Hormones are the most important component to weight loss and muscle gain!

It’s time to consider the possibility that hormonal imbalances could be the cause of your troubles. It is one of the most over looked areas when someone is trying to get healthy and lose weight/gain muscle.  There are several hormones effecting the body.  For females, Progesterone is one of the main drivers of our hormones.  This can determine our fat loss or fat gain.

Too much Estrogen could be making you gain fat:

-Progesterone lowers insulin levels.

-Progesterone is a natural anti-inflammatory.

-Progesterone is a natural sleep aid.

-Progesterone reduces fluid retention.

You can see the dramatic effects of this in the dairy industry. They give excess amounts of estrogen to the cows because it fattens them up. Which is also why it is a good idea to eat and drink organic dairy and meat products. To make matters worse, your fat cells make more estrogen, and your estrogen causes more fatty tissue growth. This excess fat usually accumulates around the abdomen when you are estrogen dominant because estrogen levels also impact where the body distributes fat. You can end this by balancing your estrogen with a proper level of progesterone.  This is also why it’s important to know where your levels are at, to know if you are balanced.  Insulin is affected by hormone imbalances, and estrogen dominance can lead to the release of excess insulin.  Increases in insulin can lead to sugar cravings that can be hard to control. Therefore, many women crave chocolate or other sweets during PMS.

Reducing inflammation also helps your brain to receive anther hormone called Leptin, which helps to regulate your appetite. Balanced hormones make it easier to eat in moderation and lose weight.

Progesterone has a calming effect on the brain. Estrogen on the other hand has the opposite effect on the brain. Because of this, women with estrogen dominance typically sleep very restlessly. Sleep deprivation is also associated with disrupting the hormone that regulates your appetite (Leptin). Lack of sleep has been linked to both increased calorie consumption and reduced energy expenditure (more calories in and fewer calories expended will always result in weight gain.

When Estrogen levels are not balanced out by adequate levels of progesterone, women tend to retain more fluid than usual, and no one likes being bloated.  Progesterone is a natural diuretic that can greatly reduce bloating and swelling.

Women should be focused on eating more of the right foods and exercising. This means eating higher amounts of vegetables and “estrogen free protein” (a soy free and organic meat focused approach) as well as engaging in weight training over cardio. There are only three ways to reliably restore hormones: sleep, adequate protein, and intense exercise using weights.

Weight training is perhaps the most important aspect of this and is critical for female health specially to stop the belly fat that accumulates during aging. Progesterone is to women what testosterone is to men. It keeps them looking young, lean, and firm. Once progesterone levels fall due to stress, menopause, or other factors, getting our Progesterone back in balance is all that is left to keep belly fat in check.

Women falsely believe less intense exercise like walking and yoga will give them the desired “look “they want. While these activities are exceedingly healthy, they will not be adequate to generate the hormonal effect needed to raise Progesterone. However, they will work synergistically with more intense exercise to lower the negative impact of cortisol.
Here are some ways that you can natural help your hormones:

1. Decrease exposure to all estrogen related factors in the diet and environment. Including plastic bottles, coffee, soy, pesticides, non-organic meats, sodas, etc.
2.Help the body deal with excess estrogen through natural detoxification. This is done through increased intake of green tea, cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc.), increased fiber, tailored supplementation, and decreased dairy and grain 
3. Drink water (not out of plastic) and green tea, and skip coffee and other beverages.
4. Supplement with Vitamin D, calcium, and Fish Oil, to protect bones, and decrease inflammation.
5. Train with weights 3 to 5 times per week to burn fat, build muscle, build bone, and improve mood.  NOTHING compares to weight lifting exercise.