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The Cortisol Connection – How stress affects your hormones

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
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11 signs you are in Perimenopause

‘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.

Nicki Williams11 signs you are in Perimenopause
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Why we should all try Mindful Eating

Do you eat breakfast in the car on the way to work or at your desk reading your emails?

Or scoff down your lunchtime sandwich while on the phone or on Facebook?

You probably eat on auto-pilot, not even registering what you are putting into your body. It’s just food, and you’re way to busy to pay it any attention, right?

While we have been so focused on WHAT we are eating, we have rarely questioned HOW we are eating.

Nicki WilliamsWhy we should all try Mindful Eating
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How to survive Christmas without piling on the pounds

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
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What’s the skinny on fat?

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).

Nicki WilliamsWhat’s the skinny on fat?
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How to tell if you have a hormone imbalance

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
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Why controlling insulin is the key to weight loss

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
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You Know You’ve Hit Perimenopause When…

by Angie Macdonald
Nicki WilliamsYou Know You’ve Hit Perimenopause When…
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Feeling the heat? Don’t sweat it! How to cope with hot flushes.

During the summer months, we can all feel the heat. But if you’re a woman going through perimenopause, hot flushes and night sweats can be a nightmare!

From the age of 35 onwards, our hormones can start to fluctuate. Oestrogen and progesterone start to decline as our ovaries live out their usefulness. But during this time oestrogen can be on a roller coaster, swinging from high to low. And it’s during the low times that we can get hot flushes (or flashes) and increased sweating at night. It’s thought that 70% of women at this time will suffer!

Nicki WilliamsFeeling the heat? Don’t sweat it! How to cope with hot flushes.
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5 hormone balancing foods that help you lose weight

Most people ask me what foods they need to eat (or not eat) to lose weight. Anyone can lose a few pounds on a diet, only to put it back on as soon as the diet’s over (and more usually!).

The key to lasting weight loss, especially for women over 40 is hormone balance. If your hormones are out of whack, you will find it almost impossible to lose weight and keep it off. Nourish and look after your hormones and they will repay you with a body that will look and feel great.

Nicki Williams5 hormone balancing foods that help you lose weight
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