Dr. Erika Schwartz, M.D., is a leading national expert in wellness, disease prevention, and bioidentical hormone therapies. Dr. Schwartz has written four best-selling books, testified before Congress, hosted her own PBS special on bioidentical hormones, and is a frequent guest on network TV shows.

Dr. Erika Schwartz, M.D

The Real Solution for Fighting Belly Fat

Thursday, 09 Jan 2014 04:11 PM

By Erika Schwartz, M.D

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The Hormone-Friendly Diet is the solution I've worked on for more than a decade, and it is the plan I follow. More than 15,000 patients have lost unwanted weight with it and have continued following it as a way of life.
 
Why do I call it the Hormone-Friendly Diet? Because it’s friendly to all — it’s easy to follow and can apply to most people. What’s more, it’s hormone-friendly — all the prescribed foods help improve hormone balance. If your hormones are in balance, you lose weight and feel great.
 
The Hormone-Friendly Diet involves a detoxification step designed to rid your system of toxins. For three to five days you follow a plan that will give you energy, won’t leave you hungry, and will eliminate the byproducts of the unhealthy foods you’ve eaten for too long. The detox step involves replacing all solids with specific protein shakes, chicken broth and green tea in exact amounts that work for you individually.
 
Detoxification is an important, chemically driven process intended to cleanse the liver, eliminate toxic food byproducts from your bowel, diminish and even eliminate sugar cravings, and prepare your mind and body for the food-intake transformation to come that will leave you feeling great and healthy again.
 
Because your body needs food to burn fat, you cannot miss a meal. The theory that eating less is a good way to diet doesn’t work for normal humans. We know that from scientific studies.
 
Breakfast: Within a half-hour of getting out of bed, we need to eat to push our metabolism into a higher gear. Start with 1 cup of Irish cut oatmeal, a small fistful of walnuts, and a few berries (frozen is fine). Drink a cup of green or English breakfast tea and a large glass of hot water with lemon.
 
Snack: If you exercise in the morning, you need to eat something within half an hour of finishing your workout. Make a fruit smoothie following this recipe: 1 scoop of protein powder (choose a high-protein, low-sugar formula — read the labels), a handful of berries, a teaspoon of walnuts or almonds, 1 cup of water (hot if berries are frozen), and one-half cup of rice or almond milk. Blend for 30 seconds.
 
• Lunch and Dinner: Enjoy a mixed green salad with cucumber, tomato, and one-half avocado with a piece of grilled or poached fish or chicken seasoned with lots of herbs like basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and cumin. (Make the salad dressing yourself using 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and half a lemon. Add a sprinkle of pepper and Himalayan or any iodized large grain salt.) Have a cup of steamed broccoli, asparagus, cabbage, or Brussels sprouts with a sprinkle of olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Drink as much water as you can before the meal and one large cup hot water with lemon after the meal.
 
This is just an example of one day’s menu. Some women love to improvise while others like to follow the recipes. The Hormone-Friendly Diet leaves room for both.
 
After one month of following the diet’s general guidelines, it becomes a plan that’s easily incorporated into your family’s life. And because we are surrounded by temptation and junk food that our taste buds are too accustomed to, the Hormone-Friendly Diet encourages you to cheat once a week. You read correctly: Fall off the wagon without worry — just keep in mind the five-pound rule. Never gain more than five pounds again and you won’t find yourself needing to go on a diet or getting depressed over your weight again. In our years of following the diet, my family and I have nothing to complain about when it comes to our weight.

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Erika Schwartz, M.D., is a leading national expert in wellness, disease prevention, and bioidentical hormone therapies. She is author of Dr. Erika’s Healthy Balance newsletter.
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