For the women who claim to be healthy but are still carrying those extra 5-10 pounds- this information is for all of you. Listed below are the top areas women tend to neglect, even when they think they have a healthy lifestyle. This article examines the root of your possible problems.
Things You Haven't Considered in Your Health Equation
1. You May Have an Estrogen to Progesterone Imbalance
Many women, especially those of child-bearing age, have an estrogen dominance (or low progesterone) problem. If you exercise daily, it's possible that you are using up your progesterone and estrogen is dominating. Other causes of estrogen dominance include stress (which leads to excess cortisol and insulin), low fiber diet, impaired immune function and environmental factors such as pesticides, plastics, and pollution.
Diet, environmental avoidance of xenoestrogens (things that have estrogenic properties), and taking certain supplements can bolster your progesterone and decrease estrogen dominance.
2. Lack of Vitamin D
Possibly due to our awareness of skin cancer and the use of sunscreen, our levels of vitamin D are lower than they were decades ago. Vitamin D acts as a hormone in our bodies, and deficiency has been linked to allergies, asthma, weight gain, fatigue, food allergies and even cancer. Vitamin D levels can be tested with a simple blood test. You may need to incorporate more vitamin D containing foods and/or a supplemental vitamin D if your levels are low. Vitamin D deficiency is especially common in areas with little-to-no sunshine, so if you reside in such an area it's a good idea to get tested or just start taking supplements to be proactive.
3. Your Cortisol Level is High
High levels of cortisol, aka "the stress hormone” is another big reason we sometimes keep weight around our abdominal area. Everyday life activities like exercise, child care, chores, meal planning and work can affect our stress levels and cortisol when not in sync with our normal routine, and this works against having a lean body.
If you feel like you need caffeine all day long, it could mean you are having too many fluctuations (highs and lows) with your cortisol levels. Cortisol is associated with increased appetite, cravings for sugar, and weight gain. You need to unwind every day with whatever it is that shuts off your hypervigilance — even if it's for 10 minutes per day.
4. You're Eating “Healthy” Processed Foods
Excess sodium, additives, preservatives, GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and sugars are all hidden ingredients which are both inflammatory and proven causes of excess weight gain. Just because it's at a health food store and it's “gluten-free” or “low fat” or “natural,” does NOT mean it's good for you.
5. You're Eating Too Much Fat
Paleo and other higher-fat diets work for some people, but many women don't do well with them. Our bodies may do well with fat, especially when added to greens, but be careful not to go overboard. Make sure the fat is healthy, focus on nuts, healthy oils, greek yogurt, wild caught fish and then add in some dark chocolate.
6. Lack of Quality Sleep
This remains true- you need to sleep! Your hormones need it. Your muscles need it for repair, and your brain especially needs it. The two hormones that are key in the relationship between sleep and weight loss are leptin and ghrelin. Leptin tells us when to stop eating and when you're sleep deprived. Ghrelin is the hormone that tells you when to eat, and when you're sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin = more hunger. Studies also show that a lack of sleep can decrease your metabolism by 15%. I don't know about you, but I'd like to keep that extra 15% in my corner.
7. Lack of Cruciferous Vegetables in Your Diet
Cruciferous vegetables from the vegetable family Brassicaceae include cabbage, kale, cauliflower, bok choy, broccoli and other similar green vegetables. Not only are they good for you because of the feeling of fullness you get from the fiber, but they're also good for estrogen metabolism through a compound called indole-3-carbinol (I3C). It is a natural source of DIM (3,3-Diindolylmethane) that helps promote estrogen balance. This is by far the cheapest, easiest way to get your hormones and your weight in balance. Plus if you love broccoli and cabbage you also get the extra bonus of better blood sugar control and more cellular energy production.
In summary, there are always a variety of reasons why we don't see the results that we think we should. It is easy to blame one thing or another. This is a simple list of some things that you can change to improve your chances of seeing and feeling those well-deserved results. Contact us to set up a consultation and get on track with your health!