The balancing act of Oestrogen and Progesterone

Ah, the very thing that make us women unique could be the thing that is also making us fat. Oestrogen gives us breasts, hips and curves, but can wreak havoc with our body and interfere with other hormones when we have too much.

Oestrogen and progesterone help to counteract each other, but more and more women are becoming oestrogen dominant. This can cause inflammation in the body and lead to fat loss resistance, mood swings and gut issues.

What cause oestrogen dominance?

Unable to lose weight? You could have modern agriculture to blame! If you eat grain fed meat do you notice bloating and constipation? Due to the rapid changes in industrial agriculture, you can’t always be sure of exactly what’s in your meat. Grain fed animals are potentially eating genetically modified corn, being treated with multiple antibiotics and pumped full of steroids. And yep, that’s what you’re eating! These toxins enter your gut and then go straight to your liver. Your liver doesn’t know what to do, so they’re sent to your fat stores. Your fat cells release toxins back into the body, as well as producing oestrogen. This causes women to store more fat, and energy is pulled out of food not for fuel, but for storage.

Not only this, but often we are not getting enough fibre, which is exactly what we need to help flush all the toxins out of our body! And (don’t hate me) alcohol is another big raiser of oestrogen – sorry all you veggies who thought you had one up on us meat eaters… if you’re still having those glasses of wine, you may still have an oestrogen imbalance.

What can I do about it?

Try an oestrogen reset (check out Dr Sara Gottfried for some great tips!). Cut out meat and alcohol for 3 days, and closely monitor your weight loss. If the pounds drop off (3-5lbs in 3 days!), then you may be on to something here! Be sure to up your vegetable, fibre and protein intake during the 3 day reset.

And what about oestrogen’s partner in crime, progesterone?

In addition to balancing oestrogen, progesterone is important in it’s own right. It raises body temperature, increasing metabolism, and helps your thyroid perform at its best. Progesterone is a soothing hormone, aiding sleep and making you more level headed and relaxed. When your progesterone is imbalance, you can say hello to PMS! Endometriosis is linked to low progesterone, and this can cause excruciating pelvic pain. If you suffer from this, get your hormone levels checked!

What causes low progesterone?

As we age our production of progesterone naturally decreases. But there are some other influencers. Hello again naughty hormones – cortisol and low thyroid hormone both disrupt progesterone production. So stop stressing, up your Vitamin C intake, and cut back on your caffeine intake.

What it feels like to be in balance:

  • Regular, almost pain free periods at least every 25 days
  • Stable weight
  • Regular, uninterrupted sleep

Key Take Aways:

  • If your holding on to stubborn excess fat, and eat a lot of grain fed red meat and drink alcohol regularly, maybe you are oestrogen dominant.
  • Try a 3 day reset, abstaining from red meat, alcohol and ideally coffee, and up your intake of fibre, vegetables and non-animal protein sources.
  • When your hormones are in balance you sleep well, don’t get PMS, and stay regular!

Intrigued by the role of hormones in your body? Check out the rest of The Hormone Series to see why else you might be struggling to lose weight.

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