YOU are Wonder Woman. Working everyday to keep life flowing as smoothly as possible for your little ones, your family, your co-workers. Where do you sit on this list?
Sure, maybe you get some time to workout, or do your best with some salads at lunch. Yet — the scale remains right where it is. You’ve made the effort, and the scale continues to climb.
Giving birth, going through pregnancy, aging and a full life as a mom can definitely interfere with your earnest efforts to drop some pounds.
The reason: HORMONES.
As a holistic nutritionist and hormone expert, I’m going to share with you three sneaky hormone imbalances that may be preventing you from losing weight successfully.
As always, I recommend seeing your family doctor first for some testing and investigation before jumping into any holistic hormone balancing regime.
3 Undercover Hormonal Imbalances Preventing Moms From Losing Weight:
#1 Underactive Thyroid
Situated comfortably on your neck, the thyroid plays a role in your menstrual cycle, your metabolism, your immune system and your mood, to name a few duties.
The thyroid gland is connected to your adrenals and your ovaries through the OAT Axis, or Ovary-Adrenal-Thyroid axis. They communicate through this axis, and if one is out of balance, chances are the other two are as well.
In connection to the thyroid, when the adrenals and/or ovaries are going down the crap shoot, the thyroid gland can become sluggish, deepening any imbalances in the adrenals and ovaries, adding to the weight gain. Nutrient deficiency (especially minerals) also contributes to this. A sluggish thyroid also means a sluggish metabolism, and you may feel like you simply have NO energy to work out or do the healthy things necessary to get the weight off.
Beyond weight gain, some other symptoms of underactive thyroid you may experience include:
Cold hands and feet or inability to tolerate cold climates
Dry skin, hair and nails
Diffuse hair loss across the whole head
Sluggish digestion - bloating, constipation, etc
It’s important to realize that even if your doctor says your thyroid is “normal” or within range, it may still not be functioning properly. Doctors don’t do deep testing if your TSH comes back normal, so you could be walking around with a thyroid issue and not even know about it. But that’s a topic for another day and another post.
#2 Estrogen Dominance
Estrogen Dominance probably isn’t what you think it is — at least not always. Yes, estrogen dominance can mean having too much estrogen, but that’s not the whole story.
Estrogen dominance simply put is too much estrogen in relation to progesterone.
It’s the RATIO of the two that matters. So, it’s entirely possible to have normal or low estrogen with estrogen dominance, if your progesterone is low enough.
Some symptoms of estrogen dominance you may recognize include:
Sore boobs, especially at period time
Heavy menstrual flow and/or clotting
Impatience or being called “too bossy”
Absent or irregular periods
Conditions such as endometriosis, fibroids, PCOS, fibrocystic breasts
Quick weight gain and bloating
Chronic infections like colds and flus
Estrogen is responsible for skin, fat and protein deposition. In estrogen dominance, estrogen is left to run wild as there isn’t enough progesterone to keep it in check. So, more fat gets stored on the body. As time goes on and more fat accumulates, some of this adipose (fatty) tissue can begin to create it’s own estrogen, creating a vicious cycle of storing fat on the body.
#3 Adrenal Fatigue
Stress makes you fat. Period. I feel like I could just stop right there, but I’ll go into some of the physiology so you can understand why managing your stress is VITAL (seriously!!) to losing weight and keeping it off.
The main stress hormone the adrenals glands produce is called cortisol, and you may have heard of this hormone before. Cortisol is released both in acute and long-term stress. This means that every time you get pissed off at a dumb driver on the road, or internalize family drama that’s been going on for years, you’re telling your body you’re in a stressful and life or death situation (even if your life isn’t in danger). This is called the fight or flight response.
Many hundreds of thousands of years ago, we were hunters and gatherers- living off the land and having to kill our own prey. The threat of bodily harm or death due to other large predatory animals and the elements was huge. Because of this, our bodies adapted to be able to save our asses in this kind of situation by releasing certain chemicals like the stress hormone cortisol, as well as adrenaline.
If this happens over a period of months or years, your adrenals begin to give up or go crazy and you can experience something called adrenal insufficiency or adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is a little known root cause or contributor to weight gain.
Beyond weight gain, some symptoms of adrenal fatigue you may experience include:
Anxiety and depression
Insomnia or sleep issues
Daily fatigue, especially in the morning or mid-afternoon
Low resilience to stress - everything is the worst thing in the world
Low blood sugar
Low blood pressure and/or dizziness upon standing quickly
Allergies and asthma
Chronic infections like colds and flus
Additionally, cortisol tells your body to produce more glucose, so you end up with high blood sugar levels. Your pancreas then releases more insulin to deal with the high blood sugar, and you know what happens when insulin is high (weight gain- especially in the belly).
What's a girl to do?
Determining whether or not you experience any or all of the above hormonal imbalances can be difficult and once you do know, it’s still confusing to figure out what the heck to do about it. This is exactly why I’ve created a free Hormone Imbalance Quiz. You can take the quiz to determine possible imbalances and I’ll give you the first steps you need to start bringing back the balance, and to start losing fat.
Take your quiz HERE
Robyn Srigley is The Hormone Diva, Holistic Nutritionist and Women’s Health and Nutrition Coach. Robyn’s own journey with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) jumpstarted her passion for helping women replace their anxieties with joy to open possibility in their lives and break free of hormonal imbalance.
Robyn runs a successful meal plan and group program practice where she uses diet, movement, botanicals and a self-love lifestyle to transform the lives of women with PCOS, Endometriosis, PMS, Painful Periods and much more. You can find out more about her work at www.thehormonediva.com