Is Doing Too Much To Heal Your Hormones Working Against You?

This is something I’ve been pondering a lot lately. I often hear from clients and women that reach out to me online that they are doing everything they can think of to balance their hormones, but somehow they are still feeling awful for at least half the month and have unpleasant periods.

So what gives? Why is it that even though it appears you are doing it all nothing is working? This answer will be different for each woman, but I want to dig into some of the most common reasons doing it all often doesn’t work when it comes to achieving hormone balance.

Not every piece of information out there on hormone health applies to you.

There is a ton of information out there about hormone health and how to balance your hormones. Not only does it not all apply to you, but it’s not all great either. Just because someone is talking about something that worked for them, doesn’t mean it’s right for you. While I think experimentation helps hormone health and nutrition, committing yourself to a protocol or plan is also essential since it typically takes a minimum of 3 cycles to see improvements in hormone health.

An example of this is focusing so much on lowering estrogen and not thinking enough about improving progesterone. I see this mistake all the time. Everyone is talking about estrogen dominance, but no one is talking about why you might not have adequate progesterone to balance out that estrogen in the first place. This can lead you down the path of taking supplements like DIM to forcibly lower estrogen instead of understanding why estrogen levels are higher than we’d like them (if that’s even the case for you). So you take DIM, you might also try flaxseeds, and you’re still dealing with painful, heavy periods, and acne.

A different approach to this would be to focus on progesterone production. Is your body in a stressed state? If so, you will likely have less progesterone and more estrogen. Are you deficient in specific nutrients? Deficiencies such as magnesium and B vitamins can lead to lower progesterone, but they can also lead to poor detoxification of estrogen. Or maybe your thyroid function is coming into play? We need adequate thyroid hormone for healthy progesterone.

As you can start to see, suddenly focusing on an area that you thought would balance your hormones could be holding you back from the real root of your issues. The next time you hear someone talking about how they took a supplement or started a diet that significantly improved their hormone health, remember that your root issue may not be the same as theirs. ​​

You can do it all, but not all at once. -Oprah

You can do it all, but not all at once. Wise words that can also be applied to our overall and hormone health. When we start doing too much, it often leads to more stress on the body and overwhelms us. This does exactly the opposite of what we want to do when it comes to improving hormone health.

Trying to do everything you’ve ever seen recommended for hormone health will likely make you more stressed than anything. If you don’t have the basics of feeding yourself balanced meals regularly throughout the day in place, it’s pretty pointless to also worry about meditating, journaling, doing breathing techniques, using red light therapy, taking supplements, etc. You are piling on all of these bonuses when you aren’t even meeting your body’s most basic needs.

I remember when I was first trying to rebalance my hormones after years of competitive Crossfit and obsessing over food. I was trying to do all the things and always felt like I was failing. I was doing way too much, but somehow still felt like I wasn’t doing enough. What helped me was focusing on food first. Making sure I was eating enough, and keeping my body nourished throughout the day helped improve my sleep and energy. This naturally led to me feeling like I could slowly take on other things like getting outside and going for walks, looking into breathing techniques to reset my nervous system, and regularly taking supplements.

Hormone healing isn’t a race. It’s a journey and is best when done at your own pace. ​​

In Summary:

At the end of the day, hormone imbalances occur because the body is adapting to stress. Our bodies are trying to maintain homeostasis or balance within the body despite outside stressors. They are trying to keep us alive, which involves cortisol (our stress hormone) and often leads to lower levels of progesterone and can even stop our periods all together. Focusing first on progesterone production, regular ovulation, and what impacts this is what I find as the most effective approach when it comes to achieving hrmone balance.

I talk more about why it’s important to focus on progesterone and naturally supporting healthy levels in this video and this post, if you want to shift your focus a bit after reading this.

Here are two podcasts that would be helpful if you feel like you have been doing everything to heal your hormones, How to Boost Progesterone Levels Naturally and Estrogen Waves & The Ups and Downs of Healing.

reminder: i’m currently taking on 1:1 clients. if you’d like to explore what it would be like to work together and if we are a good fit, fill out this form to get more details!​

Amanda Montalvo

Amanda Montalvo is a women's health dietitian who helps women find the root cause of hormone imbalances and regain healthy menstrual cycles.

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