One thing I hear from women often is that they feel like their hormones are “off.” Despite eating well and exercising, nothing seems to make them feel better. Does this sound like you? Even when you don’t feel your best, do you push yourself to take care of your family, your home, and so many other responsibilities? Are you proud to “do it all,” but always still feel like you have an endless to-do list?
While, yes, you may feel like you can push, push, push, this chronic stress state will wreck your hormones. Not only estrogen and progesterone, which are always in inverse relationship to cortisol (your stress hormone), but other hormones like insulin, which controls blood sugar regulation. What does this all mean? Sugar cravings, feeling tired and wired, exhausted in the morning, and that spare tire around the mid-section.
Healthy hormones means great hair and skin, consistent energy, healthy libido, a revving metabolism, and mental focus. Below are four tips — beyond just eating better — to rebalance your hormones and feeling like yourself again.
1. Switch from the sympathetic “fight or flight” mode to the parasympathetic “rest and digest” mode whenever possible. Chronic stress is recognized by the body as being in survival mode. One easy way to do this is deep breathing. Seriously, how many times do you stop and just take deep breaths during the day? A few times a day, and any time you catch yourself feeling tense, take four slow deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling evenly through your nose. This tells your brain there’s no saber tooth tiger behind you. Another way to get into a relaxed state is through self-care. Treat yourself to a massage, a bath with Epsom salt, or restorative meditation.
2. Balance blood sugar through your diet. This can be done by eating protein and healthy fats with every meal or snack. You don’t have to be diabetic to have blood sugar regulation issues. Waking up in the middle of the night, feeling tired after meals, getting “hangry” in between meals, and getting the mid-afternoon slump are all signs of sugar imbalances. If you deal with cravings often, make sure you’re eating foods rich in B vitamins, vitamin C, and magnesium, or supplement appropriately.
3. Support the liver. The liver is responsible for more than 300 functions, many of which have to do with your hormones. It’s responsible for moving estrogen out of the body, handling your blood sugar regulation, converting thyroid hormone to its active form, and getting rid of all the toxins you have to deal with on a daily basis. There are a lot of ways to love your liver, but some quick tips are to eat quality protein, consume cruciferous vegetables daily, take a B-complex, start your day with lemon water, and take milk thistle daily. Additional detoxification tools that I love are castor oil packs and dry brushing.
4. Make sure you’re pooping. Your liver can process the toxins, but it’s up to the rest of your digestive system to move it out. If estrogen, bacteria, and toxins are not eliminated, they will be circulated back into the body, which can make you feel uncomfortable, moody, and low in energy. If you have constipation or other digestive issues, it’s really important to get to the underlying cause to have optimal hormonal health.
I hope you’ve found some of these tips helpful and can apply them right away. Take charge of your health – and your hormones — so that you can show up your best every single day.
Megan is a Nutrition Therapy Practitioner who helps women get to the root cause of their digestive issues, weight gain, and chronic fatigue. You can email her for to book a complimentary 20-minute session or join her Private Facebook group, Real Health & Nutrition for Women.