A Guide to Balancing Hormones

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Balancing hormones is a difficult task, many of us suffer with symptoms like PMS, acne, painful breasts and fatigue at different times in our lives. If you are like me, you know when your hormones are out of “whack,” but you have no idea how to get them back in sync. Many of us go through our lives suffering different symptoms, simply because we don’t know what to do about them. As you all know, I run a small hair salon and hormones seem to come up a lot in conversation, so I gathered together some questions from my clients and enlisted the help of dietician and hormone expert Amanda Montalvo to get to the bottom of all of this!

Amanda, can you tell us a bit more about yourself?

I am an integrative dietitian and functional diagnostic nutrition practitioner, which means I’m trained in how to utilize and assess functional lab work. I’ve struggled a lot throughout my life with insecurities with my body, disordered eating patterns, acne, birth control & hormone imbalances, and a super toxic body. Through a lot of experimentation and self compassion I’ve been able to uncover my best self and could not be happier. I love to continue to learn and grow and help others do the same. Outside of my passion for helping women, I’ve been doing Crossfit for 9 years and love nothing more than to be upside down. If I’m not working on a new project then you’ll either find me in a handstand, cooking, sun bathing, or cuddling my two fluffy dogs.

Amanda Montalvo

Below are the questions my clients and I had for Amanda, so I hope they help anyone reading this!

I’ve recently had a baby and find myself in tears most days over silly things, I’m obviously more tired than normal, and have been craving sugar, coffee and carbs, is this hormone imbalance?

This is a common response. I’m guessing you’re sleeping a lot less, which has a huge impact on your hormones, and not just female sex hormones but also blood sugar hormones and stress hormones. So what you’re experiencing is the not so fun repercussions of this. Our hormones rebuild when we sleep, we also do the most detoxification while we are asleep. The best thing you can do is get as much sleep as you can, even if it’s a nap, and reduce your outside stressors as much as possible. Make sure you are eating balanced meals with high quality proteins, healthy fats (especially omega-3s) and starchy carbs from veggies like potatoes, winter squash, sweet potatoes, etc. Since you’re craving sugar, adding starchy carbs to balanced meals can help with this. It will also support your blood sugar levels throughout the day. Try to reach for healthier sweets when having strong cravings. A pitted date with some almond or cashew butter tastes amazing and is really fast and convenient. Aim for whole foods as often as possible to help reduce stress and inflammation within the body.

Body in balance programme

I’m in my mid forties and feel angry all the time, my husband has noticed but I can’t seem to help it, I think it must be hormonal as it’s very unlike me?

My first thought is how much stress are you under and have you gone through menopause? Another thought would be estrogen dominance. When we experience hormonal imbalances getting angry often or experiencing quick onsets of depression are common, especially with estrogen dominance. Here is a Youtube video I have on estrogen dominance..

What causes this? Many things! Certain toxins increase estrogen levels in the body, fat cells excrete estrogen, if our guts and liver aren’t functioning properly, then estrogen can get recycled into the body and levels increase.

Body in Balance programme

I get so tired a few days before my period, is this normal?

Because hormones are reaching their peak before we get our periods, this is very common. Increasing your intake of cruciferous vegetables and ensuring that you get adequate sleep can be very helpful.

I’m in my late 40s and have completely lost my sex drive, is there anything I can take to help this, and does your sex drive come back after the menopause finishes?

Female sex hormones are primarily made in the ovaries, but we do make small amounts in our adrenal glands. Working to reduce stressors (life, work, perceived, diet, hidden) will help regulate cortisol levels and boost hormone levels. Maca is a great herb to support energy and sex drive. It’s safe to take on a regular basis as well.

 I have a lot of bloating and weight gain around my period, is this due to diet and how can I stop this?

Excessive bloating and weight gain around your period are typically linked to oestrogen dominance. When estrogen increases so does water retention, which is what causes the bloating. Increase your intake of cruciferous vegetables and make sure you are having at least one bowel movement per day.

Body in balance programme

I am in my late 40s and have started suffering with crippling anxiety, some days I can’t leave the house, I have never had this before and am pretty confident it’s a hormonal issue, what can I do about this?

I highly recommend getting your hormones tested. It is likely a combination of things; stress, blood sugar imbalances, and nutrient deficiencies. For something this severe, I would consider joining our Body in Balance programme. Our VIP levels offers hormone testing and 1:1 work.

I am having terrible hot flushes all the time, is there anything I can do to alleviate them?

Hot flashes are also often a sign of estrogen dominance. I always recommend adding in cruciferous vegetables  since they contain a compound called DIM that helps our bodies metabolize excess estrogen. Vitanica makes a great supplement called red clover that is great for hot flashes.

I’m in my 50s and gone through the menopause but I have noticed I have lost a lot of elasticity in my skin, and it’s beginning to sag in places, is there anything I can do about this?

Collagen hydrolysate Great Lakes makes a great grass-fed brand, it’s is an easy powder to mix into smoothies, coffee, tea, etc. You can take this daily and not only is it great for hair, skin, and nails, but it’s also great for gut health. I would also look at how much fat you are eating in your diet. Adding in healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocados, and wild caught seafood is helpful as well.

After having my daughter, my breasts are so tender around my period, I can’t even touch them, can I do anything to help this?

This is also a very common sign of estrogen dominance, you can learn more about this here.. Imbalances in estrogen and progesterone can cause fluid to increase and swelling in your breasts. Hormones tend to fluctuate more during and post pregnancy. I recommend getting your hormones tested so you can identify and address any imbalances.

I’m in my late 40s and always been a great sleeper and in the last year, I have hardly slept, I’m up and down all night and so tired in the daytime then in the night I’m awake again, it’s a cycle I can’t seem to get out of and I’m exhausted, is there anything I can do?

Have you had any major stressors occur in the last year? It sounds like your cortisol levels are flip flopped and are higher at night. I definitely recommend getting cortisol and sex hormones tested. Definitely work on sleep hygiene at night time and creating a routine at night. This means shutting off screens, getting black out shades to reduce lighting, using apps to change the light on your phone/computer. Add a small serving of starchy carbs to dinner to reduce cortisol levels. Magnesium Spray can also help. More targeted supplements can be recommended once hormones are tested.

Hormone Webinar Replay: Are hormones keeping you from feeling your best?

Body in Balance programme

Amanda has a group programme starting on April 16th with Kim Jordan . It is based on creating a body in balance and balancing hormones. Here is the link.

The course has 2 levels:

Level option 1 is the foundational level that includes the 8 weeks of the course, all online content, the private fb group, weekly check ins.

Level option 2 is the VIP level. This includes everything above, but Amanda and Kim also do functional lab testing and 1:1 work. They send out a DUTCH urine tart that will measure cortisol, sex hormones, melatonin, neurotransmitter, and organic acids. They also have them complete an online functional nutrition analysis to see where deficiencies and imbalances are. They then create a personalized healing protocol for those in this level. You will get a total of 5 1:1 calls with Amanda or Kim to get set up and follow up throughout the program. They also extend this and add 4 weeks of extra support after the course content is done to ensure that you complete your healing protocol successfully and they can make any adjustments needed.

Here are the program lessons to give you an idea of the topics that are discussed:
Lesson 1: Nurturing Your Body
Lesson 2: Connecting To Your Intuition
Lesson 3: Identifying & Reducing Your Stressors
Lesson 4: Dialing In Your Energy
Lesson 5: Toxins & Your Hormones
Lesson 6: Supporting Gut Health & Detoxification
Lesson 7: Incorporating Nourishing Movement
Lesson 8: Tying It All Together For a Sustainable Lifestyle

Amanda has very kindly offered a discount for any of my readers that are interested in the courses. If you log into the website here, and quote the code; SHIRLAW you will receive a 15% discount from either course.

Or you can ask Amanda to join her Facebook group here, or you can follow her on InstagramYouTube and Facebook.

I am doing a Facebook live with Amanda in my Facebook Women’s Health and Wellbeing Group very soon, so keep a look out for this on my social media. Please come and join us if you want to hear more or ask any further questions!

If you would like to ask Amanda any questions about her course or to get more information you can email her here.

Let’s get balanced!

Natalie x

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