Most people think that in order to be healthy you need to lose weight, but the truth is the exact opposite: to lose weight you need to be healthy. Hormone health is one of the most important parameters to look at when approaching weight loss, as higher or lower than optimal levels of certain key hormones can cause heartache when it comes to weight management.
Gazing into the wardrobe at a collection of clothes that used to fit, each item seeming to whisper in a mean voice ‘you’re too fat for me now’ is probably one of the worst ever ways to start the day. Especially when you literally have no idea where the weight came from, and have attempted literally every weight loss strategy you can think of, and still nothing has succeeded in helping you let the unwanted kilos go.
That feeling sucks.
While we really want you to know that the number on the scale has no relation at all to your worth, beauty and value; we also understand that there are times when you just want to let go of a bit of excess weight. So we’re here to give you an insight into how your hormones can help you with this.
As I’m sure we don’t need to tell you, when it comes to weight loss there is so much more to it than calories in, calories out.
Possibly the most well known hormonal challenge is high oestrogen levels, also known as Oestrogen Dominance. Whether you are biologically male or female, too much oestrogen can yield the same outcome: weight gain. When balanced nicely, oestrogen is what gives us our soft, buttery, feminine curves. It’s a vivacious, sensual hormone and is a wee bit of a sexy mama.
However, when our oestrogen levels are too generous they can lead to symptoms such as water retention (that icky puffy feeling), PMS, breast tenderness and heavy periods. In addition to the weight gain or inability to lose weight, of course.
The good news is that you can support more balanced oestrogen levels through what you eat.
Firstly, you need to have the basics of eating well locked down. Sugar, alcohol and refined carbs are notorious oestrogen spikers so limit those and make sure you’re getting plenty of fibre.
Beyond the basics, some foods that we’d recommend getting into your regular diet are leafy, cruciferous veggies (kale, broccoli, cabbage etc.) and fresh herbs and spices such as rosemary and turmeric.
When it comes to oestrogen, it’s actually quite hard to limit exposure in our modern habitats. Xenoestrogens are chemicals that mimic oestrogen in our bodies, tricking them into thinking we have higher oestrogen levels than we really do. They are also pretty much everywhere...
Plastic drink bottles (single and multi-use), the inside of tin cans and disposable coffee cups, pesticides and insecticides used to spray crops, beauty and cosmetic products that contain phthalates and parabens (which is in most conventional ones)... The list honestly goes on, and we promise to do a more extensive blog on this at some stage as there’s a lot to talk about!
It’s impossible to avoid all xenoestrogens so the best thing to do is pick a few sources that you’re often exposed to and do your best to limit those. At Eve, we’ve chosen to roll with a ‘no way’ policy around plastic bottles and highly chemical beauty products. An added bonus is that by avoiding plastic bottles and cosmetics with lots of chemicals we are also helping out the environment. Two healthy birds, one stone.
Oestrogen dominance gets a lot of airtime because it’s so common, but low oestrogen levels come with their own challenges.
At Yale University, researchers discovered that healthy oestrogen levels help to keep leptin levels happy too. Leptin is our hunger hormone, so when it gets over-eager, it stimulates our appetites telling us that we need food; hello hunger that shall not be quenched and bottomless stomach syndrome (NB: not a real syndrome). If this continues long term the increased food intake may lead to weight gain.
To give your oestrogen levels a leg up, there are some useful foods you may want to regularly consume. Phytoestrogens are natural, plant-based oestrogens and can be very helpful for those with lower oestrogen levels. Organic, non-GMO soy products such as tempeh, soy sauce and tofu, flaxseeds, sesame seeds and unhulled tahini, beans and lentils, and alfalfa are all great examples of phytoestrogenic foods.
In men and women, testosterone helps with building muscle mass. Therefore, with low testosterone we are likely to be a bit doughier and softer.
For women, this is perfect and exactly how we are supposed to be. We are not supposed to have 0% body fat, be super muscular and tight. It’s just not how we are biologically designed. However, if you work out regularly and have found it frustrating that you don’t seem to be able to develop any muscle mass, lower testosterone levels may be contributing.
One of our top dietary secrets for boosting healthy testosterone levels is making sure that you get enough healthy fats into your diet. This means avocados (yay!), oily fish, coconut oil for cooking and olive oil for drizzling on salads. The cholesterol that is found in these healthy fats is important for hormone production, and without it, it’s possible that you might be left lacking in the hormone department.
We know that you are aware of the need to be eating yo’ greens. If you needed another reason to pack as many leafies into your meals as possible, then here you go - the hefty nutrient and mineral content of greens can help your body with its testosterone production. Specifically, vitamins A, C, E and K, Magnesium and Zinc, all of which are hiding in the leaves of your spinach and kale.
Our Best Advice
There are so many factors involved in weight loss that it can be so demotivating trying to figure out the riddle. Don’t stress if nothing’s working.
Frankly, it might not just be down to how many times you’ve been to the gym this week, or the fact that you had that slice of cheesecake that’s dictating your weight.
It might be that your hormones are silently running the show.
The biggest bit of advice we can share is to clean your diet right up, chill out, and love yourself NOW. Healthy fats, greens, veggies, fresh herbs and spices, no more sugar, ditch the coffee and the booze, and incorporate more time for relaxation.Eve Hormone Balance Test
And if you want to know what your hormones are doing to be more conscious around supporting them with your food and lifestyle, grab yourself an Eve Hormone Balance Test to get the lay of the land. No more guesswork, eh?
Looking for more information? Head over to our FAQ's page where you can find out about Eve, what the Eve Hormone Balance Test measures, when the best time to test your hormones is, and more.
Disclaimer: This blog post is for educational purposes only. It is not designed to diagnose, treat or cure. We are all unique. For your individual health concerns it is important to discuss these with a relevant health professional.