Hormones are like chemical messengers, and govern nearly every cellular action in our body.
While very important, our sex hormones like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, are actually not essential for our survival.
They’re responsible for sexual functioning and fertility, as well as in more of a “beauty” capacity - keeping our skin, hair & nails vital and youthful looking.
Even though these 2 hormones are not essential for survival, when they are out of balance they can affect how well you build and keep muscle, and can also cause weight gain to gather in certain areas of our body.
On the other hand, stress hormones (like cortisol & epinephrine, also known as adrenaline) are critical to our survival because they synthesize proteins, maintain cellular electrolyte balance, regulate heartbeat and blood pressure, and transport glucose into our cells - essentially feeding our brain.
These hormones are so crucial, that in times of chronic stress, cortisol (the “hormone of stress”) will be made at the expense of sex hormones. No wonder we can start feeling whacked out at certain stages of life!
When cortisol is out of balance, due to high stress, weight typically gathers around the belly, also commonly known as “belly fat”.
So what happens when hormones stop playing well together?
We can often experience a ripple effect, even when there’s a slight hiccup in hormone function.
Also, due to the fact that the interconnected nature of your endocrine system, one hormonal imbalance can lead to an additional one, causing multiple symptoms and overlapping health issues.
For example, anything that can throw your digestion off has the ability to throw your thyroid hormone off, along with serotonin.
Another example is when you are stressed, its not only high cortisol you have to worry about (which the weight collects on your belly area), its also the fact that when your body is in a state of high stress and even high anxiety, that less progesterone gets produced, testosterone gets converted to estrogen, and this results in estrogen dominance, which can cause many hormonal symptoms (like PMS, painful periods, double periods in a month), hormonal issues and even lead to illnesses if its allowed to go on for a long period of time.
The 10 most common signs that you probably have a hormonal imbalance
Poor sleep - not being able to fall asleep or stay asleep
Fatigue that’s not alleviated by sleep
Night sweats and hot flashes
Resistant excess weight and body fat, especially around the belly, or hips
Low libido or sexual dysfunction. No desire to get frisky with your loved one. :(
Acne or other skin issues like dermatitis (red, itchy skin, or red, dry patches of skin)
PMS symptoms, painful periods, heavy
Foggy thinking (brain fog!) and difficulty concentrating, no focus, feeling scatter-brained,
Mental health issues - depression and anxiety in particular
Mood changes like irritability and anger
The main causes of hormonal imbalances
While there are many causes, here are the most common ones that have been identified:
- Age and stage of life- This is something we can’t control. There are things that we can do though to keep ourselves looking and feeling young and youthful. Yoga is known for its anti-aging effects on the body. I’m always amazed when I go to the YogaFit Mind Body Conferences and when we’re taking a course and someone who I thought was 30 or 40 shares their age and to my surprise they’re actually much older then I thought.
- Chronic stress- Stress has such an negative affect on our bodies and minds. If you do not do healthy things to release stress, that stress or the unhealthy habits that you may be doing to combat stress will take a toll on your body. This is why releasing stress in a healthy manner is so essential! Using aromatherapy, exercise, yoga and meditation and even eating right for your body and body’s health conditions is a must as you get older and take on more responsibilities in your life.
Are you feeling stressed? If you are concerned about stress in your life and would like to combat it in a healthy manner, lets discuss ways we can do that by booking an assessment to go over your health and wellness goals. CLICK HERE and Fill out one of our forms to book your assessment.
- Medications (e.g. the Pill, birth control needle or patch Depro-Provera)
- Toxins and endocrine disruptors like xenoestrogens- chemical products like dish soap, laundry detergent, cleaning products, perfume, make up are all made of chemicals that have chemicals. These chemicals get into our body by being absorbed through our skin and when we breathe them in. This is why it is important to use eco-friendly cleaning products, soaps and laundry detergent so you can eliminate xenoestrogens in your environment.
- Poor nutrition and lack of adequate key nutrients- Eating healthy and cleaning your body from the inside out with food is so essential not only for weight loss and boosting your energy, but also for optimal health!
What this means is eliminating fried fatty foods from your diet-truthfully it throws your digestion off meaning it will throw your Thyroid off along with other hormones as well.
This also means choosing organic dairy over non-organic dairy, as non-organic dairy is full of estrogens because farmers will give estrogens to the cows to produce more milk and grow big. This one was a hard one for me to accept, but after having double moon times (woman flow times) during a 1 month span, it was very frustrating and worry some because this is one of the symptoms before it becomes a female hormone illness. So when I cut the non-organic diary and ate foods and took supplements to balance out the estrogen dominance to a balance between the estrogen and progesterone hormones, reduce hip fat, and no more double periods in 1 month, and my cycle went back to normal, along with feelings of being more secure and calm knowing whats going on in my body.
- Blood sugar regulation problems- Believe or not, essential oils, supplements and healthy eating can actually help regulate your blood sugar. First though, you need to cut out white sugar!!! Among other things as well.
- Disrupted circadian rhythm
- Chronic inflammation (e.g. leaky gut & digestive system inflammation) If you have digestive issues like G.E.R.D. (also known as acid reflux and heart burn), Stomach Ulcer, IBS or constipation, are signs and symptoms of chrnoic inflammation in the body. If you are trying to lose weight, tone or just have more energy, it is essential to reduce your your inflammation naturally, as too much inflammation can actually hinder your weight loss and fat burning goals.
Simple ways to support and balance your hormones naturally
Eat whole foods: processed, packaged foods offering little to no nutritive value will also offer little to no fuel for your hormones.
Be sure to eat fresh over packaged foods, including plenty of vegetables, fruits, and quality sources of free range and grass fed meats and eggs. Also, if tolerated - nuts, seeds, and legumes in moderation.
Grains and dairy may cause or exacerbate hormonal problems for most people. Dairy
Cleansing/detoxing with food: Overtime, processed, fried and sugary foods that you have eaten have an effect on your digestive system as well as your hormones. Anything that throws your digestion off, has the ability to throw your hormones off too.
Detoxing is a great way to accelerate fat burning and weight loss. A food cleanse or detox can clean out your digestive system, boost your energy and can help reset and balance your hormones. CLICK HERE for YOUR FREE 10 Day DIY Body Rejuvenation Cleanse.
Eat more good fats: Good fats are essential for hormonal health because sex hormones need fat as a building block - and your body can only use the ones you give it.
Opt for sources of good fats from whole foods, such as avocados, raw nuts & seeds, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, real butter or ghee (grass fed preferable), wild-caught salmon, and free range eggs - yes, you can eat the yolks!
Exercise daily: Working out on a regular basis, engaging in resistance (or strength) training, and incorporating a specific workout called HIIT (high intensity interval training) has been proven to be especially beneficial for keeping our bodies AND our hormones fit.
Do you have fitness goals? Want to get into the best shape of your life? Or just improve your health and your hormones? Let’s sit down, and discuss your health and fitness goals, come up with a plan that fits your schedule and help you get started on feeling your best this year! Book a complimentary consultation by CLICKING HERE.
Better sleep: getting deeper, more restorative sleep can be the key to supporting your hormones, above all other measures (but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the other ones!)
Stress management & self-care: the truth is - stress can be devastating for hormonal health. When you get stressed, your body releases more of the hormone cortisol. When there is too much cortisol, this can show up as “stubborn” belly fat or weight around the waist and abdomen that can be hard to lose.
This can also show up in other ways too, such as anxiety, loss of appetite or not as hungry, and weight loss when you’re not trying to lose weight.
We need to equip ourselves to manage the stress and “business” of everyday life through the actions that bring back balance and wellbeing to our bodies AND our minds - like good nutrition, exercise, mindfulness and sleep!
Yoga, breathing techniques and meditation are great tools that we can use to combat and relieve stress. There have been studies to show amazing benefits that you can experience when you prace meditation or yoga.
One such study compared walking with yoga. The yoga group had increased improvements in mood, reduced anxiety scores, along with increased levels of GABA, which is a mood improving neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid. (Streeter et al.2010)
GABA is great for reducing anxiety. I use to take GABA in supplement form daily for reducing anxiety, but then I started doing yoga and haven’t really felt the need to buy the supplement anymore as I feel I get enough from doing Yoga.
Not only that, but yoga has many other benefits too such as anti-aging (on body and mind), better body tone, natural weight loss, improved posture, a strengthened immune system, and a stronger and more defined body.
Learn better coping mechanisms (like breathing techniques), , practice mindfulness and be sure to engage in daily self-care.
Book: Beth Shaw’s YogaFit
Book: The Super Charged Hormone Diet, Dr. Natasha Turner N.D.
Hormone-friendly Cho-Coco Fat Bombs
½ cup almond or other nut butter, no sugar-added (if nut-sensitive, use sesame tahini or sunflower seed butter)
½ cup virgin coconut oil
3 Tbs raw, unprocessed cacao powder
stevia, xylitol or monk fruit to sweeten to taste
silicone candy mould or mini-muffin pan
- splash of real vanilla extract or vanilla powder
- cinnamon or ginger
- pinch of Himalayan pink salt or Celtic grey salt
How to prepare:
In a large skillet melt coconut oil and nut butter over low heat.
Stir in cacao powder and desired sweetener.
Remove from heat and add vanilla (+ other add-ins), if using.
You may want to pour mixture into a “spouted” cup to make pouring easier.
Pour mixture into silicone candy molds or mini-muffin pan (about 1 Tb of mixture)
Put in freezer or fridge until set.
Remove from molds and store in the fridge in an airtight container.
Be mindful that each fat bomb is considered a full serving of fat - great for curbing the appetite, satisfying a sweet tooth and supporting your hormones with the building blocks they need!