I’ve had several women ask me over the course of the last few months how and what they can do to lose their excess weight. Trust me, I get it and coming from someone who was once obese, I can definitely relate to the struggle. But what happens when we are doing all the right things and the weight isn’t budging? Ugh, aside from frustration, I’m going to help you with some ways to fix the problem.
A few weeks ago I was talking to a former client of mine and she was reminding me, “Remember how hard it was for me to lose weight Kim? With everything I was doing, exercise, diet, etc and nothing was working? God, that was tortuous!”
“Of course I remember!” I said. “We were trying everything under the sun to get you to drop even 5 lbs.” (she has no problem with me stating she had over 40 lbs to lose to begin with.)
This can be a typical conversation with some of my clients that truly struggle with weight loss and fat reduction and sometimes, IT JUST WON’T BUDGE. First, it’s important to be honest with ourselves and make sure we ARE eating right, (not donuts and cakes every night) and getting adequate exercise. Secondly, if after a few weeks there’s still no shift in body composition or the scale then it’s time to look a bit deeper and be our own investigator. As many of you know I’m not a huge advocate for the scale, but when it comes to my clients who need to lose a significant amount of weight I do find it important as a starting point.
This is when I would typically recommend a quality bio-identical hormone specialist or someone that I know can get to the root cause of the unaltered weight loss. In all honesty, these docs can be quite costly so I thought I’d share what I’ve learned over the last few years when I see women struggling with this exact issue.
Let me first address all the wonderful hormones we have. (Women specifically) As men only have one, testosterone. A clear sign of low testosterone in men can show several symptoms such as: low libido, decreased drive and motivation, muscle loss, depression, mood swings, fatigue, etc. If any men out there feel like they have most of these symptoms, I would recommend talking with a professional that can help get you on track.
For women however, we have a plethora of them: estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, HCG, cortisol, thyroid, leptin, ghrelin, melatonin and serotonin. Crazy right? The awesome part about this is if something’s off, we have more to work with and we’re able to tweak one, if not more of them to feel our best.
For the sake of time and length in this article, I’m going to keep it specific to estrogen and progesterone and how these 2 can hinder weight loss in women.
Specifically, how estrogen dominance and low progesterone can greatly effect a women’s ability to drop body fat.
Women that traditionally have more of a pear shaped body like below tend to have more estrogen and store their excess fat in their hips, butt, thighs and lower stomach. There is nothing wrong at all with these body types and they are beautiful! There are millions of women that have this shape and they are healthy! However, what I’m getting at is if anyone is struggling with excess fat that just won’t move (like the second pictures below these.)
Now, a more serious condition known as estrogen dominance like below: Estrogen dominance is not a fun place to be as I’ve been in this place before and I can tell you, it’s incredibly hard to drop the fat and it takes time, patience, and changes in diet and exercise. Here are my top few ways to decrease estrogen dominance in our bodies.
- Stop drinking out of plastic bottles and try to only use natural lotions, deodorants, etc. They wreak havoc on our bodies and our ability to lose weight becomes incredibly difficult.
- Eat more cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts and cabbage. This family of vegetables contains sulfur compounds (can be gas forming) and indole-3-carbinol. These guys bind to estrogen and escort it out of the body.
- Eat more seeds! Seeds contains more than we think! Sesame seeds and flax seeds contain estrogen binging lignans. Aim for two to three tablespoons a day to get the full benefits. You can have flaxseed oil or ground up flaxseeds, sesame seeds sprinkled in salad or ground up in a paste called tahini. Flaxseeds are also rich in omega 3 fatty acids and are terrific for our hair, skin and nails.
- Get a zinc supplement or eat more oysters. Zinc, plays an important role in hormone production and balance and helps to increase our progesterone levels while lowering our estrogen. Excess estrogen can significantly lower our zinc levels when we are considered more estrogen dominant. More than 70% of women d0 not get the minimum daily requirement of zinc from their diets so purchase a zinc supplement if needed! Otherwise, we can get zinc in several different foods like oysters, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, chocolate, beans, mushrooms and beef.
Hopefully these 5 can help point those that struggle with ED on the right path to feeling better.
What is progesterone?
“Progesterone is a female hormone produced by the ovaries during release of a mature egg from an ovary (ovulation). Progesterone helps prepare the lining of the uterus (endometrium) to receive the egg if it becomes fertilized by a sperm. If the egg is not fertilized, progesterone levels drop and menstrual bleeding begins.”-Diagnoseme.com
Typically, when estrogen is high, something has to suffer and that’s our progesterone. Not only is progesterone important for pregnancy but it also helps:
normalize blood sugar levels
boosts thyroid function
helps us use fat for energy
has beneficial anti-inflammatory effects
reduces swelling and inflammation
But take a look at what happens when our bodies are depleted in this hormone. We experience many symptoms such as:
a luteal phase less than 12 days
low basal body temperatures
spotting in the days before your period begins
recurrent early miscarriage
blood clots during menstruation
cold hands and feet
decreased sex drive
depression or anxiety
headaches and migraines
weight gain, especially around the middle
-List from naturalfertilityandwellness.com. Crazy right? So what can we do to increase our progesterone to help manage our weight loss?
- Watch out for soy: soy is higher in the estrogen making hormone
- Get more sources of B vitamins in your diet like: spinach, walnuts, bananas, potatoes
- We need more Vitamin C: studies have shown that vitamin C helps tremendously build progesterone levels.
- Get more magnesium in our diets: I take a supplement but you can also get magnesium from dark, leafy greens, bananas, beans, etc.
- Control the stress: when our stress levels are high, they are sure to impact our progesterone levels. Make sure to take time out of the day to de-stress and breathe.
In a nutshell, it’s important for women to balance their estrogen/progesterone to get the most out of their workouts and nutrition. Remember, if our hormones are off it won’t matter what we do to try and shed the fat. The weight will stay on until we address our hormones first.
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