In part 1, we talked about some signs that you might be dealing with hormone imbalances. In this article, we’re going over some of the key hormones that cause various symptoms and the steps you can take to start re-balancing them.
Cortisol and Insulin
These are the two significant regulators of fat and sugar storage and burning. Together they affect how well you burn fat, how easily you store fat, what you crave, and how you perceive hunger. And good news: You have the most control over these two hormones with diet and lifestyle.
Cortisol should be high in the morning then steadily decrease throughout the day. You can see in the chart below that the patient’s cortisol levels are too low, which shows up as chronic fatigue, fat storage, and cravings. High cortisol is associated with hard-to-lose belly fat, sugar cravings, and trouble falling asleep.
Insulin’s job is to pull sugar from the blood and store it as fat or use it as fuel. It is impacted by the type of carbs we eat, stress levels, and meal frequency. Over time, elevated cortisol in combination with high insulin will cause you to store fat around your midsection.
Too Much Estrogen and/or Low Progesterone
This is one the most common imbalances I see and it is often overlooked. It is possible for women of all ages — even through and beyond menopause — to be estrogen dominant in relation to progesterone. This can show up as weight gain (especially around the butt, hips, and thighs), mood swings, anxiety, irritability, fatigue, irregular periods, and PMS.
Depending on your imbalance, you might have a more targeted protocol to follow. For most women, the following tips will make a huge difference and give you the jumpstart you need to supporting your hormones, regardless of running tests or taking a ton of supplements.
1. Balance blood sugar.
Focus on protein, plenty of healthy fats, and fiber with every meal and avoid snacking and “grazing” between meals.
2. Sleep more.
While you sleep, your body is hard at work – removing toxins, repairing tissue, producing hormones, and lowering inflammation. Eight hours of consistent sleep should be a priority for balancing hormones and fat loss.
3. Cut back on caffeine.
This will help to lower the stress burden on your body.
4. Ditch hormone-disrupting foods.
This includes alcohol and foods that contain ingredients like processed sugar, inflammatory fats, soy, and processed dairy.
5. Don’t ignore your gut.
You can’t have healthy hormones with an unhealthy gut. Make sure you’re having regular bowel movements daily and address any signs of bloating, diarrhea, constipation, gas, and acid reflux.
6. Slow down.
Put less on your to do list, eating in a relaxed state, and taking time for yourself throughout the day. Eat slower to let hormonal signals get through, letting you know when you’re full and avoid over-stressing insulin.
7. Take adaptogens.
These are herbs that help your body to cope more effectively with the demands of everyday life and offer support to your adrenals.
Do you feel like your hormones are impacting your mood, energy, and fat loss efforts?
If you want to dig a little deeper, you can contact Megan at firstname.lastname@example.org
for a hormone balancing meal plan and extra support.