You go to yoga, drink your green smoothies, eat organic, practice mindfulness, and your library is full of books on health. You probably feel like you are doing everything right—right? But despite your time and effort and how much you think you should be healthy because of your actions, your hormones could still be a mess. Having helped thousands of women with their hormone and fertility problems, one of the biggest pieces of wisdom I can give you is this:
Healthy on the outside doesn't always mean healthy on the inside.
It's like you've got a hot little sports car that appears to be the bomb, but when you check under the hood, everything is blocked and corroded. So while you may think everything looks great, things might not be so perfect. But don't worry, sister, I have your back. Here are a couple of red flags that many women need to start paying attention to:
You're eating an amazing diet, getting enough exercise, and sleeping nine hours each night, but you're still tired? The quality of food you're putting into your body is high, so why is the output of energy so low? This is a huge red flag that something is likely awry with your digestion. If digestion is impaired, it also makes it difficult to get the necessary nutrients out of the food you are eating to make blood, which is necessary for optimal liver function. And guess what one of the primary functions of the liver is? Hormone metabolization.
Let's work backward. Remember that the liver is responsible for hormone breakdown? Well, there's a ton of progesterone and estradiol in the last phase of your cycle, and if the liver can't do its job of breaking down all the extra hormones, it starts getting a bit "stuck" and you get symptoms like breast tenderness (fluids are stuck), bloating (fluid and gas are stuck in the abdomen), and irritability (emotional stuckness). If you want more examples check out my blog.
And while there are dozens of other small signs that your hormones are out of whack, these two are major. The big take-away here is that sadly, there isn't a magic pill to fix these issues. It is important to look at each individual woman's issues and figure out why her hormones are disrupted and fix each imbalance in order to help her achieve optimal health.
Use your cycle as a tool to measure your level of health.
And while it may not seem like it, this is actually good news. It tells us that our menstrual cycles can provide immediate and regular feedback on how our body is reacting to the way we are living our lives. Your body will respond within 30 days to any change in your diet, sleep, exercise program, or stress levels. So if you are contemplating making a big change in any of these areas, chart your cycle the month before and see how your cycle responds.
And of course, if your cycle issues are giving you some serious problems, it may require more than diet and lifestyle change and you will want to find a qualified health care practitioner.
Ready to learn more about what anxiety, brain health, and your diet all have in common? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Dr. Mark Hyman.