Are your hormones making you fat, tired or depressed?
Girls, this could be the reason why you gain weight with no reason or why you feel sluggish all the time. This article is all about your hormones and how to balance them!
If you’ve been struggling with losing weight but can’t figure out what you’re doing wrong, your hormones may be to blame.
Hormonal imbalances affect many millions of people worldwide, in the forms of diabetes, thyroid disorders, menstrual irregularities, infertility, low testosterone and estrogen dominance.
Symptoms can be chronic fatigue, feeling anxious, depressed, gaining or losing weight, low sex drive, increased appetite and not sleeping well.
In most cases, causes for hormonal imbalances are an unhealthy diet or lifestyle, poor gut health, inflammation, high amounts of stress, genetic susceptibility, and toxicity.
Hormones as cortisol, estrogen, testosterone, adrenaline or insulin are extremely important chemical messengers and travel in your bloodstream to tissues and organs.
I will tell you how they work and what you should do to balance them:
This is the primary female sex hormone, but it also occurs in men. Estrogen is responsible for bone building and mineral absorption, as well as women’s menstrual cycles. Estrogen is also important for the health of the skin, brain, and cardiovascular system. Nearly 80% of all women have an estrogen dominance, which is often a result of too much alcohol, red meat consumption, or environmental compounds such as phthalates or parabens. Signs of estrogen dominance include cellulite, water retention, excess weight carried in the hip and thigh region, an increase in breast size, irritability, and ovarian cysts. Estrogen deficiency can cause irregular menstruation, lack of menstruation, mood swings, lack of sexual desire, an inability to become pregnant, and early menopause.
How to balance estrogen:
- Estrogen dominance can be best controlled by limiting red meat and alcohol.
- To lower estrogen levels naturally, eat more veggies and high-fiber foods. The fiber will help remove the estrogen from your body.
- Reduce red meat intake
- Cut back on alcohol and caffeine intake
- Try to eat clean and eliminate processed foods
Known as the primary male sex hormone, it is also present in the female body. In women, it contributes to the libido and is responsible for many of the changes women go through during puberty, including acne.
Testosterone deficiency in women is most commonly identified by a lack of libido, physical inability to become aroused, abnormally dry skin, and increasingly brittle hair.
How to balance testosterone:
- Zinc is known to aid in the production of testosterone. Foods high in zinc include pumpkin seeds, meat, dark chocolate, oysters.
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid sugar, caffeine and excessive dairy
Insulin is a hormone created by your pancreas and which helps regulate blood sugar in your body. The more sugar in your diet, the more resistant your body becomes to the action of insulin, which means you store more calories as fat. Storing fat in the belly, love handles, and upper arms is a telltale sign of insulin resistance, as are intense cravings for sugary foods. Avoiding foods made with refined sugar and flour will go a long way in improving insulin levels.
How to balance insulin naturally:
- Get enough protein and healthy fats
- Stop eating all the time
- Eat low-glycemic carbs (whole grains, beans, non-starchy veggies)
- Try to avoid high-glycemic foods
- Eliminate added sugars from your diet
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol
If you are stressed, your body produces cortisol to regulate the response to stressful situations. Unfortunately, excess cortisol puts you at increased risk of heart disease, and it also causes you to store visceral fat around your internal organs, which often appears as excess belly fat. The so-called stress hormone cortisol can create all kinds of trouble for women who want to shed weight. When cortisol rises, it encourages the conversion of blood sugar into fat for long-term storage.
How to balance cortisol naturally:
- Reduce your stress levels!
- Avoid coffee, energy drinks or any sort of caffeine and switch from coffee to tea
- Slow down, breathe deeply, and pay attention to what you’re doing
- Chew thoroughly and eat slower
- Taking a magnesium supplement or B vitamin
- Consistently better, longer sleep
Leptin is produced by the body’s fat cells and its primary function is to tell a part of our brain (the hypothalamus) that we’re satiated, or full. Our modern diet is saturated with a type of sugar called fructose, found in many processed foods (everything from pasta sauce to salad dressings). When too much fructose floods your body, your body stores it as fat. This leads to an excess of leptin; when one has too much leptin it’s possible to become leptin resistant, meaning your body no longer can tell if you’re full or not—and you keep eating and gaining weight.
How to balance leptin naturally for weight loss:
The most important point about balancing your leptin levels is getting enough sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, your leptin levels are lower and you don’t feel as satisfied after you eat. Harvard studies show that sleep deprivation reduces leptin levels and actually increases your body’s desire for sugary and fatty foods. Therefore, make sleep a priority, just like eating healthy and exercising regularly.
Ways to balance your hormones naturally:
- Stop taking hormonal birth control. That pill and all other forms of hormonal birth control create a cascade of hormonal imbalance in your body by creating nutritional deficiencies and disrupting gut bacteria.
- Eat an anti-inflammatory diet
- Get enough sleep
- Avoid artificial light as much as possible after the sun goes down
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid stress
- Eat more high-fibre foods like veggies and complex carbs (Ninety-seven percent of the U.S. population does not get enough fiber in their diet)
- Take Omega 3 supplement or eat more Omega 3 rich foods such as fish, grass-fed meats, and chia seeds
- Add herbs to your diet
- Get out and take a walk around the block a couple of times a week. This will help get you the exercise you need, as well as the sunshine your body craves.
- Eat probiotic foods or take a probiotic supplement
- Decrease your sugar, glucose and fructose intake by eating little to no added sugar.
- Avoid harmful chemicals found in pesticides, plastics, household cleaners and make up.