Did you know there are over 100 identified hormones in the body? No wonder hormone balancing can get a bit tricky as we get older!
However after years of study and my own personal hormone journey, I have decided that there are 4 main ones that pretty much seem to control the important things for us women over 40 – energy, weight, metabolism, mood, brain function, sleep, stress, sex drive and skin/hair/nail quality.
We all know that stress is bad for us, and can even kill us! But did you know that it can ruin your hormones too? And your immune system, digestion, sex life and brain function?
The hormone behind many stress related issues is cortisol. Cortisol’s job is to keep us alive, so it’s pretty damn important! It’s released from the adrenal glands to wake us up in the morning, keep us alert during the day and help us manage any dangers or threats that come our way.
In caveman times, this would help save our lives from a lion attack or a famine. Our ‘fight or flight’ response would kick in – the brain would send a message to the adrenals to release adrenaline (the big initial rush), and cortisol (to keep us on high alert).
Nicki WilliamsThe Cortisol Connection – How stress affects your hormones
‘You’re going through perimenopause’, my Dad said in that infuriating matter of fact Doctor speak, like they see it every day. Well actually, he does see it every day, but hey I’m his daughter, I deserve a bit more sugar-coating!
Don’t be daft Dad, I’m only 42, and what the heck is perimenopause anyway?? I’m assuming it’s something to do with the menopause (I’m clever like that), and I’m way too young for that – so what on earth do you mean?
‘It’s the run up to the menopause’ he sighs, and apparently it can start at age 35 and go on for years! Actual menopause is when your periods have completely stopped for a year and the average age for that is still 51. BUT in the years running up to your periods stopping, your hormones can really cause havoc.
Your hormones can take a battering over the Christmas period. In return, they are likely to leave you a few gifts – some extra pounds around your waist, a foul mood and zero energy come January!
Let’s start with stress….
If you’re a woman with a family (and more than likely a busy job), Christmas is no doubt the most stressful time of year. You are super busy at the best of times, but add in the extra shopping, planning, cooking, relatives and the rest, it can be really hard.
Nicki WilliamsHow to survive Christmas without piling on the pounds
For YEARS, we’ve been told that fat MAKES YOU FAT.
Ever since the 1950’s when research came out that linked saturated fat and cholesterol with heart disease, the low-fat food industry has flourished and we have avoided dietary fat like the plague.
It’s so ingrained in us that most of us cringe at the thought of dripping or lard. Even BUTTER…! And never touch the chicken skin, OMG!
The very sad thing is that the original research that started this all off has been invalidated. It turns out that saturated fat is not the main cause of heart disease. If that was the case, some high-fat eating populations around the world would have been wiped out. (One of these is the Inuit tribe of Greenland – they still eat high amounts of saturated animal fats, and have very low levels of heart disease, diabetes and obesity).
If you’re a woman over 35, your hormones are starting to change.
These are the peri-menopausal years, transitioning you between your reproductive years and menopause when your cycle stops and you are no longer ovulating.
Not every woman is affected by this, but the majority of women will have at least some symptoms, even if they are mild. And many women suffer multiple symptoms at once. This is very common, as hormone balance is very delicate and one hormone can disrupt all the others.
Nicki WilliamsHow to tell if you have a hormone imbalance
That spare tyre around your middle – it just won’t go, no matter what diet you try or how much exercise you do?
Insulin is one of the hormones responsible. It’s our FAT STORING HORMONE! We absolutely need insulin – it has a life saving job of regulating our blood sugar levels, which need to be kept in a very narrow range, or it can be dangerous. But our diet and lifestyle can contribute to overly high levels of insulin, which can be problematic.
Nicki WilliamsWhy controlling insulin is the key to weight loss
If you’re a woman in your mid to late forties chances are you’ve noticed a few changes recently. Not only in your body, but your mind too. Welcome to the Perimenopause!
The good news is you’re not going crazy and you’re definitely not alone. Declining oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels during the perimenopause years create hormonal imbalance with a host of unpleasant symptoms.
Nicki WilliamsYou Know You’ve Hit Perimenopause When…