Weight gain and hormone issues are normally connected
Lets be honest, as women most of us know how our hormones affect us. The monthly roller-coaster cycle can be more disruptive for some than others. If you never notice any hormone issues, lucky you, you are one of the few.
Most women live with the ups and downs of this everyday, sometimes unawares. We have sex hormones and brain hormones that influence each other and work together like an orchestra. Hormones have a very important role in our body.
Hormone balance is key to a regular cycle and feeling good
They are the boss travelling through the bloodstream, giving the cells their orders and making sure they perform their job as well as possible. The physical and psychological affects of our changing hormones is barely touched upon in biology lessons.
It is up to us to work it all out for ourselves as we go along. Just when we think we have it all figured out everything changes yet again. The teenage years, the pill, and other contraceptives, pregnancy and then menopause too.
Our hormones are constantly adapting to our lives
The environment, stress, lack of sleep, our age, as well as all the different life stages we go through. While we may not always connect the dots, our hormones are in the drivers seat. If you ever question why you did something because it feels out of character, blame the hormones.
I bet if you pay attention to your cycle you’ll find a correlation. A correlation does not always mean it is the cause of something but certainly if you find a repeating pattern, you are probably on the right track.
Hormone imbalance or insufficiency can cause a wide range of symptoms
This can affect a woman’s health in many ways so it is clear that balanced hormones are important. Over 150 symptoms are associated with premenstrual syndrome. There are over 30 recognised physical and emotional symptoms of perimenopause. Many women are unaware that this stage of hormone surges (aka second adolescence) can begin in the early forties.
It takes a lot of learning and observation to work out exactly what is going on in our cycle. Supporting our hormones as well as our other body systems is an important part of feeling well. Tests are available to cut out the guess work.
I often use the DUTCH test with clients because it gives comprehensive information. I can then offer evidence-based nutrition and lifestyle advice which is truly personalised for the best results.
Does hormone balancing really help with weight loss?
The UK has the largest rates of obesity in Europe. Obesity is responsible for around 30,000 deaths every year, it is a growing world wide problem. In the UK obesity rates have quadrupled in the last 25 years and about 60% of adults are classed as overweight.
Hormone health is very important as I have explained above. Both our sex and brain hormones do need to be in balance. Imbalance is sometimes the result of deeper problems such as insulin dysfunction or thyroid issues. This is only one part of the health puzzle. Our body is constantly working in many ways to try and achieve all round balance, not just with our hormones.
A healthy diet and lifestyle are key factors that support our body so that it achieve this balance more easily. How we respond to food is as unique as our fingerprint.
A personalised whole body and lifestyle approach is necessary for better hormone balance and all round health. Studies show that even identical twins respond differently to food and this may be to do with our individual microbiome.
Microbes are key for our digestion as well as our immune system. They are also responsible for regulating our metabolism and our mood. This shows that you may need to look more deeply and involve testing to get to the root cause of hormone issues and weight gain.
Diets achieve weight loss by promoting food restrictions. Thus creating weight loss via calorie deficit. In my opinion this is more often than not damaging to health. It is the quality of the calories that matters most. One hundred calories of junk food is not the same as one hundred calories of vegetables.
Diets often make people feel hungry and dissatisfied. Though they might work for weight loss as long as you can stick with it, most people find diets unsustainable and they go back to their old way of eating.
Why is it so easy to put weight back on after dieting?
The main reason why people often put weight back on after dieting is because they can’t stick to the diet long term. Our body also senses when there has been a calorie deficit. This is called metabolic adaptation. It then adjusts the metabolism and hormones which create more hunger in order to get back to where it was before. Weight management is very individual, there is no one right diet.
What is the best diet for long term weight management?
The best diet for weight loss is a personalised diet that fits in with your lifestyle and supports your body’s unique needs. This helps you to stick to it long term preventing weight gain and yo-yo dieting. Weight loss is a complex area of nutrition and the media messages are often confusing.
Weight gain is often a symptom of bigger health issues and this is difficult to work out on your own. There are many reasons for weight gain such as inflammation, nutrient deficiencies, stress and sleep.
Personalised nutrition advice is always best
What we eat affects every system in our body including hormone and brain function. This ultimately affects our monthly cycle and our mood. A Nutrition Practitioner can look at your test results and your whole health history.
They will focus on finding the root cause of weight gain or hormone issues and offer personalised advice and support. Studies show that regular support is key when it comes to making long lasting diet and lifestyle changes.
Emotions are often left out of traditional weight loss advice. After over 17 years of working with people who want to improve their health and lose weight I have found emotions to be a key piece of the weight loss puzzle.
Nurturing a positive relationship with food, focusing on sleep and reducing stress are all important for health, happiness and weight loss.
You can read more about the physical and psychological aspect of weight loss here.
References & Bibliography
Weight Management Module for Perimenopausal Women: A Practical Guide for Gynecologists