Are your hormones sending you on a physical and emotional roller coaster? You might not be aware how much these little chemical messengers actually rule your life.
Did you know that there are over 100 identified hormones in the body? And they aren’t just about your monthly cycle – they control your metabolism, weight, energy, mood, brain function, sleep and much more…
Hormones really do control how we look, feel, think and perform – and for something so important, we don’t know an awful lot about them.
So here are 10 of the most important things to know about your hormones;
Nicki Williams10 things you need to know about your hormones
by Lauren Lovell, lead nutritionist for Happy Hormones for Life
For most of us, weekdays involve an endless to-do list with plenty of commitments to work, family and friends. This leaves very little time to focus on planning and preparing healthy meals which can leave even the best-intentioned of us relying on more processed foods or ready meals.
It doesn’t have to be this way! By taking a little time out over the weekend and following a few time-saving tips, you can get a healthy, nutritious, mid-week meal on the table in no time. Here’s how…
Nicki Williams10 time-saving tips for healthy eating
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a very common condition describing a set of symptoms that can include missing or delayed ovulation, excess androgens (acne, facial hair, hair loss), weight gain, insulin resistance and infertility. As well as these distressing symptoms, long-term PCOS can increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
You may have had an ultrasound to see if you have multiple cysts on your ovaries. These are caused by undeveloped follicles that have not properly matured enough at the time of ovulation to allow the egg to break through. Although PCOS is named after these cysts, it’s actually not a prerequisite for a diagnosis of PCOS, and equally you may have cysts showing up but not have PCOS as your ovaries change every month. Either way, it’s important to get some tests done to confirm that you actually have PCOS.
I was chatting to a friend of mine about how much I was enjoying the new show “Big Little Lies” and asked her if she’d seen it. She sighed, explaining that she was so exhausted at night that by the time she has finished work, cooked dinner, cleared away, put the kids to bed and caught up on FB/twitter, she starts watching a TV show or film and usually falls asleep within minutes. She was too tired to get through 1 season of anything!
I hear this so often when I talk to my clients. I don’t think I can remember one woman who has said she is happy with her energy levels!
And when I ask if it bothers them, they usually say yes of course, but isn’t that just a part of getting older and being busy?
NO! Your body is designed to produce plenty of energy to get you through your day without feeling tired. It could be your hormones and your lifestyle that is slowing you down.
Nicki WilliamsTired of being tired? 5 tips to boost your energy.
What do you think of when you hear the word meditation? Someone sitting cross-legged up a mountain chanting ‘om’?
That’s what I used to think, and I knew it wasn’t for me. It sounded really BORING! Sitting still and doing nothing? No way. Give me a super whizzy gadget instead….
And then I went to a taster session. Not because I wanted to try it (I knew it wasn’t for me) but because I had just qualified as a Nutritional Therapist and I had seen so much research on how it lowers stress that I thought I had better see what all the fuss was about. Oh and I had just had my cortisol tested and it looked like I was heading for burnout!
So I sat still for the half hour session, still resisting like crazy. I tried to focus on my breath as instructed, but my mind wasn’t having it and I just kept getting distracted. What was I going to cook for dinner? What was I going to wear to my friend’s party? The list went on….
Nicki WilliamsWhy I changed my mind about meditation
If you’re a woman over 40, you may be wondering if you’re ever going to get your sex drive back. You used to get excited about sex with your partner, now it’s the last thing on your mind (and your to-do list). Sometimes you’re too exhausted, other times you just can’t get in the mood. What happened to the sex kitten you used to be?
Of course sex isn’t compulsory as you get older, and many women are happy not to worry about it anymore. But sex is really good for you and if you still want to have a good sex life, you may just need to check to see if it’s your hormones.
Nicki WilliamsHas your sex drive gone AWOL? Top tips to boost libido.
Sugar is now thought to be the greatest threat to human health, bar none!
And it seriously messes with your hormones. When you eat sugar and refined carbohydrates, it causes your blood sugar to spike, then fall a few hours later. This blood sugar roller coaster can be exhausting! Not only does it crash your energy levels and mood, but all that insulin production to control your blood sugar can have a serious impact on your thyroid, cortisol and oestrogen levels – those Feisty 4 hormones that are already playing up when you hit your peri-menopausal years!
Too much insulin is not only a risk factor for obesity and diabetes, but it’s also linked with heart disease, cancer, dementia and Alzheimers.
When is this ‘miracle diet’ bombardment ever going to stop? Each new fad gets us excited with its promises to be the ‘ONE’ that finally works.
It’s time to get off the roller coaster – it doesn’t usually end well! According to Zoe Harcombe, author of The Obesity Epidemic, 98% of people either don’t lose weight on a calorie controlled diet, or regain what they lost.
So throw away the diet books that have been gathering dust on your bookshelves. Stop reading the ‘Daily whatever’ or the glossy mags that shame you into jumping on to the latest crazy diet.
These diets might have worked for you when you were younger, but none of them are sustainable now you’re over 40.
What’s the one thing that you can do right away that will affect your hormone balance really quickly? It’s choosing the right food. And that’s because what you eat directly affects your biochemistry and your hormone balance – almost immediately.
To truly balance your hormones, you need to start seeing food differently. Not as calories, but as INFORMATION. Food has the power to change how you look, feel, think and perform. It does this by sending messenger signals to your cells and hormones. It can literally tell your body to burn or store fat, to increase or decrease your energy levels, to alter your mood, to change how your brain functions or to switch on genes that cause disease.
So on my programmes we focus on the foods that nourish your hormones – and we don’t count calories!
I speak with women over 40 every day, and what I’m seeing and hearing is a lot of mis-information (menopause myths), which can be confusing when you’re trying to work out how best to look after yourself at this time.
I was certainly in the same boat in my early 40’s when I was suffering from stubborn weight gain, exhaustion, mood swings and brain fog. I had no idea that it was anything to do with the menopause – in fact I was horrified when my dad told me it was my declining hormones!
So I thought I’d share with you my top 10 menopause myths, the most common misconceptions that come up when I talk to women. Because this is what I would have loved to have known when I was going through my issues.