When I tell people I’m a nutritionist, what do you think is the biggest burning desire almost everyone asks me about?
It is “to lose belly fat.”
Now what do you think are the 2 most common things that will usually cause belly fat?
The answer is poor sleep and chronic stress.
Yup. It’s not donuts or potato chips, although those certainly don’t help.
Many of us are creating belly fat, fatigue, brain fog, anxiety, and other problems through poor sleep and too much stress and we don’t even realize it.
If you could guess the one system in the body that we have to manage in order to lose that belly fat and also sleep better, have more energy, think more clearly, and be more calm, what do you think it would be?
The answer is HORMONES!
Hormones are like pets, if we treat them well they usually behave, if we don’t, they cause a lot of chaos.
And just like a dog that has a learned pattern of bad behavior that seems almost impossible to break, hormones need to be reigned in in the same way, through patience and some work.
Sometimes it can feel like those hormones are like a wild, untamed beast in our bodies causing us to wake up in the middle of the night, causing us to feel jittery or irritable, causing us to feel like no matter what we do we can’t lose weight or lose that belly fat, causing us to be tired and depleted or have brain fog.
The thing about hormones is that they are exquisitely controlled by the body. So usually for them to get out of whack takes time and plenty of dedicated abuse by us, we humans.
So what can we do about it?
Well, there are many paths and we each have our own journeys.
I suggest starting with testing rather than guessing.
You can get your hormones measured through blood and saliva tests.
When you test you save a lot of time, effort, and headache.
At the same time look at your habits.
Are you eating and sleeping well? Are you being physically active? Do you have too much stress without balancing it with meditation and R&R? Are you practicing self-care and self-love?
So first you have to observe, then assess, and then take action.
No matter what your hormonal imbalances are you can start by picking ONE of the 6 following things if you are not already doing them:
- Give yourself 8-9 hours of sleep opportunity a night: most people don’t sleep as much as they think and many people wake up in the night. If you want to get 7-8 hours of sleep, which is what I recommend, you need to give yourself 8-9 hours of sleep opportunity.
- Spend 20-30 minutes a day in nature. You can be sitting, standing, or moving. It doesn’t matter. Just being in nature for this amount of time reduces cortisol. If you CAN walk while you’re there, that is even better!
- Be physically active but don’t over train: we humans are meant to move, not sit all day. Even if you can’t exercise, start with 5 minutes a day of walking or just getting up from your desk every hour. But listen to your body, many women over train and it actually raises cortisol and therefore makes it harder to lose weight rather than easier.
- Add meditation to your daily life: meditation an incredibly powerful and effective way to manage stress. Even just starting with 5 minutes a day can make a difference.
- Eat 12-15 servings of veggies per day: veggies are very effective for balancing hormones. You don’t have to start with that. Remember I said gradual change. Increase your veggie intake by adding 1 cup per day each week.
- Practice deep breathing: deep breathing can help shift your body out of the stress state immediately. It forces your body to calm down. This is a very powerful tool for stress management. Even if you just take 10 deep breaths a few times a day it can help.
I’m suggesting you pick ONE of those things, just one and start slowly. It has to become a habit for it to make a difference.
If you want to feel and look fabulous it all starts with building a pile of healthy habits, SLOWLY so they stick.
Habits are the antidote to willpower.
I repeat, habits are the antidote to willpower.
Be patient and loving with yourself as you strive to just do a little better every day.
This is just a quick overview of how hormones affect your health.
If you want more, click below to get a document full of information about how hormones are affecting your health, and WHAT you can do about it.