Do you ever feel strange? Almost like you aren’t quite yourself?
Does it feel like you body is changing into something you don’t understand?
At the age of 35, our hormones begin to change. What starts out as normal, begins to look like a horror movie episode. You look at the back of your legs in the mirror and you see dimples that didn’t used to be there. How about the growing waistline? Or the days you just can’t seem to pull yourself out of a funk? Well, unfortunately this is normal as we age but the good news is that we can fight back! It starts with gaining the knowledge to do it and making it a priority.
Let’s start with the definition of hormones. We all hear about them but how can they really affect our lives?
Hormones are chemical messengers that are released from your body’s endocrine glands and they travel through your blood to elicit a specific response on another gland, organ, tissue, or cell in your body. These messenger molecules are involved in almost every function of your body, and they are critical to your well-being.
If the balance is out – it can put the brakes on your metabolic engine and it doesn’t matter how little you eat or how much you exercise, the scales WONT move. There is a simple way to know your hormones are out of balance and it starts with listening to your body and asking yourself if you feel “different.” If the answer is yes, then it’s time to do some work.
Let’s look at the troublesome 4:
1. Cortisol – this is your main stress hormone, and it rules the roost when it comes to your other hormones. When your body is under stress, cortisol is released from your adrenal glands. If you have too much stress, and no time to switch it off, your cortisol levels can be high for far too long.
This can result in lots of symptoms including fatigue, mood swings, brain fog, and that ‘stress belly’ – that stubborn fat around the middle. This is part of your survival mechanism – your body will conserve its energy and put fat on in the abdomen which provides an easily accessible energy store for when it needs a fight/flight response. You can often tell a high stress person due to where they store their excess fat. As I started in my 40s, I noticed this was something that I struggled with personally and had to make changes to reduce this extra body fat, beginning with stress reduction.
The bottom line – when your body is under stress then it becomes hard to lose fat from your belly and really hard to stay energized and balanced.
Unfortunately, in the world we live in, high cortisol levels are very high and it is very difficult to lower these due to excessive work loads, kids at home, and not having enough time in the day to accomplish anything. I know I personally feel this more often than not.
2. Insulin – is a hormone secreted by the pancreas, it controls blood sugar levels in the body and is your fat storing hormone.
Insulin is typically surging all day with the typical American diet. Every time you eat something sugary, your blood sugar spikes putting you at risk for diabetes. You might feel a rush of energy but this is your body’s way of trying to tell you that something is off. If you are eating clean all day, your body will naturally have sustained energy to tackle all of life’s challenges. After the initial sugar crash, your energy levels plummet, your body stores more fat, and your mood is altered. I don’t know about you but this doesn’t sound pleasant to me.
3. Thyroid – this is your metabolism regulator. It turns your metabolism UP (into fat burning and high energy mode) or DOWN (fat storing and energy conservation mode) – it’s like a switch for your cells.
So if you’re feeling exhausted, anxious, sluggish and can’t shift any weight, your metabolism is likely to be slow, and it could be your thyroid not working like it should.
Choosing the right diet for your thyroid is important, especially if you are struggling with weight gain and would like to shed some unwanted fat. Eating selenium rich foods such as nuts, and magnesium found in green leafy vegetables are good options to start.
If you suspect your thyroid is off, it’s always a good idea to get tested.
4. Estrogen – estrogen not only gives you your female characteristics (and curves!), but it’s vital for your mood, energy, weight, brain, bones and heart!
After the age of 35, your levels start to fluctuate and decline. This can cause all sorts of symptoms including PMS, irregular or heavy periods, mood swings, fatigue, hot flushes, night sweats, brain fog, memory loss and anxiety. And when you have these kinds of symptoms going on, your body is going to be in stress mode, craving carbohydrates and once again storing fat!
Stress can also cause problems with this hormone due to the high production of cortisol. If you want to get this under control, fighting the cortisol production is key. Another important element is getting enough protein to help release hormone production due to the advantage of protein helping to control your appetite and your food intake for the day. Protein increases your feeling of satiety and helps your body to protect muscle, especially if you are trying to lose weight.
So what can you do about it? Here are a few tips to get you started on the right trail.
- Eat protein at every meal.
- Engage in regular exercise
- Eat less sugar and refined carbs.
- Manage stress.
- Eat a high fiber diet.
- Eat healthy fats.
- Avoid overeating and undereating.
- Drink green tea.
- Take omega 3s every day.
- Get good sleep – 7-8 hours.
- Stay away from sugary beverages.
Balancing your hormones can be somewhat of a challenge day to day but adding these new lifestyle changes will enable you to level out your hormones and start feeling yourself again. Basically eating a healthy diet, regular exercise and healthy habits can change your life around.
If you need help putting a program together, contact me. Just remember, you are never alone in your health journey.