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.
Pretty much after the age of 40, it’s your hormones that are generally in control of how you look, feel, think and perform, and unless you are looking after them, they will sabotage your weight loss efforts, keep your metabolism on hold and crash your energy levels.
Here’s my infographic hormone balancing guide;
1. Cortisol – your stress hormone – When your cortisol is out of balance (too high, low or variable) due to any kind of stress on the body, it can run riot over the other hormones, causing all kinds of symptoms including fatigue, belly fat, brain fog, memory loss, insomnia and many others. Our modern lives are full of stresses that we can’t switch off, increasing the demand for cortisol from your adrenal glands and putting pressure on all your other hormones.
2. Insulin – your blood sugar regulator AND fat storing hormone – Insulin is the primary hormone that keeps rising blood sugar levels under control. But our diet and lifestyle can contribute to blood sugar surges and dips, which can lead to fatigue, fat storing and sugar/carb cravings.
3. Thyroid – your metabolism regulator
Thyroid hormones are needed for every cell to function properly. They are like the thermostat for your metabolism, turning it up or down depending on what is needed. Low thyroid hormones can slow down your metabolism, crash your energy levels and make it very difficult to lose weight.
4. Oestrogen – your sex hormone
Over 70% of women experience changes and fluctuations in their hormones and menstrual cycles during the perimenopausal years (35-55). Oestrogen fluctuations and progesterone decline can result in all kinds of symptoms including hot flushes, PMS, breast tenderness, mood swings and memory loss.
THE BIG HORMONE INFLUENCES
Not only do our hormones decline as we age, they are also affected by our diet, lifestyle and environment.
- Diet – Food is information. It either feeds and nourishes your hormones or disrupts and stresses them. Hormones need a steady stream of nutrients for them to work efficiently. But many of us are eating the wrong foods and not supplying our hormones with the building blocks they need to work properly. We need adequate protein to produce and transport hormones, vitamins and minerals to help them metabolise and break down, good fats to help them work, antioxidants and phyto-nutrients to protect them, good carbohydrates, fibre and plenty of clean water to help them move around and detoxify.
We know how cortisol is released when we are stressed, and how it can make us fat, tired and downright miserable. Too much cortisol also uses up many of our nutrient stores. It rapidly depletes B vitamins and Vitamin C, as well as magnesium, all nutrients required for good hormone function and energy production. Which is why stress can be so exhausting!
Our lives today are much more toxic than ever before – in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat and the products we use. Many of these chemicals have been labelled ‘Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals’, as they can act as oestrogen mimics and disrupt mechanisms.
Exercise is a no-brainer for hormone health – without activity, our muscles waste away, our fat stores go up, our circulation stagnates and we are at much higher risk of serious disease. But it’s the quality and amount that’s really important. Too little or too much can be a stress on the body and wipe out some of the benefits. You need to find that sweet spot of ‘just right’ to make your hormones happy.
HORMONE LIFESTYLE SYSTEM
My 4 step Happy Hormone Code is a simple nutrition and lifestyle solution designed to get your hormones working for you, not against you.
It’s a culmination of many years of study and practice into the latest cutting edge research, tools and techniques into what works for hormone health.
Because when your Feisty 4 are nicely balanced, you will feel great. You will be at your ideal weight, full of energy, with balanced moods, a clear head and be able to handle stress with ease. Hormones need nutrient dense foods, rest and repair time, a clean environment and a healthy active body. If you follow these steps you can give your hormones the tools they need to look after you back.
Step 1 – EAT – Food is step one for a reason. It’s the one thing that you can do right away and you will see the difference really quickly. That’s because food directly affects our biochemistry and our hormonebalance – almost immediately.
More hormone friendly foods; Low GL, healthy fats, protein, loads of veg, fibre, organic, dark chocolate & filtered water.
Less hormone disrupting foods; sugar, processed foods, vegetable oils/margarine, alcohol, low fat or diet food/drink.
Step 2 – REST & REPAIR – managing stress (cortisol levels) and improving sleep will help with overall hormone balance.
Relaxation – breathing, meditation, yoga, nature, hobbies, friends, massage, ‘me time’.
Sleep – bed by 11pm, dark room, switch off gadgets, Epsom Salts bath, limit caffeine.
Step 3 – CLEANSE – While we can’t avoid toxins completely, we can minimize our exposure by eating organic food, drinking filtered water, and switching our products to natural organic brands.
Step 4 – MOVE – Getting the right balance between too little and too much is very important. Walking, stretching, cardio, resistance training and high intensity training all have benefits for hormone health, weight loss and energy production – you need to find your own personal ‘sweet spot’ routine.
If you’d like more information, tips and advice on how to balance your hormones, CLICK HERE for your FREE Hormone Balancing Video guide.