Hormones hold our personal superpowers.
Hormones literally make us who we are.
Hormones are so powerful, they influence so many aspects of our lives, including our behaviors, how we think, how we act, how we eat. All of this can be heavily persuaded by our hormone regulation. Hormones actually drive our behavior and personality and affect mood and emotions. Which is exactly why we want to keep them functioning at their best.
As women, our hormones get blamed for a lot of things during our periods, during pregnancy, postpartum, breastfeeding and then menopause. But the fact is, our hormones are pretty amazing for regulating and maintaining control of the different stages of our lives. We go through some intense hormonal shifts and adjust accordingly. And, they are actually fairly predictable in their natural cyclical state. But that doesn’t mean they can’t go awry.
What are hormones exactly?
Hormones are chemical messengers released from endocrine glands that travel through the blood system to influence the nervous system to regulate behaviors. The study of behavior and hormones, behavioral endocrinology, has been researched heavily for many years. This specific interaction that takes place is bidirectional, meaning hormones can influence behavior as well as, behavior can influence hormones. This can be similar to, which came first? The chicken or the egg? But either way, if you are experiencing negative effects that could be hormone related, action needs taken.
Because of the power hormones possess, it is important to practice self awareness by checking in with yourself often. You may notice yourself more lethargic, in a funk, less motivated, eating more, working out less, this could mean your hormones could be imbalanced.
We have multiple hormones in our bodies and each do different jobs but they all correspond with each other. So when one is imbalanced, others may be as well.
What are the signs of hormonal imbalance?
- Cystic Acne
- Low libido
- Brain fog
- Weight loss/gain
- Irregular periods
- Fertility issues
- Mood swings
All of the symptoms could be a sign of a hormonal imbalance and can lead to more serious issues if untreated. The one way to know for certain if you have hormonal imbalances is to get a blood test. So I always recommend to my clients to consult their physician, maybe even consult an endocrinologist, to see if a blood test is in order for your symptoms.
How to naturally balance your hormones…
- Eat a balanced macro diet.
Research has shown that the food we consume directly affects our hormones through our gut. When gut health is improved, so is your hormonal health.
Ditch the restrictive diets. It isn’t necessary and a lot of the time, not sustainable and can cause hormonal disruption. Make sure you are getting enough of each macro, proteins, fats and carbs. And make sure you are choosing nutritious rich foods most of the time, avoiding added sugars.
Most importantly!!!! Do not let FATS go under 20 percent of your total caloric intake. Fat is one of the most important factors for hormone balance. Fats are needed in the body for hormone production and proper hormone function. Eat a diet rich in healthy fats that include omega 3 and 6 to promote healthy hormonal balance.
- Practice regular exercise.
- Dopamine- or the “feel good” hormones- this can decrease stress and improve mood.
- Serotonin- which promotes a good night’s rest and can also positively impact mood, social behavior, appetite, digestion, memory and sexual function.
- Estrogen- Getting your heart rate up for at least a half hour every day helps boost estrogen levels, which promotes a healthy female reproductive system and can even help take the edge off of menopause symptoms.
A balanced exercise regimen that consists of strength training, cardio and yoga can maximize the benefits and boost healthy hormone levels.
- Manage stress.
Two hormones are affected by stress, cortisol and adrenaline. Cortisol is the most well know stress hormone that helps you cope with stress over the long term. Adrenaline is the “fight or flight” hormone that surges the body in response to stress or immediate danger.
Stress can happen daily and unfortunately we can become in a state of constant chronic stress that takes a toll on our lives in many ways including weight gain, high blood pressure, rapid heart rate and anxiety. I recommend finding what works for you and relieves stress but here are some stress relieving activities to try to add in daily.
- Getting outside in fresh air
- Diaphragmatic breathing- check out this link to learn how to take a diaphragmatic breath
- Practice good posture
- Talk to a counselor/therapist
- Ask for help where needed in your life to alleviate some responsibilities.
- Get high quality sleep.
Did you know women are more likely to report not getting enough sleep and sleep issues, according to the National Sleep Foundation?
One possible culprit to this is our hormones. When their is a spike or drop in hormones such as during mentrual cycles, pre/postpartum, and during menopause, women are more vulnerable to sleep issues. Sleep issues may need to be consulted with your physician to get deeper into the issue but starting with creating a consistent, healthy sleep routine is key.
If you are a mother in your fourth trimester you may be thinking, how am I supposed to get high quality sleep?! I get it, those babies rule the sleep routine for awhile but you can still prioritize healthy sleep habits for baby that will result in healthy sleep habits for you.
- Increase day light exposure during the day
- Reduce blue light (screen) exposure during the evening
- Try yoga/meditation/guided imagery prior to sleep
- Stay consistent with a bed time and wake time.
- Optimize the bedroom environment- cool, dark, relaxed, clean space.
- Herbal/Mineral supplements that promote sleep- valerian root, magnesium, lavender, passion flower, etc.
- Avoid caffiene in the evening.
- Be Consistent.
Consistency is key to optimal wellness in general and helps maintain balance overall. It doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. A good motto to affirm often is progress over perfection. Try to live a healthy lifestyle that is manageable and sustainable.
If you notice you just aren’t yourself, you may not be because of the fact your hormones drive a lot of who we are by our behaviors and personality. So implementing some of these steps may just get you back on track!
If you would like further guidance and a custom plan that fits your lifestyle contact me at this link! Together we can come up with a plan for what your mind, body and soul needs to achieve the ultimate balance while living life to the fullest.
P.S. If you are interested in more enlightenment on hormones at it’s natural state in the female body, check out this book link below, The Brain on Birth Control. It is a super informative and interesting read if you are a women’s health nerd as myself. 🙂 I would not be doing my duty as a Women’s and Perinatal Wellness Coach if I didn’t share this good read!