It is one week into my “back to school fitness special for 50% off” and I am seeing some hormone related weight gain patterns with the women I’ve helped so far... and I‘ve seen these patterns many times over with the thousands of women I’ve helped world wide. Hormone related weight gain comes down to a few main things..
The 2 top hormone related weight gain issues I see with women going through midlife are:
Thyroid issues are very common these days! Most women I’ve worked with, seem to have an underperforming thyroid, something that Dr Christian Northrup (one of the world leaders of women's health and body wisdom) has identified as "subclinical hypothyroidism", where you can be on the scale of testing normal but still be suffering from symptoms especially 10-30lbs you cannot seem to lose.
The way a client stores body fat tells me volumes about what is going on with their hormones, endocrine system, blood sugar, liver, and mitochondria, and if you store fat predominantly in your hips, thighs and a bit in your belly, this is an estrogen dominant body fat storing type. High estrogens unfortunately, naturally suppress the thyroid, leading to more weight gain, as well can cause sleep issues, stress issues and more hormone related issues.
Don't get me wrong, as women we need our estrogen, but when it’s out of balance in ratio to our progesterone, that’s when you get peri menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, sleep issues, weight gain, and higher cortisol.
Excess estrogen is also linked to liver issues, which is important to note as the liver is what’s responsible for freeing up fatty acids into the blood stream to be burned (fat burning).
The other part of this equation which is hormone influenced is:
A lot of women I work with end up consuming more calories than they think, every day, due to their slowed metabolism and not being mindful of the food they’re eating. A few hundred calories every day ends up lending to a few lbs of weight gain at the end of the month, month in and out. Combine this with the issues above and bam, the perfect recipe for peri-menopausal weight gain!
Well I want to share a recipe with you so you can use your food as medicine plus a top supplement I’ve shared with my clients with great success!
In this recipe we use some very strategic ingredients and I’ve broken down as follows, so you can understand the power of using this hormone healing dish as your weight loss medicine:
Super low in calories, full of antioxidants such as anthocyanins and kaempferol which heals all cells and fights inflammation, packed with gut cleansing fibre which will sweep out excess estrogens, as well as a compound called sulforaphane, a natural anti-estrogen.
Most renowned for their high selenium content, Brazil nuts are actually the richest known food source of this vital nutrient. Selenium is an essential mineral and antioxidant that is required daily to support a healthy immune system as well as thyroid hormones that stimulate the metabolism (T4 to T3 conversion by thyroxine). In fact, a single Brazil nut can contain 68-91mcg of selenium, easily meeting the recommended daily allowance of between 60-75mcg.
These guys are what I call “free foods” and I always encourage my clients to fill their plate with them. They contain trace amounts of calories, tons of fibre, and high amounts of micro-nutrition as well as natural anti-estrogens that will keep your gut and liver healthy, happy and functioning optimally! My fave cruciferous veggies to fill my plate with are asparagus, brussel sprouts, and broccoli.
Radishes are among the most nutritionally loaded low-calorie vegetables. They provide high levels of vitamin C and also contain the active enzyme myrosinase, a digestive enzyme that helps the body process proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Daikon has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and diuretic properties. Daikon can help with or protect from digestive disorders, constipation, cancer, immune system disorders, osteoporosis, respiratory disorders, acne and water retention.
Full of enzymes, minerals for bone health, as well as sulforaphane and another anti-estrogen like compound called Indole-3-carbinol. Once again this superfood does wonders for gut and liver health and was one of the key foods I used in restoring my hormones back into balance.
This is a natural plant phytoestrogen, which can bind to the estrogen receptor and balance out excess bad estrogens from wreaking havoc on the body. Using plant phytoestrogens strategically and in small amounts can be a good way to assist your body in estrogen regulation.
These complete protein seeds are high in a fat called GLA, gamma linoliec acid, which is highly anti-inflammatory and stimulates prostaglandin E1, decreasing breast pain and tenderness, depression, irritability and fluid retention associated with PMS. Several studies have indicated that they may help reduce symptoms of menopause, too. The exact process is unknown, but the GLA in hemp seeds may regulate the hormone imbalances and inflammation associated with menopause.
This sea vegetable has essential iodine which as women our thyroid, breasts and ovaries need to to stay healthy and cyst free. I find it very interesting that in asian countries like japan where this is a staple in their diet the rate of breast cancer is extremely low. In the U.S breast cancer is one of the to killers of women. Seaweed also contains trace amounts of tyrosine, an amino acid that supports the thyroid hormone T3 conversion contributing to a higher metabolism
1 cup red and green cabbage, shredded
3 brussel sprouts, thinly sliced
4 pieces kale, de-stemmed then all parts chopped
½ cup broccoli sprouts, chopped
⅓ cup cilantro, chopped
½ cup daikon radish, thinly sliced then cut into half moons
½ cup smoked tofu or tempeh (or other protein of choice)
1 tbsp hemp seeds
2 tbsp reduced fat Veganaise
½ tsp ginger paste
2 brazil nuts, crushed
Layer all the first 6 ingredients in a big bowl then top with the tofu or protein of choice. In a separate dish mix the hemp seeds, veganaise and ginger together with a bit of water to thin it out, drizzle over the salad. Top with the hot sauce as desired (I like it hot myself ;), sprinkle seaweed flakes and garnish with the brazil nuts. Enjoy!
I have been eating this every day, it is so satisfying with the guilt free volume and the crunch! If you are struggling with hormone related weight gain in your belly, hips, thighs and know that shifting your hormones, supporting your thyroid, and reducing stress would be beneficial for you then give this recipe a go!
And if you want to get additional help with me personally then my “Back to School 50% Off” sale is a great place to start! All the details can be found by clicking here. This promotion will run to the end of September and has limited spots, so if you think you could benefit then click here to learn more 🙂