Our hormones can play havoc with our body and interfere in so many things if they are off centre and out of balance in our body- weight loss being a major one. Menopause, thyroid and even your genetics play a part in your body's hormones.
Balancing hormones to support weight loss tips:
Reduce your caffeine -
Stick to a cup a day if you love your morning coffee. Caffeine raises cortisol levels as soon as it enters the body. The production of cortisol stimulates more cortisol to be produced.
Cortisol basically stops fat burning and can pack fat onto your midsection. Not good for weight loss!!! Cortisol competes with progesterone to latch on to the same receptor sites and surprise surprise, cortisol will always win! Progesterone is the hormone responsible for holding onto pregnancies (think pro – gestation) and we need a nice ratio of progesterone to oestrogen to help reduce those symptoms of PMS, endometriosis, early menopause and painful periods among other imbalances.
Reduce your stress -
Again putting your body under the strain of too much stress has you constantly in “fight or flight” mode- will spike cortisol and stop the fat burning.
Cut sugar from your diet as much as poss -
Sugar encourages weight gain, and fat cells manufacture oestrogen, creating an oestrogen overload in your body. A high sugar diet full of processed floury goods, sugary treats and fizzy drinks also contributes towards inflammation in the body (which can cause symptoms of PMS, mess with your thyroid, make menopause so much worse and worsen sugar cravings). It also dampens and weakens the immune system (some research shows endometriosis is linked to immune dysfunction) and leeches important vitamins from your body. You don’t want to be losing essential nutrients such as B vitamins as they are crucial for happy hormones, good thyroid production, happy mood, happy weight balance, and even happy digestion.
Look at your diet -
Phytoestrogens are foods that contain natural oestrogen-type substances and can have a hormone-balancing effect for Women. Try to have 1-3 servings of phytoestrogens each day.
Here is an extended list of Phytoestrogens foods would be:
- Organic Tempeh
- Organic Miso
- Kidney Beans
- Sesame & Sunflower Seeds
- Citrus Fruits
- Gluten Free Oats
- Runner Beans
- Mung Beans
- Rye Bread (try a nice gluten free sourdough rye)
- Hazelnuts & Peanuts
- Sage, Fennel & Parsley
Phytoestrogens reduce the toxic oestrogens in your body and stimulate your liver to produce sex-hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), which controls how much oestrogen and testosterone circulates in your blood. Really beneficial for menopausal women, those struggling with thyroid issues or even those just looking to balance hormones simply and manage PMS symptoms. All these foods support a weight loss plan nicely too.
How is your gut health -
Symptoms of female hormonal imbalances can present themselves in s many different ways- anxiety, depression, fatigue, achy joints, fluid retention, weight gain (this is a big one) bloating, sugar cravings and irritability, they can all be linked back to digestive issues. Hormones are made by the body using amino acids (or proteins) taken from the food we eat. The gut is one of our major endocrine glands, producing many hormones that affect our sleep, mood, appetite, digestion, energy and reproductive health. So if you’re eating a less than wholefood diet full of additives, sugar, and fried fatty foods then your symptoms probably make sense. Focus on nutritious, nutrient dense foods.
Eat lots of Cruciferous vegetables and fibre -
Brassica vegetables are really high in fibre and improve liver detoxification. These vegetables are best eaten slightly steamed or stir-fried as if eaten raw they can inhibit thyroid function due to the glucosinolates acting as goitrogens (or anti-nutrients). Do not boil them though you will lose all or most of the beneficial nutrients.
Here is an extended list of the Cruciferous vegetables:
- Bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
- Chinese cabbage
- Collard greens
- Daikon radish
- Maca (you can add a spoonful of the powder to your morning smoothie)
- Mustard greens
- Wasabi (the real kind, not the sugary pretend kind from your sushi takeaway!)
The fibre in fruits and vegetables helps to prevent your body reabsorbing recycled oestrogenic chemicals (such as plastics and pesticides) and encourages the swift elimination of toxins and old hormones out of your bowels.
- Look at your everyday environment -
There are hormone disruptors and toxins everywhere. There are so many chemicals In the things we use every day - Many of these act like hormones and can disrupt a fragile endocrine system. They often mimic the role of oestrogen and can stimulate oestrogen-sensitive tissue. They are classified as xenoestrogens (meaning oestrogenic compounds from outside rather than inside our bodies). Try swapping plastic water bottles for glass, plastic containers for china or glass, take a look at your laundry detergents and some products you have in your home i.e. candles, room sprays, air fresheners etc.