Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers. They travel through your bloodstream telling tissues and organs what to do. Not only that, but they help control a lot of really important processes—like metabolism and reproduction.
They’re a big deal, and if yours are imbalanced, your body isn’t going to like it. The good news is, most hormone imbalances can be treated depending on their cause and severity. Pay attention to your body, and if you notice things are a bit off, talk to your doctor ASAP.
Here are 4 signs your hormones are out of whack and need help. PS: I’m not a doctor (obviously), so do yourself a favor and go see yours if these resonate with you.
1. Unexplained Weight Gain or Loss
If you’re sleeping well, working hard, and eating right, your body composition and weight should show it. But if your hormones are all crazy, you might gain or lose weight when it doesn’t make sense.
A lot of hormones impact your weight: cortisol, progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, and thyroid hormone are just a few. Your doctor can run a few tests and check these levels, letting you know if your hormones are to blame or if you really need to stop skipping the gym for Taco Tuesday…every day.
2. Decreased Sex Drive
Let’s be real, sex is great. What’s not great is when you can’t figure out why you don’t want to have it anymore and your partner is tired of hearing, “I’m too tired,” every single night. Sound like you?
You’re not crazy and you’re not alone. The culprit might be low levels of testosterone. “Test” is present in both men and women and is the main hormone driving sexual desire. So if yours is low, the last thing on your mind is getting busy. Once it’s back to normal levels it’s game over.
3. Sleep Problems
Without sleep, your muscles never recover, your brain doesn’t relax, and your mood goes down the drain. When your hormones are out of whack, your sleep might be too.
Why? The problem is two-fold. One, your body needs good sleep to replenish its hormone stores and make sure everything’s in working order for the next day. Two, high levels of certain hormones, like adrenalin and cortisol, increase our alertness—so we don’t want to sleep. And if we don’t sleep…we mess up our hormones even further.
Whether it’s insomnia or constant fatigue, your hormones might be to blame.
4. Dry Skin
Listen up, if you live in Arizona you should be bathing in lotion daily. But if you live in Arizona and your hormones are whack? Give up your day job and roll around in Aveeno 24/7.
Kidding, kind of. Here’s what’s really happening: your thyroid hormone plays a major role in regulating the moisture levels in your skin. If your thyroid hormone is low, it can cause your skin to be dry, scaly, and itchy. In that case, lotion won’t do the trick. But getting your hormones balanced will.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it doesn’t mean your hormones are 100% to blame. Like I’ve said before, head to your doctor for some basic tests and a customized treatment plan before jumping to any conclusions.
In the meantime, a few things you can do to take care of your hormones include:
Listen up fam, carbs are not the enemy. I repeat: Carbs are not the enemy!
I don’t care what the social media “fit gurus” want you to believe—if you want a strong body, a healthy mind, curves in the right places, and low body fat, you need carbs. Here’s why:
1. Carbs Give You Energy
Your body breaks down carbs into glucose (sugar) before being absorbed into your bloodstream. That glucose fuels your workouts, feeds your cells, and helps keep you energized throughout the day.
You run into trouble when you consume too many carbs and the glucose goes unused—converting to fat for long-term energy stores.
How can you avoid that? Stick to high-fiber starchy carbs like oatmeal and whole grains as opposed to sugary foods and drinks. And please, skip the fake “food” as much as possible—your body needs good, clean energy.
2. Carbs Increase Happiness
Researchers believe that consuming carbs actually promotes the production of serotonin—your brain’s happiness juice. They found that when people ate an extremely low-carb diet, they experienced higher rates of anxiety and depression.
So please, scoop that rice onto your plate and quit weighing your fruit. Eat the damn banana already.
3. Carbs Help You Lose Weight
Fiber, one type of carb, does incredible things for your body. It keeps you fuller longer—so you naturally eat less, helps reduce your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and can help you lose more weight than low-carb diets.
Great fiber-rich foods include: oatmeal, brown rice, barley, kidney beans, spinach, pears, and apples. Aim for 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day and your waistline will thank you.
4. Carbs Are Nutrient Dense
There’s plenty of talk about macronutrients: carbs, proteins, and fats, but micronutrients rarely get time in the spotlight. Luckily, when you eat things like whole grains and starchy vegetables, you’re feeding your body plenty of vitamins and minerals.
These micronutrients do things like: improve your eyesight, keep your skin healthy and young, help generate red blood cells, and increase energy levels.
5. Carbs Are Delicious
At the end of the day, eating should be enjoyable. And let’s face it, carbs taste good. That on its own is reason enough to eat them every single day.
Next time someone tells you carbs are the enemy, take a big bite of spaghetti and politely tell them they’re canceled—there’s no room for that type of negativity here.
Stay hungry fam,