Nourishing Series Part 1: It’s Normal To Nourish Your Body

A common theme that comes up in my work with clients and the women in this community is being worried about eating too often, too much, or not at the right time. It’s almost like an abundance of food is bad, which I do understand. We live in a society that is obsessed with extremes and achieving things quickly. When you have a huge part of the internet and media telling you to fast, get rid of carbs, and eat plant-based, it can be confusing when someone like me comes in and pretty much says the opposite.

This is why it’s so important to remember what your main concerns are. The majority of the women in this community have concerns around hormone imbalances or want to prevent them in the future. This helps us put a female-focused lens on when reviewing nutrition recommendations and considering what is best for our bodies.

When we want to improve hormone health and restore our metabolism, the goal is to replenish vitamins and minerals, balance our blood sugar, and reduce stress hormones like cortisol in the body. This is why we have to normalize eating enough food and eating regularly.

What If I Don’t Have An Appetite?

Never hungry? This is not a good thing. We want to have a good appetite and feel hungry throughout the day, especially in the morning. These are all signs that your metabolism is functioning, your hunger hormones are balanced, and your body isn’t in a chronically stressed state. When we wake up and are not hungry, our bodies are using an alternative fuel source during the night. We should be using the glucose stored in our liver to keep our blood sugar stable all night. When we run out of this glucose, we make stress hormones in order to get glucose from other areas of the body. The release of these stress hormones often causes us to wake up at night.

Eating enough food during the day and eating every few hours helps replenish this liver glucose and improve the quality of your sleep. Getting enough sleep and restful sleep is essential for allowing you to feel your best and supports a balance between estrogen and progesterone. It also helps with insulin signaling to enable you to tolerate carbohydrates better and keep your blood sugar balanced throughout the day.

I often talk to women that are worried that they are hungry. While we want to be able to feel satisfied after a meal, it’s normal to feel hungry in the morning and throughout the day. If you’re starving, then you want to make sure you’re eating enough. We talk more about how to determine that in this podcast episode.

Nourishing Your Body When You Feel You Have Weight To Lose

The other common objection I get when nourishing our bodies and normalizing eating regularly is from those who feel they need to lose weight. This concern is 100% valid. The majority of my clients are told that they just need to lose weight to fix their hormone problems, which, quite frankly, drives me crazy. You may feel you have weight to lose and, therefore, don’t want to eat more food or feel weird having a snack when no one else around you is. I think this is a normal reaction based on many of my clients’ lived experiences of being shamed for their bodies and assumed eating habits.

But at the end of the day, we ALL need fuel for our bodies. It doesn’t matter if you feel like you have weight to lose. All bodies require and deserve nourishment.

I will say that one more time so that it sinks in–all bodies require nourishment. So often, we are looking at weight loss as the way to achieve health goals when in reality, it’s getting healthy in the first place and supporting our metabolism that can lead to sustainable and healthy weight loss (if needed). Never feel guilty for giving your body the fuel it needs. This is called taking care of yourself.

Nourishing Ourselves Is Taking Care Of Ourselves

The self-care industry is booming, which I think is so great, especially for women. We tend to take on a lot and are great at taking care of others, but meeting our own needs can be challenging. With all the talk around self-care, I don’t see a lot honing in on what I think is the most important form–nourishing yourself.

When I say nourishing yourself, I mean eating enough food and making time to enjoy that food as much as you can, and not restricting foods you love. This food helps to fuel your body’s primary functions, but also your brain. It gives you the energy you need to live a life you love, and to me, there’s nothing more important than that.

If you struggle with the idea of prioritizing nourishing your body for any reason, try to shift your mindset toward nourishing yourself as a way to truly take care of you. To achieve healthy hormones, we have to take care of ourselves. I hope this helps those that are struggling with nourishing their bodies on their healing journey.

Continue learning about how to eat to support your hormones by listening to my podcast episode on this topic.

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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