Are your weight-loss attempts being hindered by your hormones?
I can’t tell you how many clients show up at my ‘Skype door step’ complaining of an inability to lose weight. There are some more obvious solutions relating to general diet that I’ve talked about before (see below), and I will preface that eating bags of chips and loads of sweets will certainly hinder your weight-loss.
- Manage your blood sugar (15 Brilliant Tips To Eat Less Sugar)
- Paying special attention to your liver (Is This One Thing Preventing Your Weight-Loss)
- Starting your day with protein (My Fave Smoothie Recipe)
But what happens when you feel as if you’re doing everything right – you’re hitting the gym, and you’re even watching your carb intake. Don’t people tell you that the weight should just “fall right off”? Why doesn’t that happen?
Well, a missing piece could very well be your hormones, which are a tricky piece to the health puzzle. I like this image here that shows the different hormones and how they are all interrelated.
In general, the first step of a hormonal imbalance actually comes from prolonged stress, and this stress could even have been a while ago. Although the stressful period is over now, unfortunately your body doesn’t necessarily repair itself without extra steps. Maybe someone you were close to passed away, maybe you had a crappy breakup (or were/are in a terrible relationship), maybe you’ve been in overdrive at the gym or maybe you have/had a job that is or was mega stressful. If you were able to cope with the stress, your body recovers; but, if the alarm bells were on for a long time, that’s where a problem arises.
When your cortisol (stress hormone) is out of balance, symptoms that you experience1 might be something like this:
- A ‘tired but wired’ feeling – you know you need to sleep but you’re WIDE awake
- A real loss of stamina – getting through the regular things like making dinner, or going to the gym has now become a struggle
- Brain fog like none other – you are seriously thinking of being tested for early onset Alzheimer’s
- Crazy cravings – like…GET ME A BAG OF CHIPS, NOW.
- A lacklustre sex drive – you’d rather do dishes and clean the house.…
- Pesky belly fat that won’t go away – no matter how many sit-ups
The extra cortisol that your body is releasing in response to the stress you’ve experienced tells your body to store fat, lose muscle and slow your metabolism. But here’s the real kicker: cortisol regulates the levels of other hormones including your thyroid (which keeps you slim) and your estrogen (which also keeps you slim, happy and clear headed). So, if left unmanaged for a while, your thyroid and sex hormones also become out of balance, and excess estrogen is a ticket to weight-gain in the hips, butt and thigh area.
If you’ve put on excess weight in the hips, butt and thighs specifically, estrogen and progesterone are to blame. The most common cause is that your estrogen is higher than it should be in relation to progesterone – this is something called estrogen dominance.
Other common signs of estrogen dominance:
- Very heavy periods – you’re going through a super tampon in <2-3 hours
- Terrible cramping – you are popping the Advil like it’s your job
- Breast tenderness – you can’t WAIT to get home to take your bra off
- Water retention / puffiness – your ankles or knees are swollen, and maybe even your face feels a bit puffy
Estrogen is the hormone responsible for your lovely lady humps (your curves), and the more you have, the higher the likelihood to excess weight.
As you can see, there is a lot to know about hormones, and this post is just the beginning.