This month I am focusing the blog series on female hormones and how to use a natural approach to balancing them with food, supplements and lifestyle.
This is a topic that is close to my heart (as are many topics it is becoming apparent).
When I first moved to London in 2008, the stress of the change in lifestyle in addition to poor dietary choices due to exposure of a different culture caused me to reach “rock bottom” where my health and hormonal balance was concerned.
I was suffering from burn out, IBS, my skin wasn’t the same as what it was and my periods were extremely heavy and very painful.
After digging around on the internet I suspected I had endometriosis.
The suspicions were confirmed went I visited a gynaecologist in South Africa that December. He suggested a laparoscopy.
The good news was the laparoscopy came back clear. I didn’t have endometriosis.
The bad news – well I still had no explanation for why I felt like sh*t.
Except I did.
For the past year my life had been bonkers.
Despite the fact I had a degree in Human Movement and Biochemistry, was working as a personal trainer AND completing the final year of my nutrition degree, quite frankly I was doing a lot wrong and very little right.
I wasn’t eating properly – living on a small budget and over-excited by all the convenience food we never had in a small town in SA.
I wasn’t sleeping enough – I was working every morning and evening, getting to bed late, up early and studying between. Not to mention crazy house mates throwing parties and coming home all hours of the night.
I was exercising too much. Everyone talks about the “Heathrow Injection”. You come to London from SA and you automatically gain weight. In an attempt to not be affected by said condition I was trying to maintain the same exercise levels I had in SA. Which meant lots and lots of cardio, usually on not enough food or sleep.
Stress levels were through the roof for every reason possible. Not having a stable place to live, financial insecurities, adjusting to living in a busy city on a different continent in a new hemisphere, the stress of studying on top of that and no real support network.
So after that “You don’t have endometriosis” December I started my path to learning how to look after myself again.
It took me I good 3 years to start to return to something that seemed “normal”, which was 2011. And in the 5 years since I have been on a continuous journey of self care.
This is why I am so passionate about this.
Because I have been there on this journey that so many women tell me about.
I know I didn’t have endometriosis but I have coached clients through it, not to mention those affected by PCOS, fibroids and menopause.
What is becoming increasingly apparent is that most women aren’t looking after their basic needs.
I used to teach nutrition & weight loss like this…
But now I want to start teaching like this…
And that’s why everything I wrote about in the stress series (which you can catch up on previous posts) needed to come first.
But now, it’s time to talk about the sex hormones and introduce you to your cycle.
To keep things simple, I am mainly going to talk about progesterone and oestrogen for now.
They are the 2 main female hormones and this is a healthy pattern across a month.
If you are taking any hormone replacement therapy like the contraceptive pill or injection, your cycle won’t look like this because you will be over-ruled by the artificial hormones. Sadly, this means this series is not for you.
In the first half of the cycle oestrogen should be higher than progesterone and surge around the 14 day mark to allow for ovulation.
This can be the first thing that can go wrong, if you are unable to create an oestrogen surge, you won’t be able to ovulate (and I’ll be talking about what could affect that in following emails).
In the second half of the cycle progesterone is higher than oestrogen. This can often be where the second problem arises. If progesterone is low relative to oestrogen we get what we call oestrogen dominance which is then associated with many hormone related problems like PCOS, endometriosis, fibroids and even menopausal symptoms.
I’ll be going into more detail about what causes oestrogen dominance and how you can balance it. But in a nut shell, managing stress is the root of it all.
The first half of the cycle is about accelerating.
It is about getting the body to prepare to become pregnant. If you can’t “accelerate” falling pregnant may be a problem. You may notice a shortened cycle.
The second half of the cycle is about breaking.
It’s about activating the immune system (if you don’t fall pregnant) to prepare for the shed of the uterine lining (essentially an immune response – which explains why from ovulation onwards women with endo may have more symptoms). You may experience a longer cycle if you aren’t “breaking” properly.
When the immune system is imbalanced – which comes back to the concept of inflammation and digestive health – this can affect the acceleration and breaking cycles.
So hormonal balance ultimately comes back to stress management and gut health.
That is a very short summary of everything we’ll cover this month.
The question is, now, what do you do about it?
The answer to that will follow next few weeks as we pick apart piece of these mechanisms. I do deliver information in small chunks and give a lot of repetition so that you can absorb it in small amounts.
It also means you have the space to reflect on your own life and what actions, however small you can implement THIS week to make a small difference across the month.
I run a small Online Women’s Weight Loss Program that offer a personalised nutrition and exercise support to produce life changing and life-lasting results.
If you want to give up the guessing game and have someone just tell you what to do and hold you accountable to actually doing it then this is probably exactly what you have been waiting for.
Life doesn’t get better by chance, it gets better by choice. Now you have a moment where you can choose to take a step towards a very different future and join the community of like minded women who are not just losing weight, but transforming their lives, filling them with happiness and health.
To find out more about how my coaching program can help you, please fill out the application below to book a complimentary breakthrough call and find out out about working with me in more detail.