I tried so many different diet strategies. Some worked short term; others did nothing. I’m the type of person that will try just about anything once, but if it doesn’t work, I’m off looking for a new way of fixing my problems. If something does work, even short term, I am bound to go back and try it again, hoping for better results.
So, from age 15 through 29, I battled my increasing weight with everything you’d expect: free meal plans I got from magazines; books promising amazing abs; 7- to 14-day cleanses; herbal supplements; and “miracle” products like Hydroxycut.
I had my good weeks…if I really put my mind to it, I could lose 5-8 pounds in a week.
But, going back to “normal”, I always regained the weight back, and then some. By the time I was 29, I was 170 lbs and wearing a very tight size 12 clothes (I probably should have been in size 14).
And I HATED what I saw in the mirror. So much so that it triggered me to finally get my shit together and lose the weight.
My Calorie Counting Unpleasantness
I can’t say my one and only true dieting experience was a nightmare. Looking back, it wasn’t so bad. I made it a challenge for myself, which seems to work for me. Sure, I never had any fun and kept myself as isolated from society as I possibly could in the name of weight loss.
But, I taught myself a cleaner way of eating. I took pride in learning new approaches to cooking healthy yet delicious meals. And I lost almost 40 pounds and dropped to a size 4/6.
All this by counting every single calorie I ate and logging every single calorie I burned through exercise.
So, it was a success but…I couldn’t keep the weight off afterwards!
My Rebound Weight Frustrations
In February of 2008, I hit my goal weight of 140 lbs. In April of that year, I hit 128 lbs and was SO proud of myself! I do admit to believing everyone when they said I looked too skinny at that weight but I felt pretty good.
Slowly I began eating a few of my favorite foods again and going out with friends. And slowly my weight started to creep back up. In August of 2008, I was back up to 138 lbs, which I felt was still okay.
However, by the following summer, I was struggling HARD to keep my weight off. I fell into a cycle of binge eating on weekends and restriction during the week. I was super confused and felt really lost and hopeless.
In a last-ditch effort to lose the weight for good, I got off The Pill, but this didn’t help. And I ended up with a nasty hormonal imbalance that caused horrible cystic acne and painful PMS and just a whole mess of hormonal issues.
I really wanted to fix this but wanted to take a more natural route. So, I made an appointment with a naturopath and she got me started on balancing my estrogen and progesterone.
But not only that, she took a look at my entire body. And told me that my hormonal issues and my weight problems were symptoms of a larger issue…namely that my body was basically just all out of whack and I needed to make some changes!
The Major Connections
Your body works intricately to keep you alive. No system or organ works independently and when one is not functioning its best, it causes a cascade of effects that lead to a whole bunch of symptoms.
For women with hormonal imbalances, those symptoms can seem so very unrelated. In fact, though, the more confusing your health symptoms, the more likely you have a hormonal imbalance.
But it’s not just about the hormones or your endocrine system.
All health starts with digestion. If your stomach acid is too low or you’re eating the wrong foods for your body and its health state, the act of simply eating can cause toxicity and inflammation.
All toxins must be filtered by the liver, so an overly toxic state can impair its ability to detoxify and neutralize excess hormones.
Chronic low-grade inflammation boosts your cortisol release, which can cause reproductive issues (PMS, estrogen dominance, low progesterone), increase insulin resistance and cravings, boost belly fat storage, and slow down your metabolism. Inflammation is also at the heart of fatigue and energy issues, as well as poor sleep.
Subpar digestion can also cause malnutrition because the nutrients in your healthy diet may not be getting to the cells that need them. And, it can cause problems with your gut microbiome which affects sleep and mood.
What Finally Worked for My Weight Loss
The three biggest wins for me and how I continue to keep my weight steady and still wear my size 6 clothes were these:
Digestion – I started to really pay attention to how my body felt and looked after eating certain foods. I discovered that any types of high-carb foods, even gluten-free whole grains, made me feel bloated and sluggish afterwards. So, I ditched all of these except for a few strategically placed higher carb meals each week to keep my cortisol levels balanced. I also began taking a probiotic daily.
Liver – I began experimenting with liver supplements and found a combination that works for me. I regularly eat detoxifying foods like lemon, apples, beets and leafy greens. And I add in certain foods that I know will detoxify excess hormones for me, especially when I may be eating something that interferes with that. For example, ground flaxseeds detoxify excess estrogen and drinking alcohol interferes with this, so I increase my flaxseed consumption for a few days after any wine nights.
Stress Management – I try my best to keep my stress levels down. I’m easily overwhelmed so I’ve come up with different strategies to help me feel more in control. And I always give myself at least 45 minutes of quiet reading time before bed each night.
What You Can Do
Stubborn or unexplained weight issues tend to be related to your hormones. And your hormones are so easily affected by imbalances elsewhere in your body or your life.
My 40 or Less Method is a hormonal fat loss system that helps you choose the best foods to boost digestion and liver health. We work on eating the right way for overall hormonal health and reduced inflammation. And I teach you how to enjoy certain favorite foods without the consequences.
Hit me up with an email if you’d like to learn more!