If you are like me and have been frustrated with extra fat and bloating around your waist and abdomen, you will also be pleased to know that sometimes those extra pounds have little to do with how many crunches you’re doing or how much less food you’re eating and, instead, more to do with a shift in hormones that happens with almost everyone over the age of thirty-five. Excess fat is often due to a hormonal imbalance called estrogen dominance, which can occur primarily in women but sometimes in men. If you don’t address estrogen dominance, your stubborn fat will likely remain despite how hard you exercise or how stringent your diet regime is.
When estrogen levels remain high in the body relative to progesterone, the result is a condition known as estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance also causes increased bloating and water retention which may not be the result of more fat but still makes you look heavier and causes your blood sugar to fluctuate. Controlling your blood sugar is important because it affects your appetite and slows your metabolism. Estrogen is one of the two main hormones produced in the ovaries. The other, progesterone, is produced primarily in the second half of a woman’s menstrual cycle. When women reach their thirties and forties, it is very common for the balance between the two hormones to shift heavily toward estrogen, causing the condition known as estrogen dominance. Too much estrogen in the body also causes salt and water retention, making us look bloated, flabby, and soft.
Here are some other symptoms that can tell you if you’re experiencing estrogen dominance:
- Stubborn fat around the waist, hips and thighs
- Water retention/bloating
- Low libido
- Mood swings or irritability
- Hot flashes/night sweats
- Brain fog or fuzzy memory
- Irregular periods or long-lasting periods
- Depression or low motivation
In women, and oftentimes men, higher estrogen levels cause the body to store fat around the waist and abdomen area. More specifically, in women, estrogen dominance causes fat to be stored around the stomach, waist, hips, and thighs, causing us to look round or pear-shaped once we get in our forties. For men, it causes them to have the fat belly that looks like a spare tire around their waist.
Here are six ways to address excess fat caused by estrogen dominance:
1. Maintain healthy liver function and regular bowel movements (at least once a day) to eliminate excess estrogen from the body.
2. Eliminate sugar and starch from your diet. Get sugar out of your diet if you want to lose body fat. By sugar, I mean candy and sweets, of course, but really any starchy, processed foods that cause insulin spikes resulting in excess fat in the body. If you want to reduce fatigue and weight (fat) gain, try to have no more than two servings of starchy carbohydrates—such as potatoes and corn—per day and avoid sugary sweets altogether.
3. Eat more fiber. Fiber from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables helps to move estrogen out of the body, which helps prevent it from building up and creating a hormonal burden on your system.
4. Avoid alcohol. It spurs the production of harmful estrogen. Daily alcohol consumption can raise estrogen levels.
5. Eat more detoxifying foods. Add plenty of detoxifying foods to your diet, including broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, beets, carrots, apples, ginger, onions, and celery. Eat at least five servings of fresh fruits and veggies per day. In particular, dark leafy green veggies, such as spinach, collards, and kale, are ideal. Regarding fruit, the brighter and deeper the color the better; great choices are oranges, blackberries, and apples.
6. Use natural hormone therapy, called bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), to restore hormonal balance. Bio-identical hormones are hormones derived from plants, usually soybeans or wild yams, through a biochemical process that ensures that the molecular structure is identical to the hormones women make in their own bodies. In my book, Lose Weight Without Dieting or Working Out, I have a detailed discussion that focuses on where and how to use bio-identical hormones and where to get them. I’m grateful that bio-identical hormones helped me to relieve my symptoms of estrogen dominance by allowing me to naturally increase the progesterone levels in my body.
The good news is that estrogen dominance can be treated, and once your hormones have been properly balanced, the stubborn fat will begin to melt away. Most women who address estrogen dominance can lose the stubborn fat, especially belly fat, within one to two months. For me personally, to have my stomach literally deflate from bloated to flat happened within a few short weeks. Yay!
For a more detailed discussion of estrogen dominance, as well as 6 other hormonal imbalances that can cause weight gain, check out my book, Lose Weight Without Dieting or Working Out!