Hormones and your weight.
As women, the issues we face with our hormones seem never ending, especially when our hormones are imbalanced. The worst part is, sometimes, we don’t even know what a hormonal imbalance looks like in ourselves.
What we see and feel:
Weight gain is still one of the biggest factors that women notice with their bodies; we try to eat well and exercise but we’re not losing weight, or we find we can move the weight, but it comes yo-yoing its way back.
Our body image and weight is not about what other people think or do or so-called social norms, which let’s be honest, at long last are starting to become more realistic. It’s actually about how you feel in yourself and what is your normal and how you like to look and feel.
It’s when you recognise but don’t truly want to see what’s staring back at you in the bathroom mirror. Thoughts of how did that happen and when did that happen? It kind of feels unfathomable that those subtle small changes you might have noted a few months ago are no longer looking subtle.
Good news though:
It could just be your hormones being out of whack! Again, stress plays a part in our hormone balance and helps or hinders weight loss. Basically, if you have been experiencing prolonged periods of stress this could be hindering your weight goals. Dr Sara Gottfried is a New York Times best-selling author and has over 25 years’ experience with gynaecology. In those 25 years, she’s found that weight loss resistance is nearly always tied to your hormones, especially in women.
While oestrogen is the dominant female sex hormone that does many, many things in your body, we don’t often think of Cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone. While not being a sex hormone, it certainly comes in a close second with what it does for and to, our bodies.
When we experience a hormonal imbalance, triggered in part by Cortisol, the issues have chain reaction, for example:
- Increased cortisol levels can lead to fat deposits in our stomach area and can increase PMS and therefore give new meaning to the term “short fuse”.
- Insulin levels are affected meaning you crave sugar as your body isn’t following through with its regularly scheduled programming.
- Thyroid function can even be affected, slowing down which can lead to fluid retention and a number of other issues, including feeling low and down.
- Oestrogen can end up dominant which puts off your cycle and messes with other hormone levels (NuWoman can help here)
- Leptin, the hormone that tells your brain that you’re full can even be off, meaning you are literally always hungry, and in some cases, hangry.
Generally, we think that weight loss or lack thereof, is because of physical factors like exercise and diet and but we don’t tend to think about the mental, emotional and social factors which directly affect us and so can directly affect our hormones.
So, when we have a lack of weight loss, this can often be tied to hormonal root causes as mentioned above. One other way of helping your hormone health, if you are concerned, is considering a thyroid check with your GP as the thyroid gland is a vital hormone gland which plays a major role in metabolism and helps regulate many essential bodily functions.
Managing your stress:
As women, we need to think about how you manage your stress? As too much stress (Hello Cortisol), if left unchecked, can wreak havoc on your body. To the point where cortisol starts to interfere with other hormones affecting brain chemicals like serotonin (your happy brain chemical), robbing you of your precious sleep and making you store fat, especially in the places you least want it – hello tummy tyre.
Unfortunately, loss of serotonin, lack of sleep and weight gain can lead to a negative self-image and possible other mental health issues. In fact, a study published in January 2020, notes that mental health concerns such as depression are impacted heavily by high cortisol levels. Stress could be making you sick – physically and emotionally.
The worst part is, with our weight, we tend to eat our feelings (it’s ok to do this sometimes, we all need that dopamine release that only chocolate or ice cream can bring). Battling your self-image by looking at the scale doesn’t help. Moderate what you eat, you’re allowed to eat fatty foods if you want, just don’t make them a daily addition to your diet.
One way to help your body adjust and start to find it’s rhythm again is by starting with your diet.
Some of the following could be a good way to start:
- Try to remove or at least reduce
- Processed foods (where affordable)
- Refined sugars.
- Refined carbohydrates
- Alcohol from your diet (even if it is a coping mechanism, it’s not helping your body)
Exercise is an essential part of balancing your hormones. However, putting more stress on your body by forcing it to move in areas like cardio and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) immediately can trigger more stress responses and leave you less likely to want to repeat.
Our suggestion would be to start slow and easy, casual walks, gradually increasing distance and speed as your body acclimatises. If classes or a mat at home suits you more, then Pilates is a great total body workout without putting stresses on your body. Focusing on trying to relax muscles which are tense and provide strengthening to your muscles with a focus on building your core muscle strength.
Or improve your flexibility and strength with Yoga. If it works for you then move into cardio areas such as gentle jogging or running if you feel this is what you can achieve.
Meditation or practising Mindfulness is something that can be simple and if it’s not something you have ever done before maybe now is the time. Meditation or Mindfulness may help support to alleviate the pressures and stresses of the day.
Putting everything aside and being present in the moment if only for a very short while can reduce your stress levels. It may only be that you start with 10 slow long breaths in and out and try to breathe lower in your abdomen area keeping your chest soft. Maybe now is a good time to just stop and take those breaths.
If you can tackle the stress part of your life, NuWoman can help you with the internal hormone balancing as when your hormones are in balance, neither too high or too low, you look and feel your best.
When your hormones are imbalanced (all of them included) you can feel miserable with issues such as mood swings, crazy emotional outbursts, fatigue, sugar cravings, weight gain issues, bloating, belly fat, anxiety or irritability.
If these imbalanced issues feel familiar, then maybe try NuWoman as the extra helping hand in your hormone balancing journey.
Don’t take our word for it though, check out the reviews here.
NuWoman is available from pharmacies, health food stores, Countdown Supermarkets nationwide.