Updated: 3 days ago
With so much information readily available to you about nutrition, weight loss, and hormone health it can sometimes feel overwhelming to sort through it all and figure out what to apply in your own life.
So today I'm taking a look at 3 nutrition myths and breaking down how they really impact your hormones and your ability to lose and maintain weight.
1. Low Carb Diets & Intermittent Fasting
Over the years, low carb diets and intermittent fasting have gained popularity and been promoted as a way to increase energy, lose weight and reduce brain fog, Truthfully they are not beneficial, especially when you're dealing with hormonal imbalances.
Let's start with carbs - you don't need to cut carbs to lose weight. In fact, carbs are your body's number 1 source of energy and are an essential macronutrient.
You should focus on choosing the right carbs. Skip the highly processed and refined carbs that will cause wild fluctuations in your blood sugar and lead to increased cravings, increased hunger, and hormonal chaos. Instead opt for whole food carbs like veggies, fruits, and whole grains.
Keep in mind that you don't need to replace every single carb with veggies - just find the right balance that works for you. If you aren't sure where to start and need a plan to help you ditch the cravings and include carbs in a balanced way check out the 10 Day Sugar Detox Program.
On to intermittent fasting, if you are dealing with hormone imbalances, thyroid issues, or lots of stress, fasting isn’t the best solution. Here are a few reasons why:
1. Cortisol production can greatly increase during a fasting period. When we are stressed (whether from work, family or our body is trying to adapt to the stress placed on it from things like intermittent fasting) our adrenal glands will produce the hormone cortisol. And if you’re under chronic stress your adrenals will shift their focus toward producing more cortisol to deal with this stress. This eventually has a ripple effect and can cause other hormones to become imbalanced.
2. Prolonged fasting can lead to blood sugar instability throughout the day which will lead to increased cravings and difficulty sustaining energy levels. We naturally fast overnight which allows our body plenty of time to rest and digest. Creating long hours of fasting windows isn't necessary or beneficial especially if you are already dealing with blood sugar issues, cravings, and low energy. If you are someone who is fasting and starting your day with a cup of black coffee so that you don't break the fast click here to read more about how that impacts your hormones.
3. Intermittent fasting is focused on when you eat, with little to no education on what types of foods should be consumed or how much, often causing underconsumption of nutrients required to sustain an extended fast. Without proper nutrition, fasting can put the body into starvation mode and cause it to hold onto weight in the long run. The exact opposite of what you are aiming for if you are using it as a strategy for weight loss!
2. Eating High-Fat Foods Will Lead To Weight Gain
Healthy fats are needed for optimal and balanced hormone production.
It is essential for nutrient absorption and can absolutely be part of a healthy diet. In fact consuming healthy fats like avocado, seeds, and EVOO can help keep you feeling satiated, and support stable blood sugar and energy levels. So skip the fat-free foods - your hormones will thank you for it!
How do you know how many healthy fats you need in a day? Well, truthfully it depends. Everyone has different needs. To know if you are consuming the right amount pay attention to how long you are able to go in between meals without feeling hungry. If you can easily go 3-4 hours between meals then you are likely consuming the right amount of healthy fats. Conversely, if you find you are hungry again within an hour or so after eating you may want to try adding in a little more healthy fats.
3. Diet Trends Like No Eating Past 7 PM & Creating A Big Calorie Deficit To Lose Weight
Most diet trends focus on creating a big calorie deficit. The average woman's body needs a minimum of 1600-1800 calories every day. If you're eating a very low-calorie diet, you're likely lacking in key nutrients and not bringing in enough food to support your body’s needs. This will cause your body to go into an energy-conserving mode (this is also the mode that your body stores fat in). Not to mention a big calorie deficit will lead to high-stress hormones which can put stress on your thyroid and ultimately lead to a slower metabolism. See how it's all connected.
Skip worrying about when to eat and how many calories to consume and focus on ensuring you are having well-balanced meals throughout the day that help you feel full, reduce cravings, and that you enjoy. If you are hungry at 7 PM, eat!!. What matters more is the overall balance of your macro-nutrients throughout the course of the day.
If you have been struggling to lose weight, feel like you are forever caught in the cycle of losing and gaining the same weight or have tried all the latest trends and recommendations available, and are still not seeing the results you want - then it’s time for a new approach.
The best way to hit your happy weight, stop feeling fatigued and increase your metabolism is by treating the root cause of what's contributing to your stubborn weight, cravings, and fatigue in the first place. The key to a healthy metabolism, easy-peasy weight loss, and stable energy levels are healthy hormones. This is exactly what we focus on in The Nourish To Thrive Program
It's easy to get caught up in the latest trends and nutrition 'rules' but keep in mind that what works for me might not be best suited for you and health advice that ignores your hormone health is not health advice- and you don’t have to settle for solutions that weren’t made for you.
If you have another common piece of nutrition advice you would like me to cover let me know in the comments below.