What do you get with 1 pregnancy, followed by 10 months of nursing, followed immediately with a second pregnancy, and then 12 months of nursing? One wild ride on a 40 month plus hormone train.
Hormones are fragile, essential, frustrating and amazing all in one. They are often overlooked, but crucial to our health, and a wellness plan. Signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance include an inability to lose weight, weight gain, cravings, mood swings, brain fog, sleep troubles, excess fatigue, PMS, acne, low tolerance to stress, excess weight around the mid-section and or hips and thighs, and low sex drive, to name a few. This laundry list of symptoms is one that many consumers share, but starting now there are things we can do to improve the hormonal imbalance.
The fist step in finding relief begins with lifestyle and removing the problem(s), beginning with hormone disruptors. These include:
- Birth control
- Plastics - coming from Ziplock bags to water bottles, shower curtains, etc. And plastic is tough on our endocrine system beyond BPA. Items will be marketed BPA free, but that doesn't mean the problem is fixed. Opt for glass water bottles, storage containers, silverware and wash all the kiddie plates/sippy cups verse cleaning and heating them in a dishwasher. Research shows that even low-dose exposure can be harmful. From altered immune function to stimulating cancer, BPA and the likes are not worth it.
- Skip canned foods, even if it says BPA-free. Opt for frozen, fresh or dried versions for what you need in a meal or recipe. Also, go green and ask for receipts to be sent to your email when possible. Holding a receipt for 5 seconds can transmit endocrine disruptors through the skin.
- Chemicals in makeup and body/shower products, cleaning supplies, fragrances, detergents, etc. Have you ever read the ingredient list on the products you use on your body and hair? It's worthwhile as we absorb up to 60% of what we put on our skin. This is especially true for that product we want to work 24/7: deodorant.
- Hygiene. Wash hands, avoiding fragrance and antibacterial hand soaps, every time before eating.
- Conventionally grown produce. I had a client comment to me how odd it is that her mouth itches every time she eats an apple that isn't organic. I echoed how this symptom is uncomfortable, but not far from the norm. Our food is sprayed with pesticides, herbicides and can be contaminated with industrial runoff. As much as possible, buy and eat organic and free-range food to limit exposure to such chemicals.
- Filtered water is far safer and healthier than tap. Tap water can be contaminated with lead to birth control residue. Filter water for drinking and for bath and shower water.
Secondly, give your liver some love. The liver is not only the fat burning organ but also a detoxing machine. Methods, to nurturing your detox pathways include:
- supplement wisely (high-quality probiotics, herbs, evening primrose oil, Chaste Tree, methylated vitamins*)
- eat more real food, grown in nature, than packaged,
- eat clean protein sources,
- sweat weekly,
- drink half of your weight in ounces of clean water, every day,
- nurture your gut health,
- stabilize blood sugars,
- moderate or eliminate alcohol,
- eat balanced meals with animal protein, healthy fat and high-fiber carbohydrates,
- once diet becomes consistent and balanced, do a reputable food-based cleanse.
Last, but not least, get into the right mindset. Stress competes with sex hormones, and if you ar chronically under stress, your other efforts in regulating hormones are nearly a wash. A few things I recommend: start the day with a list of things you are grateful for. You can do this in your head, or better yet, whip out a journal. Today I am grateful for my children's smiles, for my insulin pump and my iPhone, so I can Facetime and easily connect with my husband while he is traveling. At the end of the day, in bed, run through some winnings you had for the day. Last night I listed out 1) my blood sugar never went over 151 mg/dl, 2) I had a badass workout, 3) I had some really good client interactions, 4) I fueled myself with a lot of nutritious food, and my kids ate decently too. Getting my kids excited about some of the foods I make them, becomes an art and a balancing act.
Stress isn't bad, but if we can't manage it, it becomes harmful. Reel it in, use it to help you grow, and let go of what you can. Get plenty of rest and go live your fullest life, being patient with your journey. Balancing hormones can take 3-6 months on average, but it depends on the case and level of commitment.
Cheers to you and good health,
*Vitamins are tricky. Bottom-line you want to source vitamins that are pharmaceutical grade as they are not FDA regulated. Getting supplements from a health practitioner you trust is the best method to know you are supplementing correctly and getting a high-quality end product. If you need help, flick me an email at Kelly@KellySchmidtRD.com.