So why doesn’t it work for everyone? Your hormones.
Dieting and over or inappropriate exercise can at best not trigger the right fat burning hormone combo of growth hormone and testosterone and at worst dysregulate hormones such as thyroid that despite your decrease in calories in or increase in calories out, your metabolism slows right down.
The end result is that even though the equation works out on paper is that you don’t lose weight. Worse, you may even gain weight as your metabolism on a cellular level gets dysregulated.
Women get this they know their hormones matter. They see the changes in their physique during the second week of their cycle. They lean up, see more for their efforts in the gym, sleep better, think more clearly, have more energy and feel less bloated thanks to the surge in estrogen. Then two weeks later they feel more anxious, fatigued, puffy, bloated and having way too many “fat days” thanks to the decline of our female hormones and our impending menstrual period.
Us ladies also have felt the frustration as our female hormones start to wane after age 30 – yes it starts that early! And menopause? Talk about frustration.
Body fat increase around the middle and everything we use to do that works no longer does. As we lose our female hormone balance we lose not only the perks of estrogen and progesterone themselves but many things change with regards to our metabolisms.
Thyroid gets more touchy, we are more insulin resistant (read that: we may need to pay more attention to our carb and wine intake) and we become more stress sensitive (read that one: lack of sleep, the wrong exercise or too much exercise, and emotional stress take a much bigger toll on us and cause fat gain and inflammation much easier.
Any woman that’s been a chronic or yo-yo dieter knows that this cycle of deprivation creates hormonal imbalances that don’t seem to heal on their own just by eating more food and dialing back the cardio anymore.
Gut health, inflammation, depletion of intracellular nutrients (those that are key to turn a food calorie into energy), a variety of nasty impacts on the thyroid making it less efficient and a brain based dysregulation of adrenal and ovarian hormone production that messes up your stress response, blood sugar and period.
As well any woman that’s been on a diet or quickly added several more workouts in a week knows that her appetite shoots way up and she’s fighting hunger and cravings for all the things that aren’t allowed on her diet and perhaps her energy is in the tank in the morning or mid-afternoon yet she’s wound up and not sleeping well at night.
Oh and if you can’t tough it out what’s wrong here? You lack willpower.
Talk about a trap!
Your hormones are crying out to you that they hate your diet and exercise plan with changes to your ACES: appetite, cravings, energy and sleep (more about that in this post) anna I’ll write this up as a blog post so we can link to it here but we ignore them because dieting has been part of our culture and often our family life since we were little girls.
It know it was for me, more about my story below. But our hormones talk to us they will tell you quickly whether you’re on the right track or not with your diet and exercise program.
And when you don’t heed their call they will not quiet down, they will get louder. Soon the hormonal chatter not only comes from the hormones that control your ACES (namely insulin and cortisol) but will start to get louder from your female hormones as well by way of worsening PMS, a less predictable or missed period, breakouts or more. Read more about female hormones imbalances and my CRAMPS acronym to learn how they talk to you each day.
Then there’s the psychological toll. The anxiety over restriction, the obsession, the if I can only lose a little more I’ll be happy, drive myself into the ground for the sake of chasing self-worth our society has wrongly equated with being skinnier or smaller and the jumping on this plan then that plan with complete abandon of what this is all doing to our hormones.
And I haven’t even talked about the impact of endocrine disruptors in make-up and water bottles, the hormones in the animal fat we eat, the host of inflammation sources (inflammation is what I call the great hormone mess maker) we have from food sensitivities to chronic infections to stress and our wonky microbiomes.
So long but somewhat frustrating story short, weight loss – specifically fat loss – is a lot more complicated than merely eating less.
Even beyond our hormones and physical health, weight loss is a landmine of unhealthy mindsets that are pervasive, breed shame and guilt and keep us on and off track at best and miserable at worst.
Learn more about my email based program to help you Master Your Misery Makers of unfairness, guilt, it’s too hard, deserve and of course comparison.
My Weight Loss Story (It May Also Be Yours)
For years, my hormonal issues of PCOS, a sluggish thyroid and fatigued adrenals create a body that felt uncomfortable, unfamiliar and beyond frustrating to live in. My period would come and go at random, my sleep was truly horrible, my face was full of breakouts, my weight has difficult to control and I felt at the mercy of my messed up hormones. This challenged every insecurity I’d ever had. I felt not pretty enough, not thin enough…not good enough.
While I’ve never been drastically overweight, I’ve never had an easy time losing fat – despite my desperate attempts. I started dieting around age 15 having developed a loathing for my “big butt” (as my mother, perhaps unknowingly gave me a complex about). As I grew up and began to learn about metabolism and medicine, I felt betrayed by my hormones and my genetics – and I in turn betrayed my body at every opportunity when it came to weight loss.
I acted as my worst enemy time and time again, pushing myself to brink of breaking over and over. All in an effort to look the way I thought I was supposed to look. In a vain attempt to force my hormones to get in line. I had lived my life thinking: I’ll be happy when my body looks different.
Alas, at my leanest I was farther from happiness than I was when I started. I was exhausted and injured from over exercise, I was terrified to sit next to a carbohydrate for fear I’d gain weight and had stressed my adrenals and thyroid near their limit. And the worst happened anyway…..
A review of my book on Amazon.com changed my life. This wasn’t an attack on my knowledge and understanding of hormones or biochemistry, it was an attack on my body.
An all-out insult about my “round face and fat neck”. It hurt me to the core because after all, I’d said those things (or worse) thousands of times to myself.
This experience cracked me wide open and I knew there had to be another way. I realized I’d been chasing an ideal that I wasn’t even sure was mine. I realized there was no one “out there” that could ever be expected approve of my body in any way that really mattered. I realized I had to hold my body in higher regard instead of placing that responsibility in others as even in the best shape of my life I wasn’t good enough for someone.
It broke my heart – not just reading those cruel words but getting present to how sad it was to live in this place of constantly feeling my body had to be different. I knew there had to be a BETTER way.
I knew that in order to help women whose bodies change so often throughout their life, whose hormones are a moving target from week to week and who like me, have spent far too much time “feeling fat” whether at their thinnest or heaviest, that I had to find a BETTER way. For you, and for myself.
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