The more I read + research for my health, and the more I learn, I’m finding there is one consistent thing to be true: DON’T FUCK WITH YOUR HORMONES.
Hormones signal and control so many of our body processes. And no, it’s not all about trying to have a baby. #nottryingtogetpregnant
“There are more than 80 identified human hormones, all with distinctly different roles.”
You have hormones for:
- hunger levels
- managing stress
- memory + brain function
- energy levels
- makin’ babies
- sex drive
- fight or flight response
- ….among many other basic body processes
What Are Hormones Made Out Of?
Well, fat + proteins mostly. But fat is the key thing I want to focus on here.
If you are at all involved in the CrossFit realm, you may have noticed that tracking macros has taken over their world. I was one of them. Until I wasn’t.
With this trend of tracking macros, comes the improved performance of many athletes, along with shredded six-pack abs in female athletes. But here’s the thing: there is a VERY SMALL percentage of women who can naturally obtain the six-pack without compromising their hormone health.
Newsflash: I’m not one of them.
The Christmas Abbotts and Juli Bauers (I seriously love them) of the world are few and far between, but it is not something we should put on a pedestal to achieve without knowing the true cost to our health, and knowing when enough is enough before it’s too late.
I hate that “health” is signified by abs. It plays a total mindfuck with me when I am a nutritionist trying to encourage others to become advocates for their own health, and my “softer tummy” is frowned upon in this culture.
There is nothing inherently WRONG about tracking your food intake.
BUT. (there’s always a but…) Now, hear me out. If you feel like you “HAVE” to track in order to maintain a certain physique, I seriously hope you consider the thought that it isn’t a sustainable or healthy way to live. Sure it can be purposeful for A SEASON of your life, but if it’s ruling your day-to-day, and it’s all you can think about, you need to have a hard conversation around this stuff. Let’s get real honest with ourselves and assess our mindsets around this. Ok? ok.
Sorry, getting passionately side-tracked.
Back to My Focus: Hormones.
So, as a female, let me just shoot it to you straight. Our most natural sign of homeostasis in our body + marker of good health as a woman is the presence of our menstrual cycle. Sorry dudes, but we are going there.
I know we all complain about how annoying and inconvenient our periods can be, especially when they affect our day-to-day routines, but regardless if you’ve already had kids, want to have kids, or don’t want to have kids… IF YOUR CYCLE IS IRREGULAR or ABSENT YOU ARE PUTTING YOUR HEALTH AT A SEVERE RISK. I’m not addressing menopause ladies here. I’m talking about the average woman in her 20s-30s who wants the short-term gain of physical abs who will most likely experience severe hormone imbalances FOR LIFE because of it.
Just know the consequences, y’all.
The truth whether you want to hear it or not: we as women are meant to have more fat on our bodies in order to maintain a proper hormone balance + function. Extreme leanness = less body fat = hormone dysfunction. This doesn’t mean you have to be “overweight”… it just means six-pack abs may not be benefitting you in the long run, ESPECIALLY if it’s a struggle to maintain that level of leanness and it doesn’t come to you naturally.
It’s a no-brainer that the female hormone cycle operates on roughly a 28-day cycle, but did you know that the male hormone cycle operates on a 24 HOUR cycle? And most diet regimens + fitness routines are formatted or proven to work for the benefit of the male hormone cycle, not a woman’s?
“Your diet and your workout routine needs to be in harmony with your hormonal patterns and support your endocrine system specifically. For stable hormonal balance, your body requires certain nutrients and minerals, as well as a good source of fat, for example, which is often the ingredient that gets cast aside in the quest for healthiness. Women actually need to eat fat to lose weight and to have their period – this is just one example of how much of what we’ve been taught about “healthy living” is not right for female biology.”
Just be smart, you guys.
I’m not trying to scare you. I’m just trying to educate + help you assess and pay attention to what your body is telling you. And if you’ve been feeling a little lack-luster in life or are brushing off some random symptoms, it might be worth a shot to consider an alternate way of doing things in your health routines.
What Does a Hormone Imbalance Look Like?
- irregular / absent periods
- prolonged periods (32+ day cycles)
- anxiety / depression
- bad PMS symptoms
- no appetite or excessive appetite
- low sex drive
- sensitivity to caffeine
- “muffin top” (high cortisol)
- stubborn weight loss
- rapid weight gain
- significant stress
- hair falling out
- hair growth (in not so feminine places)
- fatigue / low energy
- hot flashes
If you are a serious health nut and feel like you’ve been ignoring some of these symptoms, I encourage you to assess where you are at before you make things worse by learning to work with your hormones, and not against them. Check out this article here to get started.
How To Balance Hormones Naturally
Right now, I am working to balance my hormones naturally with tracking my cycle and implementing the principles of food, fitness + lifestyle during certain phases of the month via the myFLO app. #notsponsored #ijustreallyloveit
The myFLO App
The myFLO app will tell you what types of foods to eat, exercise routines, work tasks, and lifestyle practices to focus on during each phase of your hormone cycle. It’s pretty cool, and in the short amount of time I’ve been implementing it, I’ve seen improvements.
Over the last few weeks, I have been doing a hormone salivary panel test in order to see what my hormones are doing throughout the entire month! Be on the lookout for more details into this process, my specific hormone imbalances + test results, and how you can get tested, too!
So, now that I may have sufficiently overwhelmed you or scared you, where do you start on the path to syncing your cycle with your health + fitness routines so that you can feel, look, sleep, think and perform your best?
- Download the myFLO app and start paying attention!!!
- Support your body with the proper amount of food intake + quality dietary fats
- Ensure you are getting enough fiber (~30g) to move excess estrogen from the system
- Drink plenty of water + balance electrolytes with quality sea salt
- Implement good sleep habits (wind down early, no electronics 1-2 hours before bedtime, drink CALM)
- Supplement with a B Complex
- Support your liver function with things like digestive bitters, dandelion tea, artichokes
- Cut harsh chemicals from your household + beauty products
Do you suspect you have a hormone imbalance?
Have you tried cycle-syncing?
Let me know your hormone woes in the comments below!