Preliminary Actions to Take

If you have been diagnosed with Hormone Imbalance or suspect it here are some tips:

-GET A HOLISTIC DOCTOR IF POSSIBLE! They seem to be the only ones that can get you on track since they approach it a whole different way than conventional doctors. I'm sure there are a few good conventional doctors, but seem few and far between.

-Try to get some hormones, etc. tested to set a baseline. Many doctors will balk since some hormones can vary quite a bit in short periods of time and timing certain tests can be tricky. However, for you to figure out where to start it is helpful to know what the levels are in general. Ones of importance are:

-Vitamin D

-Cortisol

-DHEA-S

These need to be tested at specific stages of your cycle for most accurate results-very tricky when you have irregular cycles, but still can provide a clue:

-Estrogen

-Progesterone

-Testosterone

-One of the first/best things to do is lose weight if necessary even if you are borderline normal-overweight. Try to get to the middle part of normal to start getting on the right track. Your GP can tell you what the healthy range is for your height. Make sure you get your height measured beforehand since you most likely will have lost height based on the hormone imbalance depending on how long you've had it. Also, take into consideration your body frame since there will be weight variations based on that. Your GP can also help with that or you can do it yourself here: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/imagepages/
17182.htm


In my case, losing the extra weight helped improved the irregular bleeding I had as soon as I dropped 5 pounds below the high end of normal for my weight. Once I approached my weight of 116 lbs where I am now, the irregular bleeding ceased completely and my cycles straightened out for the most part.

Initially, I tried to get my weight on the low end of normal, so that I could build muscle from scratch so to speak. However, I found that if my weight got on the low end of normal I had more problems/symptoms, but as soon as I got to my middle normal weight something clicked and I started feeling better and noticed a big improvement in body composition. It's a lot like Goldilocks-too little is not good and too much is not good, but hit/maintain the middle yields big improvement. :-)

In order to lose weight you have to diet AND exercise to some degree. One or the other by itself is most likely not going to work. Figuring out which diet to pursue is challenging, but look into what hormone is imbalanced as a clue as well as your symptoms and other conditions you have, (IBS for example), which can really help determine which diet is best for you. In my case, I had low progesterone and high cortisol, so paleo was best due to the foods allowed by paleo allowed for increasing progesterone and lowering cortisol.

Do NOT deprive yourself of food during this time on any diet you choose! Allow for one cheat day a week to keep your morale and your diet in check. Your body is very smart and will "retaliate" if you try depriving foods!

In the beginning I actually avoided all the foods I used to eat resulting in a really drastic diet of nothing but healthy foods/small portions with very little sugar/salt, and no cereal or pop whatsoever. I also only had fast food 1-2 times a month for about 2 years. That helped me lose about 25 pounds total. Now that I'm at my ideal weight, I've relaxed my diet a bit and have been eating more fast food, limited pop and have some sweets with little effect. It seems that as long as I watch what I eat for the rest of the day, the fast food is not as damaging as when I was eating all the wrong foods on top of fast food.

A tactic that seems to help is to not eat anything after 7:00PM. I mostly eat between 5-7 PM and found that it seems to help since your body is not digesting as much overnight and can complete the task so to speak. If you snack after 7:00PM, your body can't complete the job due to "excess" food and it gets converted to fat/weight.

Another tactic is before you eat something with a lot of calories to take a brisk 1/2 hr-45 min walk to get the metabolism-or as I like to say furnace- going. Then eating the high calorie foods will not have as much of an impact since your body is in "high burning mode".

Take some time to study the ingredients of the foods you have eaten in the past as well as now and notice how many ingredients are in the foods these days. Once you familiarize yourself with the "bad" ingredients you will start seeing how foods have an impact on your body's well-being. After a while, you will find many foods unappetizing at a glance and will be able to stick with your diet a lot easier. Over time, when you do eat something that has been off limits for some time, your body will consider it a treat which is ideal!

Some bad ingredients to stay away from:
-HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup)
-All sodas/pops. That includes the diet varieties as well!
-All cereals. Most are packed with sugar or too much carbs-even the healthy ones! I eat granola or oatmeal instead. I have started Cheerios since Granola was starting to "backfire" on me with much better success.
-All white bread and cold cuts. Wheat bread and mutigrain breads can be an issue for some, so if you can avoid all breads you'll have less bloat, weight gain and excess calories to deal with.
-Too much salt or sugar. A tactic I use is that if I eat something salty/sugary, I avoid anything else that has sugar/salt for the rest of the day. Staying away most of the time from fast foods/processed foods will resolve most of the salt/sugar problems. But still indulge once a week if necessary to keep diet in check!

-Depending on your weight, walk every day if possible. It helped me lose weight over time. A one-45 minute walk is fine, but if you can do it twice a day, (morning and evening), that would be even better. Try to combine with weight training if possible for optimal effect. Max of 1.5-2 hrs a day of exercise is more than enough. Once you've gotten to your ideal weight put some sporatic light jogging in there, if you can, to really fine-tune things and tone up and cut down on the walking to 1-2 times a week since too much exercise can backfire. Putting more time in weight training also helps.

-Reduce stress. Note that there are many forms of stress! Make sure you drink enough water a day since that actually is a big stressor on the body when you don't. Also, don't overexercise and keep exercise sessions under 45 minutes. Do more fun things for yourself and try to get to 50% time for yourself and 50% time for time with everyone/everything else.

-Depending on your age, you might undergo many symptom changes as well as their intensities as time goes by. Use them as clues on changing things whether it's exercise or diet.

-Make sure to keep an eye on blood pressure, cholesterol, heart, thyroid and liver.

Note that it takes time to balance/notice improvements depending on how long you've had the imbalance in the first place, so patience and discipline is crucial! Diet AND exercise is required. Doing one or the other is probably not going to work-at least it didn't for me.