As women age, they all wonder why they are exercising and eating right and still; it is hard to lose weight.
You probably do everything as you should, and still, that is not enough you have difficulties staying fit.
However, if you are entering menopause or perimenopause you should know that a your hormonal fluctuations are part of your weight gain. In order to find out if you have hormonal imbalance you need to know what it is, what causes it and what are the symptoms.
What Is Hormonal Imbalance?
Hormonal imbalance is the result of the dominance of a certain hormone, for example estrogen. To be more accurate, when the normal ratio between progesterone and estrogen is out of balance.
This happens because estrogen is not properly broken down by the liver in a particular process called methylation. The liver requires several key ingredients to break down the excess estrogen those ingredients are B12, vitamin B6, and folic acid B9.
To explain things better, your progesterone levels should be balanced with your estrogen levels. And with a hormonal imbalance that is not the case.
Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance
- Irregular or heavy periods
- Hot flashes
- PMS symptoms (cravings, headaches, tender breasts, migraines, moodiness, cramping).
- Insomnia or poor sleep
- Fibrocycstic breasts
- Hair loss
- Low energy and fatigue
- Weight gain (around your stomach).
- Depression, anxiety, and irritability
- Low libido
- Infertility (not permanent – fertility comes back when there is a hormonal balance).
6 Causes of Hormonal Imbalance
1. Long term hormonal imbalances
2. Oral contraceptive pill – this pill depletes the nutrients B12, B9, and B6 that are crucial for maintaining hormonal balance and metabolizing estrogen.
3. Erratic menstrual cycles
4. Childbirth- hormones are not properly regulated by the body after birth
5. Prolonged periods of stress
6. Artificial or synthetic estrogens in foods we consume
Read on to find out which 4 hormones affect your weight – insulin, estrogen, leptin and cortisol and how to balance these hormones naturally to lose weight and feel great again.
The pancreas creates the hormone insulin that regulates your blood sugar (glucose). If you are overweight or ‘skinny fat’ (have visceral fat around the organs) then your glucose regulator the insulin is off balance, and you will have difficulties losing weight.
Also, if throughout the day you consume sugary foods in that way your insulin works over time, because it is trying to remove the sugar that is found in your blood.
How to Balance Insulin
The insulin stores the extra sugar as fat. According to Dr.Gottfried you can regulate your blood sugar first thing in the morning, you just need to drink 2 tbsps. of apple cider vinegar with water.
Another alternative is to consume 16 oz of water on a daily basis before your breakfast. There are other ways to balance your levels of insulin:
- Eliminate added sugars in your diet
- Include protein with every meal
- Eat low glycemic carbs like non-starchy veggies, beans, and fruits
- Eat more often, but healthy and small meals.
Estrogen helps the development of your hips and breasts. There is a connection between weight gain and estrogen in menopause. When you are in menopause, the levels of all hormones decrease, and this also includes progesterone and estrogen.
The dominance of estrogen can lead to weight gain during menopause.
How to Balance Estrogen
According to Dr. Gottfried, you can eat one pound of veggies on a daily basis. That will help you to remove the excess estrogen from your body.
Also, on a daily basis, you can consume 35 to 45 grams of fiber. Make sure to increase the amount slowly, so you won’t have to deal with an upset stomach.
- To promote detoxification, you can exercise on a daily basis
- Reduce your intake on red meat
- Avoid processed foods and eliminate excess sugar
The fat cells in our body produce leptin. The primary function of this hormone is to send signals to the hypothalamus (part of the brain) that we are full or satiated.
Nowadays, our diet is saturated with fructose (a type of sugar) which is part of many processed foods from salad dressings to pasta. When there is a high amount of fructose in your body, what your body does is that it stores it as fat.
And that causes an excess of leptin; there is the possibility of becoming leptin resistant in case of a high amount of leptin in the body. That means that your body can no longer tell when you are full, and that leads to no control over your eating and gaining weight.
How to Balance Leptin
A crucial component when it comes to balancing the levels of leptin is to get enough sleep. Your leptin levels are low when you do not get the sleep you need and not even food can satisfy you.
According to the Harvard studies sleep deprivation leads to low leptin levels and increases your desire for fatty food or food rich in carbs.
If you think that the reason behind your weight gain is leptin imbalance, what you need to do is make sleep a priority.
Other ways to balance leptin:
- Exercise on a regular basis
- Consume more foods that are rich in omega 3 like chia seeds, fish, and grass-fed meats. Or simply take omega 3 supplements.
- Eat little or avoid added sugar and in that way decrease your intake on fructose.
This hormone regulates how your body responses to stressful situations. Because we live with fast pace, there is a constant stream of stressors, and most of us have an excess amount of cortisol.
The lead cardiovascular researchers from the University Medical Center, Netherlands reports that excess cortisol leads to higher chance of heart disease and visceral fat around your organs which appears as belly fat.
How to Balance Cortisol
What you need to do is reset how your body responds to stress. Gottfried says to replace coffee with tea. Or you can practice mindfulness.
This might sound weird to you, but it can help you. It is simple; you need to slow down, take a deep breath and pay attention to what you are thinking and feeling. Often we are in a rush and switching from one task to another that we forget that it can lead to increased stress.
Other ways to balance cortisol levels:
- Get longer and better sleep
- Take B vitamin or magnesium supplement
If you struggle to lose weight and you cannot do it, maybe the problem is hormonal imbalance. You need to consult a naturopath who specializes in hormones or a doctor and get some tests done.
The best results about hormones you can obtain through urine or saliva test. Or you look through the information above mentioned and try some techniques to bring your hormones back to balance.
Be more aware of your body. With proper hormone balance not only will you lose weight, but you will also feel healthy and happy.
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