Frustrated with extra weight despite healthy eating and regular exercise? Unlock the steps of how to balance your hormones to master your metabolism struggles. Learn how to reset your metabolism and lose weight for good by supercharging your metabolism to burn off fat. Easily slip into your favorite outfit again to look and feel fabulous!
Your hormones work in perfect harmony to keep your body burning fat and keeping you energized. If one of those hormones is off balance, it has a chain effect on your body, mind, and waistline.
I reset my hormones at least once a year to keep my metabolism soaring. After rebalancing my hormones I see a surge in energy, clearer thinking, weight loss, and my skin glows.
Symptoms of Unbalanced Hormones
Hormones affect our mood, metabolism, growth, and reproduction. Some symptoms of unbalanced hormones are:
- Inability to lose weight despite good eating and regular exercise
- Foggy memory
- Mood swings
- Food addiction – craving certain foods when you are not hungry
- Binging and inability to stop eating when you are full
- Getting hungry soon after eating
- Feeling sluggish
- Eating foods that affect you negatively despite knowing this ahead of time (gas, stomach ache, weight gain, bloating)
And Many More…
Hormones Vital Role in your Body and Metabolism
Hormones communicate by traveling through our bloodstream to our organs. Our endocrine system is responsible for making our hormones in our pituitary, pineal, thymus, thyroid, adrenal glands, pancreas, testes (men only), and ovaries (women only).
Hormones effect almost every part of our body. Hormones pack a punch, small changes in hormone levels can have drastic effects on our entire body. Hormones work slowly, over time.
How Do My Hormones Get Out of Whack?
There are many reasons why our hormones get off balance and everyone’s reasons are a little different. Common causes of unbalanced hormones include:
- Chronic inflammation
- Food intolerance
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Consuming processed foods regularly (the typical American diet)
- Prescription Medications
- The widespread use of birth control pills
- A diet high in dairy and soy (soy is in most processed foods)
- Hormones in our drinking water (especially estrogen) – The Association of Reproductive Health Professionals concludes birth control pills are only a small part of the problem
- A diet with lots of meat (especially red meat)
- Pregnancy and menopause
- Beauty products such as shampoo, soap, hair dye, lotion
- Environmental toxins – formaldehyde in carpets, chemicals in store bought cleaners, air fresheners, etc.
- Plastic storage containers and clingwrap
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences states:
“Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife. A wide range of substances, both natural and man-made, are thought to cause endocrine disruption…”
Read more about endocrine disruptors at: http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/endocrine
Endocrine disruptors mimic our hormones. The problem is we are bombarded with endocrine disruptors at every
turn. Our body has to guess what hormones to listen to – throwing our hormones out of whack.
Common Hormone Imbalances
It is common to see higher than normal estrogen levels (also known as estrogen dominance) in both women and men (men’s estrogen levels are much lower). Estrogen dominance puts you at greater risk for cancer and puts your body in fat storage mode instead of fat burning mode. It makes it impossible to lose weight and keep it off.
Cortisol and Leptin hormones work hand in hand and at the right levels are key to jumpstarting your sluggish metabolism. You don’t need fancy pills or creams to rebalance your cortisol level. Key ways to rebalancing your cortisol and leptin levels are proper nutrition and avoiding inflammatory foods.
Insulin hormone is in charge of the energy we get from the foods we consume. High insulin levels tells your body to store fat from the foods we eat instead of using it as energy. Eating too many sugary sweets turns your body from fat burning mode to fat storing mode. Resetting your insulin levels switch back into fat burning mode.
Beginning to see how hormone imbalance makes it so hard to lose weight and keep it off?! When our hormones are out of balance our body’s are literally working against us when we try to lose weight.
How to Balance Your Hormones
Here’s how I achieved hormonal balance
1. Eliminate as many endocrine disruptions as possible (cleaners, air fresheners, pesticides, cosmetics, plastics). Instead:
- Make your own household cleaners (here is a great hardfloor cleaner recipe too) or buy natural cleaners
- Ditch the air fresheners and scented fabric softener for unscented versions
- Thoroughly wash your fruits and veggies to remove pesticides
- Cook with stainless steel or cast iron instead of non-stick
- Switch to natural beauty products that are free of Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS) and parabens. Mineral makeup is a great alternative.
- Use glass storage containers instead of plastic
2. Gently cleanse your body from built up toxins
I do my best to eliminate toxins in my home, unfortunately eliminating 100% of toxins is just not possible. Doing a detox is very simple! Here is how I gently cleanse my body. I do not think harsh cleanses are necessary, I eat real foods while cleansing my body.
3. Adapt a whole foods diet while eliminating your trigger foods
Eating whole foods is a great way to heal your hormone imbalance. Real, whole foods. Fruits, vegetables, beef, chicken, fish… Avoid canned foods, they often have other ingredients added. I buy fresh and frozen produce – its important to eat lots of veggies and fruits.
It’s important to eat foods that heal YOUR body – what is good for one person might not be for you. You need to understand what the foods that trigger inflammation in your body are.
How do you find out what your trigger foods are?
On the Virgin Diet you eliminate 7 foods for weight loss, reduce inflammation in the body, and improved health. Those foods are later reintroduced one by one to see if you have a sensitivity.
This book was a turning point in my health. I highly recommend reading it and following her protocol.
I never dreamed I would be a size 4 (I was typically a size 8 or 10 most of my life). My skin is clear after years of suffering from acne, I have tons of energy and my digestive issues have resolved.
At the very least eliminate all dairy, gluten, and sugar for a few months and see how you feel.
People crave the foods that they are intolerant to, also eliminate anything that you have regular cravings for too.
It is tough to hear that your favorite foods might be causing your weight gain. It was hard for me to hear.When I was told dairy could be to blame, I was in denial for a six months. Yogurt was good for you I told myself, turns out it’s not so good for me.
Now I avoid gluten, soy and eggs too (although some I can tolerate occasionally in moderation).
The Virgin Diet takes effort on your part – your health is so worth it!! I think you’ll be happily surprised how great you feel at the end of the program. You can buy it here or check it out at your local library.
4. Rebalance your microbiome – aka the bacteria that live in and on our bodies.
Recent studies have shown that the human body is more a complex ecosystem – we have 10 times the bacteria living in and on our bodies than we have cells in our body.
When we eat the wrong foods, we feed the wrong bacteria and they overgrow. The frequent use of antibiotics kills all the bacteria in our gut, if we don’t intentionally repopulate our gut with good bacteria; an overgrowth of bad bacteria will result.
Only 1 course of antibiotics does the job and more frequent use only does more damage.The overgrowth of the wrong bacteria, often called dysbiosis, can lead to food cravings, especially sugar. Disbyoisis weakens your immune system and causes hormonal imbalance.
I highly recommend a daily probiotic – my whole family takes one. Switching brands of probiotics every few months to make sure you have a well rounded balance of good bacteria.
Here are the brands we use in our house for adults and kids (they are chewable).
Nature’s Bounty Chewable Probioitic (Strawberry)
NOW Foods BerryDophilus
Number One Nutrition Probioitic Supplement
5. Sweat it out through the right kind of exercise
Long and exhausting cardio sessions are doing more harm than good.
Emerging research has shown that you can actually trigger your body to store more fat by working out longer than 30 minutes. Great news huh?!?! I knew it was for me.
The workouts should be short – but also very intense. High Intensity Interval Training will actually help to rebalance your hormones and kick your body back into fat burning mode.
Lifting weights is great too – lean muscle burns fat. The more muscle you have, the more fat you burn.
Working out for 20-25 minutes 3 – 5 days per week I went from a size 14 to a size 4 in six months after the birth of my third child. I ate lots of good whole foods without calorie counting, it is so much easier. Once my metabolism was back on track the weight was melting off.
Here are two of my favorite workouts to keep your metabolism pumping, get you in great shape and in less time than you already spend in the gym!
The Beta Switch is a high intensity interval workout and diet program geared toward women.
This is a good program if you are just getting back into exercise or if your stamina is lower. I love this program because it has both the exercise and diet part of the program.
There is a lot of solid nutrition – I wish she would have discussed food sensitives role in the metabolism a little more.
The workouts are short, there are videos to follow along to – Bonus for me! On top of that, they provide excellent support when you have questions.
Old School New Body is a weight lifting program for both men and women.
Although Old School New Body is a great interval workout with weights (although it is not a high intensity workout). Regardless, it is an excellent program to get in shape with.
I learned so much about how to properly lift weights (breathing, focus), and I already knew a lot from years at the gym.
This program is where I started my weight loss journey. Old School New Body got me great results in a short period of time.
6. Get enough sleep
When things get busy – sleep is the first thing we cut. Driving while tired is as bad as driving drunk!
Lack of sleep leads to sugar and carbohydrate cravings and weight gain.
According to the University of Chicago:
“Cutting back from the standard eight down to four hours of sleep each night produced striking changes in glucose tolerance and endocrine function––changes that resembled the effects of advanced age or the early stages of diabetes––after less than one week.”
Make sleep a priority!!!
Chronic Inflammation Could Be the Root of Your Problem
Inflammation, leaky gut and food intolerance’s go hand in hand with hormone imbalance. If you experience bloating, gas, heartburn, acne, constipation, digestive issues, or have a higher proportion of abdominal fat- you probably have chronic inflammation from food intolerance.
Food intolerance is not life threatening like a food allergy, instead a lesser immune response. If we are not careful to pay attention to our bodies reaction to foods we are intolerant to, we risk long term health risks.
When we eat something our body is intolerant to – our body sees it as a foreign invader and creates an immune response. The outward symptom is gas, heartburn, acne… you get the idea.
Unfortunately in today’s world, many of these symptoms are now the new normal. They are NOT normal!
The problem is we keep eating these foods without letting our body heal, compounding our problem.
So what are these foods we are intolerant to? The answer is unique for each person. The good news is it is a simple process to determine what food intolerance you may have, if any.
Unbalanced Hormones Can do More Harm Than Weight Gain
Long term inflammation leads to leaky gut where our digestive tract gets small holes in it that leaks our food into our bloodstream – this is VERY BAD! Leaky gut triggers an immune response and more inflammation.
If left uncorrected, we’ll end up with an autoimmune condition (for me I developed hypothyroidism; my sister developed MS). YOU DO NOT WANT AN AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE!
I believe my untreated leaky gut and chronic inflammation triggered my thyroid condition. You can be predisposed to an autoimmune condition, unfortunately with the typical American diet, it makes us more susceptible. Typically there is a major life event that triggers thyroid issues (for me it was my first pregnancy).
So What’s Next
Now that you’ve learned the dramatic effects your hormones have on your metabolism and how to reset it – get started! Pick one area and focus on it.
While it is easy to do, there is a lot to change. Take things one step at a time.
I’d love to hear your weight loss struggles in the comments below – come back later and let me know about your success too once you’ve reset your metabolism!
The Hormone Reset Diet by Sara Godfried
Shannon thank you so much for this article! I am definitely one who suffers from lots of exercise and healthy eating without seeing results! I definitely will give this a try because I am tired of working out so hard not to be rewarded. It is definitely time for a change and I could definitely use the extra energy and better skin as well! I can’t wait to get started!
If you don’t see results from your workouts, you surely will from resetting your hormones. I remember being stuck for months, then I reset my hormones and the weight started melting off and I actually exceeded my weight loss goals without trying. Keep me posted on how it goes and if you have any questions 🙂
For the last couple years, I have been sort of a balance nut. Plenty of meditation, exercise, Eastern and New Age practices. As such, this article really spoke to me! Everything down to our hormones controls our balance in body, mind, and spirit. Now I can be sure to get my hormones under control and achieve even deeper success. Thank you!
This really struck a chord with me. I think my hormones have been slightly off for a long time, even before I had our daughter 11 years ago. I struggled with fertility and at the time did a lot of reading about excess estrogen in the Western world. particularly since there are a lot of hormones now inherent in the food chain! I agree that eating as naturally as possible is good. Do you have any tips on cleansing/hormone balancing when you’re cooking for the whole family? It’s one of the things I find hardest, when I’m working all day and trying to keep house the rest of the time!
Infertility can also be linked to hormonal imbalance. I wonder if that was part of the equation for you. We have estrogen coming at us from so many angles – and you are so right about them coming from our food. Soy is a huge culprit and in so many processed foods. Most other cultures that eat a lot of soy eat fermented soy – which our body handles completely differently.
It is a challenge to find balance between good foods and time to cook them. We keep things pretty simple – a protein, vegetable and starch at every meal and we all eat the same foods. Now my family also has their favorite foods once a week or so, and I eat leftovers or make a variation of what they are eating for myself. Leftovers should be your best friend while going through detox and hormonal imbalance. When you make chicken, make enough to have a leftovers for several meals. When I bake sweet potatoes I make 5-6 so we have plenty of leftovers and the same for veggies. That way you are not spending more time cooking, but still have the foods you need.
Thanks for stopping by and for your insight into hormonal imbalance 🙂
Thank you so much for this article. I have never had issues with my weight, thankfully. But, the older I get, the more I realize how much hormones are easily affected and can upset the natural processes of the body if they aren’t in balance. This information is very useful and it helps a lot.
I completely agree, I never thought twice about hormones when I was younger. Here’s to happy and balanced hormones to keep us young!