breathe again. Something the doctors had no answer to. While I love him dearly, the added stress of having a young teenager in the house coupled with me being self employed and juggling my work around him, I think, has played a very important part of how I have handled food and eating in the last 5 weeks. I eat on the run, many times standing at my sink. After a meal, I am not satisfied and want more. I am being drawn toward sugar and gluten. I will make a conscious effort to follow the steps outlined in the article to try to control my emotional eating.

    • Oh, I feel so much for you. Of course, you love the young teenager and at the same time teenagers can be soooo stressful.

      My opinion, you have a very good plan and you are dedicated to your very good plan. Please know and feel that
      many, many (hopefully all) of the people who have read your post whole-heartedly support you and are cheering for you.

  • I have read the book, embrace the ideas but am taking medication that is slowly putting weight on my body … how do you deal with that? or get it off? I am taking a hormone inhibitor for breast cancer …. any help here?

    • Hi Chris,

      Thank you for your interest in Dr Hyman’s work. Certain meds indeed can encourage weight gain. Sometimes it is best to go with flow and do your best to eat the right foods in the healthy amounts as suggested in Dr Hymans Blood Sugar Solution. Work with your Doc about tapering off the meds together and slowly increasing your intake of supplements recommended by Dr Hyman.

  • This article allows me to insure myself. I am now eating healthy foods, but I still am eating emotionally, not just when hungry or at mealtime.

    Thinking about my breathing will be a particularly good practice. Thank you for the insites.

  • thank goodness i found your book. i thought i was losing my mind, not being able to lose weight, eating less, gaining more, it was maddening, figured it was a lost cause, just be fat and try to be happy. then there’s this book on the shelf at the library, drew my attention because i thought it was a crime story (the word blood drew my eye and i’m a crime story freak) so i picked it up, almost put it down when i saw it was ‘another’ diet book, not a crime thriller, then started reading the front cover and there i was!!! i am a firm believer that things happen for a reason, so i took this for a sign and signed out the book and was hooked. kept the book out of the library until i was forced to return it, then went and bought my own. next to the bible, it’s the best thing i ever picked up and read. i am a registered nurse and after 20 years in the business, have pretty much come to the conclusion that traditional western med is pretty much a sham. dr hyman is on the money with functional medicine, not the pill-popping kind currently en vogue. thank you, dr hyman, hopefully in another six months or so i will be completely free of micardis, baby aspirin and simvastatin, and only on supplements!! god bless.

  • Awareness is the core of health. Body awareness, mind awareness, emotional awareness, environmental awareness, etc, has been critical for my success to regain health and reverse weight gain. Once awareness is achieved it feels like an awakening and I observe others living with dependence upon others for health and welfare. This self awareness provides me access to inner wisdom as well as transforms my relationship to food, environment and people. I find I judge less and influence more. I have lost upwards of 30 pounds by awareness without which nothing else could have followed to support my health….not just biological but physcological as well as spiritual. After all we are human and beings. I always loved food for its flavors and emotional comforts and through awareness realize I have not treated food like a fuel for life. We know not to put only a few choices of fuel into a vehicle to power an engine and not ruin mechanics but we use less choice in eating unnatural foods to power the heart, brain and other vital organs. We are more aware about the mechanics of a steel vehicle than a human vessel for life. Awareness exposes this to me.

  • Hello,

    I am a newbie here. I have ordered “The Blood Sugar Solution” and just finished reading “The Secret Ingredient to Stubborn Weight Loss”. The article is very inspiring!

    I have been on weight control diets for thirty years. Over the years I have dropped weight and gained more weight back. I also developed diabetes during this time. Dieting has always been a chore.. Though losing weight has been a reward, the diets did not achieve a balance between the mind and body. I would not look at a diet as a life long way of living but as a quick fix. There is no quick fix.

    So here I am again. This time to understand my body and mind connection and how it relates to my weight and blood sugar levels. I am looking forward to this adventure and challenge ahead of me.

  • As I read the blog title “The Secret Ingredient to Stubborn weight loss” my self-talk said, almost audibly, “now here comes the ‘stuff’ that I must buy”. Instead I found a most insightful and useful article. It is ‘radical’ (it goes to the root of the problem). Most refreshing and significant of all it will not cost a cent nor will not make Dr Mark and his staff richer! It only costs a needed slowing down and attention to detail.
    It is the sort of ‘functional medicine’ we need in South Africa. We are planning to do research on life-style intervention using small support groups – not because we wonder if it will work but because we need to have credible evidence to show it can work.
    Thank you!

  • I have not yet read your Blood Sugar Solution Book but plan on getting a copy. I have Type 2, HTN, numerous aches and pains some of which are almost debilitating some days but I continue to push through it. I am not on medication for the diabetes yet. I know I am a stress eater. I had lost 30 # but have regained 10 or so. I have a hiatal hernia and was awakened at 3:25 am with severe chest pain and the feeling that someone was choking me. Reflux I believe. Took some Maalox, still feel like I have a huge lump in the middle of my esophagus and burping /belching a lot! Not very pleasant. I know that everyday after work i can consume enough calories after work (3:30 pm) until dinner time (around 6:30pm) which is more than enough to consume for dinner itself!! I am a nurse!! I feel like everything is out of control. I am trying Yoga but it is very difficult for me to do, some poses I am unable to do but continue trying. I am looking forward to part 2 of your blog. Thanks so much.

    • Hi! I heard Mark’s taping on Diabesity in December 2011 and immediately went gluten free to reduce inflammation that was active in my thyroid and joints. My worst symptom was uncontrolled GE relux and coughing which I had had for 15 years. I had surgery for it four years ago and also took prilosec. I elevate the head of the bed. When I inadvertently get gluten my nose runs and I cough and cough to clear the mucus that my esophagus starts making in great quantities.
      Without gluten I have lost about 15 lbs. over 6 months. Many nights I can lie flat without reflux. Wheat, barley and rye are the gluten culprits. I read labels every time I want to purchase a food. There is a great cookbook called 1000 gluten-free recipes which substitutes many other flours for our cultural norms. I am using much less flour in any case but I am learning to bake gluten-free. Gluten-free for dummies is also informative.

  • I have been juice fasting the past week and lost 7 pounds and 2 inches off waist! I really think that juicing is the answer.

    • HI Sandy,
      Thank you for your interest in Dr Hyman’s work. This is a great question. There is much you can do with food and supplementation to help control your autoimmune response. Also, reducing stress-all forms can turn the dial down on your immune system attacking your thyroid. If you would like more personal information to help you balance your immune system and hormones with diet and supplements please visit:

  • Thanks Dr. Hyman for the Blood Sugar Solution.
    My husband and I are starting our 6th week of the Blood Sugar Solution and reaping many benefits. I am encouraging him to read the book, as yet, he won’t. However, he has lost 23 pounds in 5 weeks and I have lost 9. David’s doctor also took him off one of his blood pressure medicines last week and encouraged him in his choice to lose weight. He likes to eat in front of the TV and I have made an issue of eating at the dining table and spending time together as we eat and talking about the foods we are eating and why. Our biggest battle now is snacking. He is on a quest to find the “old foods” he likes and figure out a way to make “them” work. One of his favorite snacks is nuts. So I bought some raw nuts and packaged them for him and wrote the number of calories on the package (200 calories) for his small snack. He used to eat that much in a “handful.” Now he is getting the picture that volume eating and fast eating is unhealthy.
    Also, I’ve shared your book with my diabetic-obese mother-in-law and she is feeling better and hoping to be taken off of her insulin (a recent addition to her medicines.) She had heard (written right on the package) that oatmeal was good for diabetics. She ate it every morning and sometimes at night too. When I shared with her she was eating carbs, which she knew, she realized the amount of carbs and the little amount of protein was having great negative effect on her health. She is just starting and has signed up with a trainer (she’s 82 years old.)
    We have been blessed and thank the Lord for you!
    Lesley Anderson

  • That is the key!, to eat with a thin’s person mind!. In my 20s and early 30s I noticed that every time I was desperate to loose weight I gained weight, even if I tried to eat less I gained weight. When I gave my self a brake from those thoughts I stooped gaining weight and even lost weight! Anyway, I kept making the mistake of feeling and feel stressed about my weight ( I will blame it to the diet “industry” and Dr. Hayman not being there… :). Now, after 20 years, I know need almost therapy to be able to live like I should, to have my body not against me.
    I thank you Dr. Hayman for all that advises! I would love to read from Dr. Hayman more about that, the connection between a body gaining weight , or not loosing it, and the mind trying to fight that making me me live with my symphatic system always on!
    (I apologize for my English mistakes, English is my 3th language)

  • I don’t have alot of stress in my life, right now. In the winter I do. Because my work is seasonal and my Parents go north for the summer. I also take stress relieving herbs 4 times more than recomented. Ashahwahga. I’ve been taking them for at least 4 years now. I’ve been tring to loose wt. most of my life , now trying even harder because I don’t want to have another heartatack.I ‘ve been doing as your book says for almost 2 months lost 4 lbs.Trying to loose 50. I think a lost 4 lbs. because my parents went north for the summer and I can eat more healthy. They are more meat and potatoes and dessert every meal. I’m more veggies and fruit 4 to 6 times a day. I lost 2 lbs. in one day but that was because I was not allowed anything but water and had to do a stress test on the tread mill. The only thing I had to eat that day was a salad and fruit for supper. So I still am not getting what I am doing wrong.

  • I’m so glad you are in a position to reach a lot of people and give us all the opportunity to look deeper into our diets. Thank you! I am 60 years old and am finally taking the time to look deeper into my eating patterns. I have been up and down the weight scale and have been interested in food-for-health for a long time. But I’ve never asked myself the hard questions. What I find now – related to stress – is that I have a long standing pattern of taking on too much responsibility and an almost constant undercurrent of “hurry up, get this done now, and if you don’t you will get in trouble.” I feel overwhelmed and stressed and turn to food as a comfort.

    This stems from a childhood family dynamic where both my parents worked and I – at the age of 10 – ran the household and took care of my 3 siblings. The problem was, I never learned how to ask for help or even notice that I needed it. So I keep repeating this dynamic. I take on too much, I feel overwhelmed, I eat to escape. I am learning now to step back and realistically assess the situation and do something other than run to food.

    I am noticing that being on this program gives me the inner “quiet” my body needs so I can have some distance from the overwhelm and be more reasonable and balanced. I think I will make it through my own obstacles this time!


  • Deep breathing really helps the stress response. I taught it to my children to calm them down. I use it a lot, also when I am exercising at a high level to fully use my O2 and to relax body/mind.

  • The one thing on this list that has never worked for me is the “focus on eating” I’ve tried turning off the tv or putting down my book, and I always find I eat more and faster. With a good book, I get wrapped up in what I’m reading and eat much slower, and am less likely to clean my plate.

  • I always read Dr. Hyman’s articles and find them wonderful and useful. He had suggested using a fiber supplement to help curb diabesity. I don’t have diabeties, but I have been overweight my entire adult life. Started in college at the all you can eat counter! That’s when I started putting on the weight. Well after many failed “diets”, I tried the supplement,
    PGX, which actually comes in a pill form or in a protein shake form. I tried the pill form first, it didn’t really help me change, so then I tried the Protein Shake with PGX in it, I orderd from Swanson Vitamins, and this did the trick!! For the first time in my life, I was able to NOT want bad carbo’s and sugar. I take the supplement drink for breakfast and it helps me make the right food choices all day long. I have gone down two dress sizes in about 7 weeks, and couldn’t be happier. I am sure it made a huge difference in my blood sugar as it seems to keep it stable all day long, which is just wonderful. I have found that keeping my blood sugar level, like this, helps me think more clearly. Since I have been taking this particular supplement, I can clean my house better, and more often, I can now put myself on a budget and not overspend money, my brain seems quite clear and not foggy and I can make overall better decisions in all areas of my life. Thank you so much Dr. Hyman for talking about this supplement, as it has truely saved my life. Thank You SO MUCH! I forward lots of your emails to my friends and family as well as tweet them too! Keep up the wonderful and amazing work that you do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I cried when I opened your book The Blood Sugar Solution this week. I was diagnosed with DMII two years ago and have been determined to reverse it. My (former) doctor was not supportive, “We find most people have to take metformin and blood pressure meds and statins. I want you to take them so I don’t have to worry about you at night.” Very sweet of her and I was lucky to talk her into letting me just start metformin and see what I could do with diet and exercise. I never went back. My next doctor was enthusiastic about diet and exercise and had no suggestions beyond what I had already found. I eliminated most junk food, increased my swimming to 2 1/4 hours 4 or 5 times a week, looked for supplements that were reported to help, and lost 25 of the 60 pounds I gained since menopause. And that is where I was stuck. I swim competitively and started a “diabetes and swimming” thread on the US Masters Swim forum. And two weeks ago another swimmer told me about the book.

    At last, a comprehensive way of inferring root causes, and more tools in lab tests, supplements, and avoiding food allergens. So many things that I didn’t know about inflammation. I feel such relief. So many things I didn’t know to do that I can now do. I know this will work for me and I can’t wait to share it with my family and friends. I have such gratitude to you, Dr. Hyman, and to your associates that are assisting you.

  • I started following your diet suggestions when I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease a few months ago. The extra pounds are melting away without effort, I no longer crave sugar (I’ve been hypoglycemic for 40 years), the dark circles and puffiness around my eyes are gone, and the brain fog is gone. The Parkinson’s tremor and muscle spasms are still present, but I have faith that those will eventually improve.

    The reason I’m responding to this particular post of yours is that I want you to know that when I hear you talking about gratitude, my trust level for you goes up by about a mile (as it would for anyone I heard talking about gratitude). To be grateful presupposes humility and gets the ego out of the way, at least for the moment. Gratitude opens us to God, and when we do things with guidance from God, we are so much more powerful, more effective, more successful. Thank you, Dr. Hyman, for working in conjunction with a power greater than our human egos.

  • I am a 61 y/o male. I lost 50 pounds after having lap band surgery. At 50 pounds I started gaining back some weight. I still had diabetes and high blood pressure. After the first three weeks following Dr. Hymans’ program in the Blood Sugar solution I lost 13 pounds, my blood sugar is normal (no more diabetes) and the BP reading at my last Dr. visit was 128/73. I am still 20 pounds from my goal weight but feel that I now have the mental fortitude to control my food intake. Thank you Dr. Hyman and good luck to all of the others trying to lose weight.

  • Dy Hyman is spot-on as usual & reinforces the philosophy & training I received at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.

    Joshua Rosenthall’s world vision to make us more mindful about our food & ultimately our health is the vital message we need to carry to the world.

    Stress is killing us & all for what. Turn off the phones, TVs & shut out the world for a few moments & savour the true pleasure of being alive & nourished by the food we eat.

    Tell the SWAT team lead by Cpt Cortisol to stand-down & relax…for your health’s sake.

    • I liked all of your comment and especially applaud the last line about “Tell the SWAT team…”; what a great way to phrase this so important concept. Thank you so much for your comment. It truly brightened my day and my tomorrows.

    • I noted that you took the IIN courses. What did you think of the school? What did it gain you? I really want to do some nutritional training but am not sure which school to go with. IIN seems very expensive. Michelle

  • Thank you, again, Dr. Hyman! I am new to the whole food diet and know I feel better eating that way. My brain works better, I feel happier, less slugglish, and it just feels right to my whole being.

    A high fibrinogen level and insulin level confirm the inflammation in my body from years of eating unhealthy food and yes, probably eating emotionally. I have not noted any weight loss, and so am one of the ‘stuck’ ones.

    My spouse is being drug (reluctantly) along this path, and although I’ve convinced him that store bought packaged cookies contain nothing nutritional and are likely a double whammy with corn syrup and sugar, I agreed to occasionally make him homemade cookies. Yesterday we enjoyed some chocolate chip warm cookies. I didn’t feel well after eating them! Was it the beating myself up syndrome or a true effect of the sugar? I’m not certain, but I know I don’t feel well after eating sugar of late. Your suggestion of embracing our food and eating mindfully is wonderful as we keep on this path of eating well. It will surely help on the days we embrace our ‘old ways’. My guess is that after enough of these stumbles, we will re-committ ourselves to living and eating well. I will use the breathing technique…especially if I have any more of those chocolate chip temptations lurking in my kitchen!

  • I have actually been diagnosed with “a chronically active sympathetic nervous system”. I got this diagnose because I have all the typical symptoms of Sjögren’s syndrome but no antibodies in my glands (biopsy showed that). The symptoms are partly crippling me, so I am very eager to find ways to heal.
    I suspect the origin of the stress is very early childhood abuse – I have been told my brain has been permanently “rewired” because of this. Numerous years of therapy of different kinds has brought tremendous amounts of healing but is cleraly not enough. I am now 45 years old, meditate daily, practice Qi Gong and eat according to Dr Hyman’s advice. I also now have a loving family that supports me.
    What else can I do to really heal this broken balance in my nervous system?

    • Hi Helena,

      What a life journey you have been on…Thank you for sharing with us. There are certain foods and nutrsceuticals which can help your body better adapt to stress hormones flooding your system. To learn more about what might work well for you please visit Dr Hymans nutritionists for private and personalized support:

    • Hi, this is a message for Helena. I hope you get this.
      You have a little organ in your brain called the amigdala. When people go through a stressful childhood this little organ is raised with prolonged periods of stress. The more stress you go through the higher it goes.
      In the end, imagine this – you risk assess everything in your environment. You are constantly on the look out for danger. This is because you have taught your brain to do this – it was a survival mechanism in your chidhood.
      However, this sress response is maladaptive. You can have all the therapy in the world and yes therapy works great for self esteem issues. You are doing all the right things with the meditation and diet. You are leaving out the crucial and most important element of the equation though. BRING THE MALADAPTIVE STRESS RESPONSE DOWN. You have to retrain your brain to know that you are no longer in a dangerous situation.
      Thats the thing with the stress response – it gets stuck – unless you retrain it.
      There is only one sure fire way to do this. Type into your search engine “The Linden Method”. Buy it, read it and live it. If you do what it says it will not take you long. A couple of months. If you do – that maladaptive stress response will be brought down permenantly. FOREVER. It is a scientific process that retrains your brain. It works in 100% of cases.
      How do I know??? I had a very traumatic childhood and suffered severe anxiety. I did everything to get rid of it. Meds, CBT etc..
      After extensive research I came across the Linden Method and researched that extensively. Its scientific and works.
      Do it!! As well as following Dr Hymans advice it will be the best move you will ever make.


  • We are so grateful to you Dr Hyman. Because of the program my husband has gotten off his diabetic meds which he was on for 11years. His cholesterol numbers have halved much to his doctor’s amazement again without any of the statin drugs he was always being nudged to take. His blood pressure is great as are all his other blood work. And he lost almost 25 pounds Most of it around his belly.
    What did we do that made a difference? Read your blood sugar solution book and followed your plan. The no dairy, gluten or grains was difficult the first couple of days but since he was determined to go with the plan I helped by going on it myself. We cleared out the pantry and the fridge on day 1, kept away from all processed foods and ate lots of whole raw foods, nuts, beans, eggs, fish and meat in moderation. He gave up coffee and became an avid green tea fan 😉 I learned to bake without gluten and using only nut flours and learned to saute without using oil. It has been an amazing journey that we have decided to continue. We are grain free most of the time. We have more energy and we are always aware everytime we eat out that we are in complete control of our food choices. I don’t think of food as good or bad only our choices. All the lows and highs have disappeared with the stoppage of the diabetic meds so the sugar cravings have also disappeared.
    I wish the best of luck to everyone who is trying this out for themselves. We were lucky because as yoga practioners we had the mental preparation coupled with the determination to see us through. Meditation and the breathing exercises were already part of our daily practice.
    Once again our sincere thanks to you!

  • The night before, plan your workout for the next day and get all your stuff (gym bag, clothes, etc.) ready to go. Decide what and when you’ll eat and get your meals ready. Make it as easy as possible to follow through with your plans.
    The Second thing is to Motivate yourself. By Remind yourself throughout the day of your workout plans–send yourself a reminder or have a friend call and ask about your workout, so it’s always in the front of your mind.

  • i am now starting programme i am looking for the protein shake recipe that was on kelly morning show with dr, hyman

    • Hi Sabina,

      Here you are:
      Whole Food Protein Shake Recipe
      4 oz Frozen wild or organic blueberries
      2-3 tbsp hemp seed
      2 tbsp chia seed
      4 walnuts
      3 Brazil nuts
      Small handful of pumpkin seeds
      1 tbsp Extra virgin coconut oil
      2 tbsp almond butter
      4 oz Unsweetened almond milk or hemp milk
      1/2 Banana
      Be sure to add enough water so that the smoothie is not so thick that it is hard to drink usually need to fill the liquid about an inch or two above the contents

      Dr. Hyman Staff

  • I have never had a lot of luck with a structured eating plan of any sort, NO WilLPOWER. Since I started with Blood Sugar Solution and finally understand what happens to my body when I put the wrong things in my mouth, I no longer have a problem, because every bite I put in my mouth now is making my body better. That thought goes thru my mind each time I eat. I have been off sugar 2 months and I feel so much better, I have recently given up gluten, and dairy I,m looking forward to feeling even better. I also have told a few friends which have also changed their diet. By the way I am 71 and feeling better everyday. Have lost 8 lbs just removing bread and sugar from my diet.


  • Mindful eating, Im going to focus on this a little more. I have written a blog very similar to this in the past month. You have touched upon a couple things I didn’t though. Check out my blog at, click on the blog tab and it shouldn’t be too far down the page. Let me know what everyone thinks! Keep up the great writing.

  • I know this web site provides quality based content and additional material, is there any other web page which presents such data in quality?

  • Tuning into your body and turning off judgement let’s you eat consciously and instinctively. You’re able to recognize hunger as well as when your body is satisfied (not full). You’ll find yourself eating what your body needs not what your emotions desire.
    When you do slip and over eat or make poor choices you can acknowledge them quickly so you are at choice to stop or not stop. It’s OK to make bad choices occasionally. Just turn a bad choice into a bad day or bad week. I found it helped me to ask myself, “What need am I trying to satisfy with this food?” Sometimes I discover the answer and make better choices. Sometimes I don’t. Either way I’ve increased my awareness so that I can respond to my body’s needs as well as my emotional needs. They are usually different and thus requires different responses.
    This approach helped me lose 30 pounds of fat in 101 days without dieting. Thanks.

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