So there I was: 20 lbs. heavier on my slight 5’3” body in just 2 months (and still steadily gaining!). Obviously “bio-identical” hormones was not the answer for me. “Now What?” I asked myself.
It had been a solution that seemed easy; I was having physical symptoms of menopause (hot flashes, night sweats, etc.); mental-emotional symptoms too (feeling stressed, flying ‘off the handle’ at insignificant things, etc.). Bio-identicals, I reasoned, should be less dangerous than commercial preparations, should have less side-effects, should keep me more even-keeled and handle the physical symptoms as well. A local M.D. who is into “Anti-Aging Medicine” concurred that this was a good choice.
But truth be told, I hadn’t done the research I now recommend my clients routinely do (or hire me to do) to get all the facts on the table before making a decision about medications or procedures. When I later DID the research I found that (1) There is some limited information that suggests bio-identical hormone creams MAY be less hazardous but there are no large research studies proving it is so. (2) There is little or no science to support what is considered to be a ‘therapeutic level.’ (The levels are really only a guess, based on blood tests. However, there is NO level that could be considered correct since peri-menopausal and menopausal women have naturally occurring hormone levels that are far lower than what doctors are trying to achieve to control symptoms.). Thus the amount I was getting MAY have been too high but there was no way to know if lowering it would make a difference or if I’d maybe even continue to gain weight and have the symptoms return too! (3) Research indicates that many of the “minor side effects,” such as the 20 lb. weight gain I experienced, also happen with bio-identical hormone creams.
Long story short, I stopped the therapy. It was also during this time that I made the decision to stop eating poultry and dairy and convert to the whole-food plant-based eating I now recommend to others. Over the next several weeks, my symptoms initially returned when I went off the hormones but then abated, for the most part and I began losing the weight I had gained and my hormone balance began to return.
I also had more “side-effects” of my new diet: (1) My cholesterol level decreased from 205 to 137 in just about 6 weeks. (2) Chronic congestion & post-nasal drip was eliminated when I went off of dairy. (3) The natural hormone balancing effects of being off of dairy and almost all animal feeds (all of which have naturally occurring estrogens) also helped relieve some of the mental-emotional symptoms I was having. (A large portion of this was also related to family & business stressors. This needed to be, and was addressed in other ways.)
I can’t say that losing the weight was easy but I can say it worked. Here are the bullet points of what got me through and what I now recommend and coach others in:
- Whole food plant-based eating with emphasis of minimal fats.
- Increasing exercise.
- Working to restore gut microbiome (thus the hormone balance it brings).
- Working on the causes of mental-emotional stress along with the use of meditation or mindfulness strategies.
- Eating some specific foods to naturally balance hormones.
- Specific tweaks to the diet to keep it low calorie, high energy.
The great thing about all this is that this way of eating is far easier to maintain than a diet like Keto or ultra-low calorie where you’re either starving yourself or changing your diet so much that you can never maintain it. People typically can only sustain keto or other diets over a finite period and often regain the weight afterward. In contrast, this way of eating can become a way of life that is far easier to maintain. At this point, I’ve been eating this way for more than 8 years and have not regained significant weight.
Intrigued about all this? Would you jump in & try it for just 5 DAYS?? NOW; before the holidays & get yourself set up to look FABULOUS this holiday season?! Join my FREE “Jumpstart Your Weight Loss & Hormone Balance” 5 day program October 7-11! You can do ANYTHING for 5 days. Give it a try. Watch for more upcoming info here on my blog and on social media SOON!