Hormones and Diet

Let’s talk diet.

When I say ‘diet’ I’m not talking about starving yourself which is the first thought that comes to mind when people hear that word. I’m referring to the correct definition of the word diet; which in nutrition refers to the sum of food consumed by a person.

Growing up tomboy means I’ve always been a bit of a fitness fanatic so I never really paid too much attention to what I consumed daily because whatever junk I ate I burned it off with exercise. That all changed of course when I hit my twenties. Working full time, not exercising as much and now hit with a slower metabolism meant that I put on about 10lbs in no time. When I got fed up of all my clothes fitting too snug, I started back exercising and I lost that weight in a few months. I never starved myself and even then I didn’t really pay too much attention to my diet; all I did was exercise.

Fast forward to full blown hormonal imbalance a few years later and while exercise helped a lot, it still wasn’t enough to get my hormones back on track as I found I was still breaking out more than I thought I should.  This is when I started to pay attention to my diet.

The first thing I did was write down all I ate during the course of the day and then how I felt at the end of the day. What I found was that I was consuming too much dairy, salt, bad carbs and greasy foods. Every time I would eat any of these I would feel lethargic and bloated. Instead of giving these up completely, I decided to switch it up. I gave up full cream milk and started drinking almond milk; I cut back on the salt greatly and replaced white rice and white bread with whole grain and wheat, I started eating more fruits and vegetables and I began cooking with coconut oil only. If you thought that sticking with an exercise routine was hard, I can assure you that changing your diet will be the hardest commitment in your hormonal imbalance/acne journey. I can assure you though that it will be the most rewarding.

The thing that struck me the most is that while my skin cleared up more (but slowly), the effects of changing my diet was immediate. Before on my ‘bad diet’, I would feel sleepy right after lunchtime and I would feel mentally foggy making the day harder to get through and making it even more hard for me to stay focused on my evening workouts. When I changed my diet however, gone was the afternoon ‘itis’ that struck me so harshly and I remained alert as I was at the start of my day.

I’ve been eating healthier now for over a year and it has been the best thing I have ever done, not only for my hormone imbalance/acne but for myself. As per my previous blog on taking control of my depression and anxiety, my diet changes has made the most positive transformation on my mental health journey. While exercise pumps the ‘happy endorphins’ into my brain, eating better helps to keep me focused and get more done during the day.

In my next blog I’ll go into more details on ‘good food’ and ‘bad food’ but in the meantime, here are some tips on how you can start making some changes on your diet:

  • Start tracking your daily food consumption – From breakfast, lunch, to snacks and dinner; write everything down and how you feel at the end of the day.
  • Evaluation – After a week of doing the above start cutting out the ‘unnecessary’. Did you really need that pack of chips, full of sodium and empty calories?
  • Plan ahead – Remember that you have control of what you put into your body. If you don’t have time to cook then make a list of the places that sell healthier meals close to where you live or work or buy healthier food options when eating out. If you do cook often, then make a list of healthy foods etc and buy only these when you grocery shop.
  • Drink more water; especially a half an hour before a meal. It helps you from overeating and will aid overall in digestion.
  • Snack healthier – Feeling for a sweet snack after lunch? Have an apple or banana to keep that sweet tooth happy.
  • Cut out the late night eating; or at least do not go to bed at least an hour or more after you’ve had dinner. Eating late and sleeping right after causes your heart to work harder while you’re asleep. Be good to your heart.
  • Did I say drink more water? – Ease up on the sodas and sugary drinks that do nothing but add calories to your diet and spike your glucose levels

Something else to keep in mind – Science states that it take about three weeks for you to form a habit. Keep this up for a month and you will see how second nature eating healthier becomes.

 

“Decide. Commit. Succeed.” – Unknown

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