"You just need to eat less and exercise more"...
Have you ever heard the words “Eat Less and Exercise More” in response to your concerns about recent weight changes in your body? Was it your doctor, mother, boyfriend or spouse? Did it frustrate you? Have you been trying this method and getting absolutely zero results?
When it comes to hormone health and weight loss, extreme low calorie diets and endless cardio is NOT the answer. In fact both can significantly sabotage your weight loss efforts. Sure calories and strength training do matter when it comes to weight loss. However, if you ignore the quality of those calories and cardio yourself to death then you are going to be on a hellish hormone ride of your life. (For the sake of brevity I will be focusing on diet. Stay tuned for part II where I will discuss high stress cardio).
Here’s the rub. If you are a woman sustainable weight loss has to work with your hormones not against them. A women’s response to calorie restriction is vastly different from a man’s – don’t we know it. Your body is very sensitive to anything that remotely resembles STARVATION. Sorry, I’m getting passionate over here. I’m tired of seeing beautiful women in tears in my office because they were put on a strict, low carb, low calorie inject-this-potion-in-your-butt program that messed with their metabolic rate leaving them feeling sad and hopeless.
There is another way and it doesn’t require starvation, zero carbs or becoming a “breathatarian” (yes that IS a thing).
What happens when we severely restrict calories or carbs...
Here’s the lowdown on quick fix diets:
- Hunger hormones revolt – causing you to feel extremely hungry all the time
- Cortisol increases – causing the following crazy making symptoms
- You start to feel like everybody and everything is pissing you off
- You feel like your muscle has turned to fat in a matter of months
- You will kill for the last “plain” donut in the office break room (you hate plain)
- You are bone tired but your brain is buzzing and you can’t fall asleep
- You wake up at 3 am and can’t fall back to sleep
- Thyroid hormone levels decrease causing other awesome symptoms :
- You seem to be gaining more weight since you started
- You worry about ALL things, you jump when the toaster pops up – you freak out on family or friends at the most inopportune time
- You gain more weight, become constipated and lose your hair
- Serotonin (happy hormone) decreases
- You find yourself second guessing every decision you make
- You wonder where your confident self has gone
- You may find it difficult to make eye contact
- You experience emotional outbursts at little things
- You have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep
- You notice that your once optimistic self has become pessimistic
How long can you out wit, outsmart or override your bodies starvation signals? The answer is not very long. So many women I see manage to restrict their calories all day long only to overeat at night. It doesn’t matter how much will power you have. When your body revolts in an intense fashion there’s no competition. Your body will win.
Does this mean that you are destined to feel fat, frumpy and frazzled for the rest of your life? Absolutely not. You can balance your hormones with food, stress management and at times good quality supplements or bio-identical hormone replacement. You have to create a lifestyle that YOU can follow. Setting massive life goals that aren’t sustainable will just kick you in the butt making you blame yourself (again).
Working against your hormones will only leave you feeling tired, stressed and miserable.
What’s the answer then? You need to focus on balancing your blood sugar and insulin levels by choosing the right plan for you. Your plan must focus on getting enough protein, fibre and healthy fat. It’s important to note that you do need some healthy carbohydrate to keep blood sugars balanced, to allow your brain to make enough happy chemical and to keep your stress hormone happy. Chronic blood sugar lows will make you feel cranky, hungry, tired and irritable.
Quick Tips for Setting Reasonable Goals for Hormone Balance:
- Set manageable, actionable goals: week one – clean out the fridge, week two – buy ingredients for a high protein breakfast, week three – batch cook for five lunches
- Make time for yourself to de-stress: week one – walk in nature three times, week two – download a meditation app, week three – get a massage
- Get support so that you have a plan of action. Find a professional who knows exactly what you need to balance your meals and snacks that support hormone health.
- Find out what your symptoms are telling you: Find a professional who specializes in hormone health. Get saliva tests. Find out exactly what is out of balance so you’re not fighting an uphill battle.
The Key is Balance
The most important thing you can do for yourself is to learn how to read your hormone symptoms, where to get help and what steps to take to bring them back into balance.
When it comes to nutrition and life-style change you have to find an approach that is sustainable. You can’t eat only meat and greens, cut all carbs, fast for 12 hours or try any number of quick fix solutions and expect your hormones to be balanced. You have to understand exactly what will work for you.
A weight loss plan that does work is specific to your hormone issues, do-able, actionable and achievable within you own ability to manage the changes. The benefits of taking bio-identical hormones, supplements or shakes cannot be realized if your diet keeps messing up your hormone balance. Try to make one or two changes at a time. If you do too much at one time you will undoubtedly fail and start the whole cycle all over again. Be easy about it. Ask for help. Get support.
The Body Beautiful Weight Loss & Nutrition Program
If you want to know the simple formula for losing weight and balancing your hormones successfully without eating such a restrictive diet that you turn into a nasty, moody hormonal crazy woman, then check out my upcoming Body Beautiful Weight Loss and Nutrition Program. It will provide you with way more than a dietitian approved personalized meal plan
You will learn things like:
- Which foods restore sleep and fuel your metabolism
- How to up-regulate your hormones so your body goes into fat burning mode.
- How and what to prepare on weekends to save you TIME and MONEY.
- How to choose supplements that actually work to balance your mood and sleep
- How to lose that particular annoying BELLY fat
Sound like something you need in your life?
Early bird enrollment is happening now. Just think in 12 weeks you might feel better than you have in years (or maybe ever). Click here to find out more.
I won’t lie, there is work involved. You will have to make one to two goals a week and spend some time in the kitchen (But you won’t have to make any weird health food)!
But it will all be worth it when:
- You begin to feel like your energy increases almost immediately so you can do those things you’ve been putting off like riding lessons, travel or even book club.
- You can actually break out that secret drawer of skinny clothes you were saving for “one day”.
- Feel your mood becoming more stable so you don’t feel like every little thing is going to make you cry or freak out.
- Feel confident in social situations because you no longer have to worry about finding something in your closet that hides your body. Instead you can strut into a room and rock your new outfit.
The Body Beautiful Program will help you get all these results and more.