There are a lot of different factors at play when it comes to weight loss, such as genetics, metabolism, culture, age, and many more, but the one that has always stuck out to me is gender.
Isn't it frustrating when you see you boyfriend, brother, dad, husband, etc. losing weight at a faster rate than you? And then you think, 'How is that even possible? We're doing all the same things!'
Well, as crappy as it sounds this is actually part of the natural genetic differences between men and women. So, as frustrating as it is, always remember to celebrate their success with them and recognize that you are each on your own individual journey to health.
While there are many differences that create this different in weight loss experience, there is one in particular that I want to talk about today - which is, those pesky hormones.
As women, we naturally experience a cyclical fluctuation of hormones because of our menstrual cycle. On top of that, hormone imbalance is becoming more and more common along with women's health conditions that effect hormones; such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), adrenal fatigue, infertility, and irregular periods.
So, how do our hormones impact our weight loss as women and what can we do about it?
Hormones such as testosterone and estrogen (main hormones that fluctuate during a menstrual cycle) can create unique cravings, depending on the time of our four-phase ovarian cycle. Stress releases a hormone called cortisol, which can cause an increase or decrease in appetite, as well as increased cravings for foods such as sugar and processed carbs. Imbalanced hormones can also cause constant fatigue, low energy, mild depression/anxiety, acne, low sex drive, intense PMS symptoms, and more. This effects all play a role for how we show up in our food choice, exercise, self care, relationships, and many other areas important to our health.
So, here are 3 simple places to start:
1. Schedule regular visits to your Gynecologist. Stay up to date on your regular exams and be an advocate for your own health. If you feel that something is off, discuss the possibility of getting your hormones checked via blood work. Even just getting the conversation going, is a great place to start.
2. Bring balance to your nervous system. Most of spend a lot of time in the 'fight or flight' - stress - response of the body. Whether you're being chased by a bear, or stressing over the political climate, our bodies can't tell the difference. Find ways to promote the 'rest and digest' - relaxation - response. Things like sleep, yoga, laughing, meditating, or even being in nature can ignite this response.
3. Eat more whole foods, than processed foods. A typical American diet these days comes primarily from boxed, packaged, and overly processed foods. The word 'processed' refers to nutrients being stripped to the food and chemicals being added to make the food last longer on your shelf. Our hormones can become imbalanced by these added chemicals, antibiotics (frequently found in meat products), and the increased amount of sugar intake.
Whole foods refers to fresh produce, grass fed, hormone free or organics meats, canned or frozen items - like fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes - herbs, spices, nuts, and minimally processed packaged foods. Practice buying foods without an ingredients label, or start noticing the number of ingredients listed on the foods you buy.
There is no reason to completely eliminate foods right now. Just start to notice the ratio of the foods you spend your hard earned money on.
I promise, you are not having trouble losing weight or sticking to a diet because of your will power. You're human. You're a bad ass woman. And now you're equipped with super dope knowledge. So, are you ready to persevere and put some of these tips into action?
Let me know in the comments or come chat with me on social media about your thoughts! And if you know someone who would benefit from this article, please pass it along to your fellow Q U E E N 👑