Nutrition, and lifestyle factors that effect our Hormones and Weight as we age if can feel so overwhelming
I had a conversation with a couple of girlfriends the other night about our hormones, there is so much information out there and they were saying how confusing it can be, one had said I’m not sure what to do I just want to feel like myself again and not gain anymore weight through menopause and beyond.
Boy! I don’t miss those days at all, but as we age and hit peri-menopause, our hormones are on that roller coaster ride up and down and cause all the hot flashes, which leads to sleepless nights.
Menopause can be a very frustrating and challenging time in our lives for sure.
Our hormones start declining when we are about 35, and by 51-52 menopause typically starts, but can start much earlier or later for some women. Women don’t always know they are going through peri-menopause it just sneaks up on us sometimes.
We soon figure it out when we get brain fog, anxiety, low sex drive, hot flashes and weight gain, and that shift of weight to our middle.
Progesterone helps to plump up the skin, and relaxes us, it is our peaceful hormone.
My doctor never told me that to much sugar, alcohol, caffeine, our gut health, plus chronic stress, can cause hormone imbalance.
Yes, lifestyle and what we eat really does effect our hormones.
Stress and progesterone
Our bodies naturally produce progesterone, what happens is when we are under high stress pushing the pedal to the floor which equals (high cortisol) When the adrenals are stressed the increased need for cortisol depletes progesterone levels as more progesterone is shunted to make cortisol. This then makes our progesterone super low compared to estrogen, and out of balance.
Keeping stress hormones (cortisol) in that goldilocks range as we don’t want it stealing our progesterone which is already low at menopause.
I know for me when I was running marathons in my 50’s and not sleeping my cortisol was chronically high, my progesterone even though I was on hormones was barley detectable.
I learned so much the hard way, years of no sleep created such turmoil, causing low energy for me, and even my bone density became low, which was very scary to me as I said I need to be able to walk when I’m older…
Too much progesterone can also be a problem too as some women think more is better…we only need tiny amounts of hormones.
Signs of excess progesterone can be craving sugar, and weight gain.
When we have healthy gut it has a strong connection with balanced hormones…
When I was going through menopause I never really thought about my gut health, I was eating an optimal diet when going through menopause BUT I had very high stress going on.
Some things to keep in mind for creating hormone balance, as all our hormones need to be in balance for us to feel optimally.
- Our adrenals take over making our hormones when our ovaries shut down at menopause. If our adrenals are exhausted from prolonged stress before we hit menopause or peri-menopause they might not be able to meet the demand produce more hormones
- Regular bowl movements is important, as constipation causes hormone imbalance
- Stress: keep in the goldilocks range, walk leisurely, deep breathing, garden, dance, walk with pets, read a good book, nap, and fun time, get out in the sunshine every day if you can.
- Watch for BPA, and Phytates found in many plastics can mimic estrogen and work against us and our testosterone levels.
- Yes, Pesticides can cause testosterone to drop
- Cut down on Sugar and alcohol as they can worsen hot flashes, and disrupt hormones
- Good sleep, really does help us
- Coffee can trigger hot flashes and not sleeping well, it can disrupt blood sugar balance.
- Having sufficient protein at meals is helpful, it balances out your blood sugar
- Eating an abundance of leafy green, and fibrous veggies as they help with detoxing excess estrogens and good bowl movements as well. Dr Cabeca, and other hormone doctors have talked about veggies, as we don’t eat enough of them or as many as we think.
- Eat some fruit a couple of servings a day, are good for you they give you extra fiber as well…which slows down the sugar in them.
- Flax seeds: to optimize hormones and help with hot flashes…help some women. I like to grind my own fresh.
- Maca: it is an adaptogen Helps to balance the hormones and adrenals it is also a very alkalizing root. I use this still every day.
- Vitex: (Chase tree berry) Is hormone balancing, helps PMS, also helps to increase progesterone.
- Lift weights (resistance training) 2-3 days a week. Keeps us strong, helps to optimize the metabolism, giving us that nice toned look, raises mood, helps bone density as well.
- High intensity interval training can be very beneficial as well, 1-2 days a week and can decrease apettite.
I’m trying a new glute workout I love it so far for nice strong lifted glutes this muscle help us with so many things as I have one side not as strong as the other and causes me problems.
*I always took the bottles of herbs and supplements to my doctor to check out, as I have Hashimoto’s and she approved. I’am not a doctor and this information I give form my own exerrpeince and things I learned from education. Always consult your doctor.
A simple template I find really helps me to maintain my weight and helped me lose fat as well, when I switched my diet to more fibrous veggies, leafy greens moderate palm size portion of protein at 3 meals, starchy carbs to my tolerance, usually a 1/2 cup serving or 1 small sweet potato, or butternut squash etc…at dinner. Plus a thumb of fat at my meals about 16 grams, depends. I also do well with a 1/2 cup of berries or small banana at breakfast, especially if I work out.
The way I eat is not low carbohydrates, it is controlled amount of starchy carbs for my body. But eating all the veggies I eat, and small amount of fruit, and big salads is not low carb. but is low in refined carbs and sugar.
We are all unique so even though this works for me, it may not work for you. But if you are eating a lot or starchy carbohydrates, breads, pastas, sugar and alcohol etc…try less and see what happens, not none.
Walking on all days or other relaxing activities is one of the best things we can do for ourselves in the menopausal years to lower or stress as we are more stress reactive now at this time in our lives, stress is part of life it is if it is chronically high that it is a problem.
First I’m super excited to announce I’m launching on February 26th a FREE challenge called “Outsmart Your Menopause” a 5 day training where I’m going to help with the questions I have been asked most about our hormones and nutrition, sleeping sounder, energy, stubborn weight, exercising smarter. I will be doing a live video each day.
You can find out more about it —>> HERE . Or at above link.