The Hormone Reset Diet: Lose Up to 15 Pounds in 21 Days [Excerpt]

I used to be fat and . . . I’m a doctor. After decades of starving myself and feeling as though I were living in someone else’s bloated body, I quit the war. In the process, I came to understand that what we’ve been taught about dieting is wrong—even what I was taught in medical school more than twenty-five years ago. Harsh deprivation, beating myself up over the waning willpower, daily fights with food and whether to be “good” or “bad” in my nutritional choices—these dieting skirmishes actually left me more stressed; worsened my hormonal imbalances, body shame and food addiction; and kept me out of a genuine conversation with my body and what it actually needs.

It took me many years to learn the lesson, which occurred after trying nearly every diet, including the no-carb, low-carb, carb-cycling, low-fat, high-fat, low-protein, high-protein, no-salt, lemonade and honey and Mediterranean diets.

[Read: Calories Don’t Matter; Here’s Why]

The truth? These diets don’t work for most women because they fail to address the hormonal root cause. Hormones dictate what your body does with food. Fatness is the result of major hormonal misfires in women, and forceful approaches to losing weight fail to address the hormonal root cause in strategy, tactics and delivery.

Fortunately, there is a solution. You can rediscover a body you’re happy with—in which you shed the weight, feel trim and sexy in your skin and restore your hormones and health—without a daily battle. After earning a medical degree, becoming a wife, birthing two babies and getting certified as a yoga teacher, I ultimately learned that there’s an alternative to the suffering over weight that doesn’t involve shame or guilt.

In short, you need to correct hormonal misfires with your fork. I learned how to eat in a way that optimizes hormones and reinstates a healthy weight in women, and now I want to share my discoveries with you.

[Related: Why Diet and Exercise Are Not the Key to Weight Loss and Health]

As women, we’re at a disadvantage when it comes to getting fat. We are exquisitely sensitive to the ravages of stress and inflammation—you may notice the telltale signs as sugar cravings, extra weight hanging around your waist, moodiness, lack of sleep or perhaps an overwhelmed feeling. These are clues that your hormones have begun to turn against you, which sets off a vicious cycle of inflammation (the type that makes you overweight) and more difficulty regulating the hormones that help you burn fat (also known as the hormones of metabolism, or the engine for burning calories).

When misfiring hormones are allowed to spiral downward, you’re left with a broken metabolism; and you store fat no matter what—even when you try popular diets like Paleo or Weight Watchers. Soon the bathroom scale seems weirdly stuck 10 or 25 pounds higher than you’d prefer. If you struggle to get and stay lean, I promise that your hormones are to blame. Your hormones govern nearly all aspects of fat loss, from where you store fat (and how much) to your cravings, appetite, gut bacteria and even your addictive patterns with food.

[Read: Letting Go of Sugar: One Cookie at a Time]

The good news is that you can turn this problem around—in twenty-one days. I’ve designed a step-by-step plan to help women of all shapes and sizes, ages and ethnicities, to lose weight and feel lighter, from your cells to your soul—a formula that has had amazing results for thousands of women just like you.

Just 3 Days! 

The idea behind the Hormone Reset is simple: in 3-day bursts, you’ll focus on making specific dietary changes, starting with eliminating meat and alcohol, which resets your estrogen, liver and gut microbiome—the genetic material of the trillions of microbial critters that live in your body. Every 3 days you’ll cut out specific metabolism-wrecking foods and trade up for better foods, which will reset your misfiring hormones, building on the collaboration and regulatory synergy between them so you can feel like yourself again, in body harmony.

Why 3 days? Because that’s the minimum amount of time to reset a metabolic hormone. When you disrupt these 7 hormones in 3-day bursts, it takes you a total of twenty-one days to recreate a collaborative team of your metabolic hormones. By the end of twenty-one days, you’ll be ecstatic to observe how you feel. You’ll stress less, eat clean and move more.

[Related: 7 Simple Swaps for Health Without Big Diet Changes]

Overview of Your Hormone Reset

In your Hormone Reset, we will resynchronize the 7 hormones of metabolism. Here is the order of hormone resets that I’ve found to be the most effective.

  1. Meatless, designed to reset your estrogen by excluding red meat and alcohol from your diet. (Note that this reset is essential for everyone, whether you’re a meat eater or not.)
  2. Sugar Free, intended to banish your cravings for sugar and reset your insulin.
  3. Fruitless, targeted to reset your hunger hormone, leptin.
  4. Caffeine Free, which will reset your relationship to stress and cortisol.
  5. Grain Free, formulated to activate your thyroid hormone in a powerful new way and will reset insulin and leptin.
  6. Dairy Free, designed to reset your growth hormone, which also improve insulin.
  7. Toxin Free, which will redirect your testosterone level to normal, along with supporting the reset of estrogen, insulin, leptin and thyroid.

[Read: Learning to Feed a Hungry Heart]

Hormones Out of Whack Dr Sara GOTTFRIED

After you take all these steps, you will have reset your metabolism to expedite major body transformation from the inside out. I know what it’s like at the top, after completing the first round of 7 hormone resets—I can see the comprehensive view from here, and it’s amazing.

[Read Maria Shriver’s latest essay]

Yes, you will fix your broken metabolism and lose weight. But more important, you will take the crucial steps you need to feel at home in your body again. You will break the relentless cycle of stress and weight gain. You won’t be constantly bloated, stressed or sleep deprived. You will grow the happy and diverse bacteria that keep you lean and shed the bacteria that make you fat.

Remember, this is not a restrictive diet. The Hormone Reset Diet addresses the root causes of why you can’t lose weight by correcting your hormonal misfires. It’s an innovative way to totally transform your body from the inside out.

Copyright © 2015 by Sara Gottfried. This modified excerpt originally The Hormone Reset Diet: Heal Your Metabolism to Lose Up to 15 Pounds in 21 Days, published by HarperOne. Reprinted here with permission.

About the Author

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Dr. Sara Gottfried has been dedicated to practicing and helping women feel at home in their bodies for the past 20 years. After graduating from the physician-scientist training program at Harvard Medical School and MIT, she completed her residency at the University of California at San Francisco. As an integrative gynecologist, Dr. Gottfried is a firm believer in treating the root cause of problems, not just the symptoms. She is the author of the just-released book, “The Hormone Reset Diet”. More at

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