Most all questions from women that reach out to me start with this:
What do you think of the X diet? My neighbor lost a ton of weight on it.
Do you think Y supplement is good? Cuz I see all these Facebook ads for it.
I’m going to start Z workout cuz my girlfriend just loves it, what do you think?
No wonder we’re all so confused about what’s best! Given our friends response to a plan and the very polarized wellness landscape and all it’s this is good, this is terrible.
With all the dogma, all the hacks, all the crazes and all the gurus shouting “this is THE answer for everyone” nonsense we are less certain than ever if we should be a vegan or a carnivore, religiously eat breakfast or fast, do intense metabolic training or yoga.
So we jump on these diets and workout fads, start adding butter to our coffee, cut out entire food groups and if it doesn’t work and/or we see new symptoms arise we wonder, “What’s wrong with me, it worked for so and so?”
And often instead of stepping back and reconsidering, we dig in deeper. Keto a bit harder, vegan up a bit better and drag ourselves to workouts that make us feel wrecked because people we trust to provide us with info said it’s great or your sister raves about it.
The problem is not that there is no merit or benefit to all of these different strategies or even that any of these strategies are right or wrong. The problem is that we often don’t know when they are right or wrong for us given our current hormonal landscape.
The goal of my book (written along with my bestie Sarah Fragoso) HANGRY: 5 Simple Steps To Balance Your Hormones & Restore Your Joy, is to help women understand their current hormone balance better so they can determine how a plan like keto, fasting, low carb, AIP, etc. will work with their metabolism – hopefully saving them a lot of frustration, metabolic derangement and frustration as they navigate a vast sea of health info.
And it’s sadly not as simple as this is the best diet if you have insulin resistance or blood sugar problem and that plan is the ideal if you have a thyroid problem and that one over there, that’s the one that rocks for female hormone issues like menopause…but what if you have multiple hormone issues? And most women do.
Or the worst: you’ve heard to do this plan for female hormone stuff like PCOS or menopause and you’ve read never to do that if you have a thyroid or cortisol problem.
Now you’re confused…and scared!
First my dear, take a deep breath, it’s more simple than you’ve been led to believe.
Again, it’s not that things like keto or fasting or Orange Theory or CrossFit are bad or good it’s just that they may not be good for you – or maybe just not good for you right now, given your current hormonal issues.
But when you know what your hormonal issues are (this is obviously the first step!) either per lab testing or by looking at symptoms (i.e. taking a quiz such as this) you can honor more delicate imbalances first by seeing how certain diet or exercise advice will impact those touchy hormone issues like low thyroid and low cortisol – the ones that will flare up if you take them on an aggressive diet or workout ride they aren’t ready for.
Here’s what you need to know: follow suggestions for the hormones at the top of the hierarchy first, heeding their needs above the others and as you resolve that you can move on down the list, tending to any other issues you may have.
So start at the top, heed the advice for low cortisol and low thyroid first, get some balance and then move on down the hormone hierarchy to save yourself – and your hormones – a lot of grief.
Hormones leaving you feeling confused, frustrated or stuck?
If you’re ready to clear up the confusion and mixed messages you’ve heard about hormones, diet and exercise; to feel at home in your body at last; and to be healthy and happy again, welcome.Work with Dr. Brooke
How do you know if what you’re doing is working for your hormones?
Hangry walks you through this step by step, but what you want to do as you try a new plan is watch for your symptoms to flare up. If your energy tanks, your appetite goes on full tilt or you sleep falls apart, that is your hormones telling you they hate your current lifestyle and diet (keto, paleo, vegan or otherwise) so don’t ignore them!
Biofeedback such as ACES (appetite, cravings, energy, and sleep) is your hormones talking to you, so don’t ignore them. If they go wonky, listen to what they are saying, as it’s time to reevaluate if this plan is best for you – at least for right now.
What Does Your Future Hold?
Strategies like keto may make your current hormone landscape worse, but at another time, with another set of hormone issues it may be just what will help you the most! So continue to understand where your hormones are at and know that, especially for women, your hormone landscape will change.
Continue to tune in and do not ignore your hormone talk (#beyourbestfriend) and you’ll have the tools to know if it’s time to change up your current exercise regimen or lifestyle habits or if it’s a good time to employ diet strategies like keto, fasting or the latest plan that hits the internet.
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