Not Losing Weight? Hormone Issues Could Be to Blame
By Britni Vincent, RD, LD
September 17, 2019
In this five-part blog series, our nutritionists are explaining five causes of stalled weight loss and tips on how to combat these issues. For more in-depth information, and even more surprising culprits, join us in our next Nutrition 4 Weight Loss series, starting the week of January 13, 2020.
Chances are if weight loss is one of your health goals, you’re thinking food and exercise are your keys to success. And while those are important, actually let me correct that to say food in particular is crucial, there are a lot of other factors that may be stalling your weight loss. One of those culprits is estrogen dominance.
Estrogen what? That’s the reaction I get from many clients and Nutrition 4 Weight Loss class participants. In a nutshell, estrogen dominance is too much estrogen compared to your progesterone. This commonly happens to women, and even men, of all ages. There are a few reasons the imbalance can happen. One big contributing factor is xenoestrogens, which are chemicals in our environment that essentially mimic estrogen. These accumulate and get stored in your body, which throws off your hormonal balance. Imbalance also frequently happens during perimenopause/menopause. As periods become less and less frequent, progesterone production takes a sharp nose dive, due to less ovulating and eventually none at all. Yes, production of estrogen decreases as well, but not as much as progesterone.
How Estrogen Dominance Slows Metabolism
Estrogen stores fat and fat cells make estrogen, so this easily becomes a vicious cycle.
Indicators of Estrogen Dominance
- Weight gain around puberty
- Weight gain around perimenopause/menopause
- Weight gain in your hips, thighs and arms
- Acne on your chin and jawline
- Hormonal migraines/headaches
- PMS, irregular menstrual cycles
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Long history of birth control use
- Premature puberty
- Many menopause symptoms (hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, vaginal dryness, low libido)
There is much we can do with nutrition to support and even solve your hormone issues, which will also help to heal your metabolism (plus many of those indicators above!). Here’s just a sampling of the ideas we share in Nutrition 4 Weight Loss:
- Start with your diet. The first step is to reduce sugar, processed carbohydrates and alcohol. These can all increase estrogen production. Instead, eat lots of veggies. Cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, basically the smelly ones) are especially helpful to reduce estrogen dominance. The fiber in veggies also helps to reduce estrogen dominance and promote a healthy gut. Good gut health is also necessary for optimal hormone metabolism and production.
- Fat actually helps to make hormones so you need healthy fat on board. Be sure to incorporate avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut, olives, olive oil, grass-fed butter, and coconut oil into your diet. Avoid inflammatory oils like canola, vegetable, soybean and cottonseed oil. These will not help you with optimal hormone production.
- Of course eating real food can work magic, but sometimes you may need some additional help from supplements. This is where a nutritionist would come in to prioritize what supplements can help your hormone balance.
Rest assured, our tips for rebalancing hormones really do help with weight loss. For example, when I first started working with Allison she had a weight loss goal of 20 pounds, wanted to clear up acne on her chin and jawline, and cut down her PMS symptoms. When we first met she wasn’t eating enough protein or healthy fats and consequently too many carbohydrates, so we started there to get her diet balanced. After transitioning to a real food diet she still had acne and PMS, although she had lost some weight but not much. After asking more questions it was apparent that we needed to rebalance her hormones due to her estrogen dominance. With that mystery unlocked, I suggested more veggies, a reduction in dairy and supplements that got rid of her PMS, acne and those unwanted pounds!
To learn more tips and tricks for balancing your hormones – supplement ideas to name one –
Plus, Nutrition 4 Weight Loss (both in-person and online) comes with private one-on-one nutrition consultations to find an individual plan that works for you.
Here’s to balanced hormones and to health goals achieved. We hope to see you soon!