Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Secrets to Being Fit and Fab: Learn to work with your hormones

PHS editor Michelle Styles who lost over 60 lbs in 2011 and has maintained her weight ever since looks at the role female hormones play in weight loss.

Hormones. Time of the month. PMS. It can play havoc with any well intentioned weight loss regime or maintenance programme. But the role hormones play in the cycle has been basically ignored. A sort of one size/one sex fits all regime.
However there is growing evidence that they do play a large part. Some doctors and researchers now believe PCOS and other womanly complaints are on the syndrome x or metabolic syndrome spectrum. In other words, what you eat can have a direct correlation to your menstrual cycle. Anyone who needs chocolate at specific time of the month will understand what I mean.
And it is possible to work with your hormones rather than against them. To make tweaks to your eating habits so that you are not on a permanent binge cycle with raging PMS or worse.
The big guru for this is Alisa Vitti who used diet and a few lifestyle changes to manage her PCOS and subsequently developed a practice FLOliving to help other women. She recently published a book, Womancode to help women around the world.
Her basic protocol is a five step process -- 1. Stabilise your blood sugar. 2. nurture your adrenal glands 3. support your organs of elimination 4. sync your eating with your cycle 5. engage your feminine energy.
But everything starts with stabilising your blood sugar. Vitti offers practical tips including drink water when you first wake up and eat something within 90 minutes of waking. The ideal is to have your blood sugar on an even keel rather than being a series of peaks and troughs. This means eating every 3 - 4 hours and choosing nutrient rich food. With breakfast, make sure you include some protein (could be nuts or seeds rather than just animal protein).
She also has an easy four day cleanse which she details in her book which I did last month and was surprised at how much better I felt.
Vitti also points that many women suffer low level inflammation of the small intestine which can be exacerbated by dairy and gluten. Dairy is loaded with estrogen, particularly as most milking cows are kept pregnant year round and milk from a pregnant cow is more likely to have the sort of estrogen that affects women..Adding more estrogen to a women who already has hormonal problems can be adding fuel to the flames, rather than helping.
 It is known in certain nutritional circles that if you eliminate something like dairy for a few weeks, your sensitivity does decrease and you can slowly reintroduce it. You can get calcium from other products such as watercress and other dark leafy greens as well as quinoa.
Vitti gives a protocol to test if you are experiencing dairy or gluten sensitivity and how to work with that.
If you are experiencing hormonal problems which send your weight loss programme into a spin, I really recommend reading Womancode and the other literature currently emerging about how you can use your diet to work with your hormones rather than against them.
So if you think your hormones are playing havoc with your diet, help is at hand.

Michelle Styles writes warm, witty and intimate historical romance for Harlequin Historical. Her next book Paying the Viking's Price releases in November 2013. You can learn more about Michelle and her books on

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