Do You Gain Most of Your Weight From the Waist Down?
Do you gain most of your weight from the waist down?
This could be an indication of a common, yet severely underdiagnosed hormonal imbalance: estrogen dominance. This happens when there is excess estrogen in the body in relation to progesterone.
In women, estrogen is a vital hormone for puberty, menstruation, and childbearing. Estrogen is also present in small amounts in men and is crucial for libido and the production of sperm. For a variety of different reasons (that we will discuss below), your body can make too much estrogen and wreak havoc on your body.
Common Signs of Estrogen Dominance in Women:
- Bloating, puffiness, or water retention
- Breast tenderness
- Painful periods or endometriosis
- Mood swings, PMS, irritability
- Depression or cry easily
- Anxiety or mini-breakdowns
- Hard time falling asleep/staying asleep
- Brain fog
Common Signs of Estrogen Dominance in Men:
- Gynecomastia (breast growth)
- Erectile dysfunction
If you find yourself nodding your head to these symptoms, you might be estrogen dominant. There are many contributing reasons why you may have unbalanced hormones. I share some of the most common ones below.
Possible Causes of Estrogen Dominance:
- Hormonal birth control
- High sugar, low fiber diet
- Toxic personal care products
- Uncontrolled stress
- An unhealthy gut
- The use of plastic
So what can you do? Maybe you have already suspected a hormonal balance in yourself and discussed it with your doctor. Perhaps they brushed off your symptoms and told you that your hormones look just fine on paper. We see this all the time in our practice, and the good news is you aren’t doomed to feel crummy forever- there are many natural and effective things you can start doing today to balance your hormones at home!
8 Simple and Effective Ways to Balance Your Estrogen:
- Ensure you have a daily bowel movement: Excess estrogen should be eliminated daily through a normal bowel movement, if this doesn’t happen, estrogen can be reabsorbed back into the body’s circulation. If you need help in this area, read on!
- Increase fiber in the diet by consuming plenty of fruits and veggies: Fruits and veggies are loaded with fiber and will help ensure that you have normal bowel movements and don’t get constipated or have diarrhea.Try to buy locally grown, organic fruits and veggies, if possible. Spend some time at the beginning of the week cutting up fruits and vegetables and storing them in glass containers in the fridge so that you can easily snack on them during the week.
- Increase cruciferous vegetable intake: Cruciferous vegetables have phytochemicals that help to block estrogen production. Examples are broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts, arugula, etc…If you feel overwhelmed by eating these then pick a new one each week to introduce into your diet. Go on Pinterest and find some recipes that sound appealing to you!
- Avoid toxic personal care products and cleaning products: Many modern beauty and cleaning products contain xenoestrogen, a product that mimics estrogen in the body. I recommend using hydrogen peroxide for cleaning hard surfaces in your homes and vinegar for cleaning glass, both are antibacterial and antiviral. You can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to make these cleaning agents smell pleasant. Stick to clean beauty products. I recommend the Think Dirty app to help you “track dirty ingredients and shop for cleaner options”.
- Reduce alcohol intake: Alcohol can raise your estrogen levels and disrupt your blood sugar function. If you are at a social event where you want to drink something other than water, I recommend enjoying sparkling water with fresh lemon or lime and mint leaves for garnish.
- Limit meat and dairy from conventionally raised animals: Meat and dairy from conventionally raised animals contain much more estrogen than their grass-fed, free-range, and organic counterparts. Since you will be increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables you consume, you will naturally have less space for these foods in your diet and will slowly be able to start reducing or eliminating them altogether.
- Lose weight: Start by making it a goal to lose just 5 pounds. You can do this by setting out your workout clothes the night before so you can wake up and go for a walk in the morning (and start your day with sunshine: win/win!). Try Intermittent Fasting, if that resonates with you. Even fasting just 12 hours a day can be beneficial, eventually working your way up to 16 hours per day. Make small, sustainable changes so that you can get the results you’ve always dreamed of having.
- Go for daily walks: Are you noticing a pattern? All of these tips are beautifully intertwined and each plays an important part in balancing your hormones. Make sure that you leave your phone behind when you go out for a walk. Feel the sunshine and breeze on your face and take in the beauty around you. If you feel like you can’t stop incessantly thinking or worrying, try to meditate before you leave so that you can fully enjoy your time in nature.
Think you might be estrogen dominant? Schedule a Metabolic Discovery Call with me so I can learn about what symptoms you’re having and together we can co-create a plan for success!
6 Simple Ways to Reduce Inflammation
Many people with chronic conditions such as thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and joint pain frequently ask me what they can do to help manage their symptoms and feel better.
These lovely human beings are sick of dealing with issues like:
- Brain Fog
Research shows that chronic inflammation plays a large role in the development of chronic disease. This is empowering to know because there are certain lifestyle and behavioral changes you can start making today to reduce your overall inflammation and become one step closer to living a more vibrant, energetic life.
So before you reach for the anti-inflammatory supplements or over the counter anti-inflammatory medication give these tips a try!
6 Simple Ways to Reduce Inflammation:
1. Fasting: Try to fast from food and drink (besides water or organic herbal teas) for 13-16 hours per day. Don’t let this intimidate you! It is actually quite freeing to have a designated period of time every day where food is off limits.
Tips for Success:
- Find an eating schedule that works well for you and your unique life.
- An example schedule: eat between the hours of 9am-5pm and fast between 5pm-9am. The times don’t matter- what matters is you find something that works well for your life and stick with it as best you can.
- View fasting as freeing, not restrictive! Instead of grazing, you can use this time to read, spend time out in nature with your family, plan your next day, go for a walk, journal, take a bath or cold shower, etc.
2. Prioritize Sleep: Aim to get around 8 hours of quality sleep every night within the hours of 10pm-6am. Your body releases the most melatonin between the hours of 10pm-2am.
Tips for Success:
- Turn off overhead lights after dinner time and enjoy the natural beauty of salt rock lamps or the soft glow of beeswax candles. This will help stimulate melatonin production.
- Instead of watching TV before bed, make yourself a cup of warm chamomile tea and enjoy sipping it in your backyard while you watch the sun set.
- Get in the habit of journaling before bed. Write down all the things you are most grateful for so that you can fall asleep every night with a joyful heart.
3. Enjoy a Whole Food Diet: Say goodbye to processed, packaged, sugary foods and say hello to the nutrient-dense foods that nature provides us with like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and high quality proteins.
Tips for Success:
- Have fun incorporating whole foods in your life. It’s not a punishment to fuel your body with highly nutritious foods, it’s a privilege.
- Explore different mindset shifts surrounding food. Instead of saying, “Ughhhhhh. I should eat a salad today.” Say, “I wonder how many different colors I can add into my salad for lunch today.”
- At the beginning of the week spend some time cutting up a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that you can easily enjoy snacking on throughout the week.
4. Spend time Outside: Get outside as often as you can. Soak up that Vitamin D and enjoy spending time in the forest!
Tips for Success:
- Find an outdoor activity that you love doing. This could be kayaking, biking, hiking, running, walking, swimming, skiing, camping, etc. There’s something outside for everyone- find what you love to do and then do it!
- Leave your phone behind when you spend time in nature. Look at the trees surrounding you, watch an ant carry a bit of food back to its home, smell the fresh cut grass. Try to utilize all of your senses while you are outdoors and fully bask in the glory of nature!
- If you don’t have close access to nature, adorn your home with a variety of plants. Do some research on what plants you think you would enjoy tending to and have fun picking out beautiful pots for them, caring for them, and watching them grow!
5. Lower Stress: We aren’t designed to be under constant stress in our lives. This step will take some time, but you can start by becoming quietly aware, without judgement, what is causing stress in your life.
Tips for Success:
- Take a stress inventory by writing down all the things in your life that are causing you stress. Open your mind and heart to new ways to think about these things and figure out how you can reduce them, eliminate them, or simply view them differently.
- Take time to meditate every day. Even just 5-minutes in the morning or evening can be helpful!
- Open up to a trusted loved one and together brainstorm ways that you can reduce stress in your life.
6. Weight Loss: This step will also take time and that’s okay. Start by committing to lose just 5 pounds- you can do it!
Tips for Success:
- Keep a journal of everything that you eat to bring awareness to the food you put in your body.
- Remember how you eat is just as important as what you eat. Take a few calming breaths before you eat and express gratitude for your food. Chew thoroughly and enjoy every bite.
- Do steps 1-5 and watch your body start to release extra weight.
Have fun with incorporating these steps into your daily life and believe that it is possible to reduce your chronic inflammation and start living life more freely and abundantly on your terms.