food is medicine amd how it impacts stress, our hormones and weight

How stress impacts your hormones, mood & weight.

Hands up if your stress hormones are running the show right now!? Would you benefit from understanding how stress impacts your hormones, mood & weight.

As women, some of us mums, multi- tasking, juggling work, kids, school applications, Christmas, will there even be a bloody Christmas!?, family & relationship dramas. Some of you may even be dealing with the pain of loss in these uncertain circumstances. So it can feel like we are being slapped in the face from every direction with some form of stress.  As a result it can seem like life is literally being sucked out of us, would you agree? Or is that just my experience 😊 So again, I ask “Are your hormones running the show right now?” Let’s talk about, how stress impacts your hormones, mood and weight.

As a result the impact stress has on us as women is truly mind blowing! But on the flip side, it is an area we can achieve some serious results. If we choose to take back the control and make that investment in ourselves. For instance let us choose not to let stress run the show. The show being our lives.

How Stress impacts your hormones, mood & weight.

For a lot of women, I work with it, guilt can be one of those top stressors.

  • The guilt that your self-care should even be a priority ( I call this my mom guilt).
  • The guilt of spending money on your Health & wellness in a time of uncertainty for many.
  • The guilt of spending precious time on your life goals.

I know from experience if you do not make your Physical & Mental health a priority eventually you will be forced to… Your wellness should be a priority, not a novelty and I will give you one reason why!

Because if you fall apart everything and everyone who relies on you will also suffer, including you!!.

As women, some of us mums, we tend to be placed at the end of the self care list. But what if we decided to change the conversation in our head? It can be a real game changer. It could be that simple step to living a stress reduced/managed (you can see I don’t say stress -free!) life.

How? Tell me Michelle how do I get to a space of feeling happy and confidence in myself? Learn the tools to avoid letting stress impact your hormones, mood and weight.

  1. Firstly, Lets try Focusing on what we can change and not giving space in our precious life for what we have no control over! I always suggest no more then 2- 3 clear actions goals at a time. This is how I work with my clients allowing them to be consistent, taking the overwhelm out of the equation and see the changes these smaller mini goals have on the bigger picture.  end result being not less stress run the show. For instance I have a beautiful client whose long term goal is to manage her horrific Pmt (she has really low moods and salt cravings at least 2 weeks of the month) Salt can be an indicator of adrenal fatigue caused by stress. And also she has gained a lot of weight around the middle and not so much the rest of her body. Also an indicator of high cortisol as a result of blood sugar issues and stress. Both of which impact each other. We have broken these down into 3 mini goals a month.

How we broke one big goal into 3 manageable mini goals.

  • Stress management techniques which we do weekly to identify stressors and how best to manage them. Identifying stressors and barriers plays a big role in achieving goals and should never be skipped. I also do this as part of my group programmes as part of a workshop and have had great client results.
  • Portion sizes to ensure she has the right proportion of carbs, protein and good fats so we can manage blood sugar, which will reduce cravings and belly fat through balancing insulin and cortisol production.
  • In her case we reduced the amount of cardio during the second half of her cycle which was adding to her weight gain( excessive exercise can cause more cortisol adding to weight gain in some cases)and swapped for more strength work and yoga.

  • Second, Think about Nourishment not deprivation.  Food is medicine, I will repeat this again FOOD IS MEDICINE. eating cyclically, using the power of nutrition to support the 4 phases of your cycle. Hormones need different nutrients during each phase. Try adding some simple easy to find foods into your diet can have massive direct impacts with your mood, weight and energy. I have seen first- hand these small changes make to women, their confidence, and relationships. It is a beautiful process, and I am so honored to a part of that.
  • Third, Embrace Progress not perfection. If we try to make small consistent changes to achieve the big life changing results. This is what I teach my 1-1 and group clients on my Nourish-Move-Thrive Programme. Balancing hormones to lose weight, achieve more stable moods, body confidence and get rid of any pesky Pmt symptoms holding you back from living your best life.

Do you want to learn more about cycle syncing nutrition for weight loss and balancing hormones ? click here https://bit.ly/3pPyeHu

Some of the conditions increased stress can manifest itself as

  • Bloating, increasing the waist up a dress size.
  • Gut issues (especially Ibs, colitis, any inflammatory conditions).
  • Increased belly fat (especially if exercising your tushy off but you’re not getting the desired results.
  • Excess tiredness even though you may be sleeping well. Or maybe you are not sleeping well and waking up a lot during the night due to anxious, racing thoughts and worries!
  • Low libido which may be having an impact on your confidence and relationship.
  • Headaches and migraines which I have seen on the increase and I have just helped a client this week with and have had great results.

It is so important to remember and be mindful that we are all wonderfully unique. Stress manifests very differently from one person to the next. To summarise everything I have said would be Planning ahead with some clear action though Nutrition, movement, and mindset it is possible to live a life perhaps not stress free, but more balanced, full of body confidence, free from the chains of unbalanced hormones and excess weight holding you back.

My top 5 foods during periods of extreme stress

  • Wholegrains such as Spelt, buckwheat, Oats, amaranth. Packed full of B vitamins essential during times of healing and crisis.
  • Green leafy veggies which are an abundant source of fibre but also magnesium. B vitamins and magnesium both  play a big role in releasing  energy from food. Magnesium is known as natures tranquilizer. It is a great supplement to take before bed. Try 300-500mg of magnesium glycinate an hour before bed for a good night of ZZZzzzzzz’s.
  • Beans and pulses are a great vegetarian source of protein and fibre. Protein plays a big role  in hormone production and weight loss, the fibre also aids digestion and facilitates weight loss.

Are you ready to invest in yourself and be the best version of you?

Are you ready to invest in yourself?  

A helping hand I would like to offer everyone is a free 20-minute online consultation to anyone looking for some guidance on where to start on your wellness journey. As a result I hope you have started to understand the connection on how stress impacts your hormones, mood and weight. Always remember my lovely do not suffer in silence.  To book follow the link and pick an available slot.

https://nourishmovethrive.as.me/

Michelle xx

Http://www.newbodyandsoul.com/contact

Women feeling powerful on learning about exercising for each phase of her menstrual cycle

Exercising for each phase of your menstrual cycle.

Why would you benefit from exercising for each phase of your menstrual cycle? Have you noticed how one day your sprinting through the park with endless energy? The next you have to drag yourself out for even a short stroll with the dog.

That is our hormones are work. It really is like a monthly dance. Each week playing a different tune. A slow waltz, a sexy tango, or an Irish jig. But what if you had the monthly dance schedule ahead of time ?  You could be well prepped for each dance filled with confidence that you knew the steps to each one with the perfect outfit to match?

In other words, by tracking our cycle and understanding each phase (Download my free planner and tracker to get started on discovering yours) you can be prepared for what each week brings.

Once you have discovered your pattern you can work on those weight loss goals, strength building exercises that bring the full benefit of working with your hormones and achieve your goals. Exercising for each phase of your menstrual cycle really is power to women, and we need to be taking full advantage of this knowledge.

What others are saying about exercising for each phase of your menstrual cycle

“Now, researchers at the University of North Carolina have shown that one stage of the menstrual cycle heightens fat burning, while another increases carbohydrate metabolism.” (quote from of peak performance article ) 

The menstrual phase

Your hormones are at their lowest. This is time for low impact activity. Taking the stress from your adrenals. Yoga, walks in nature, more flow based tai chi, Pilates movement, resistance bands, stair climbing, bodyweight strength moves.  High impact workouts during this phase are draining on the body and taxing on the adrenals. Remember if the adrenals feel under the pump, an influx of stress hormones are bound to be close. And as we know high cortisol Levels have been linked to an increase in belly fat. 

The follicular phase

You will start to notice an increase in energy once your period ends and your heading into the follicular phase. An increase in Oestrogen is what leads to the rise in energy so it’s the perfect time for more high endurance strength activity. As I have said use your body as a guide. She will tell you if you are listening for the power of exercise for each phase of your menstrual cycle. Oestrogen strengthens the effect of insulin carb storing hormone) meaning carbs are better tolerated and muscle is more easily built at this stage.

This is the time for Hiit work and more endurance yoga work. The pre-ovulatory spike of testosterone also makes it an excellent time for building muscle. Get the weight out ladies. And no you won’t end up like arnie but you will get the toned lean body most of us strive for. This is the power held in exercising for each phase of your menstrual cycle.

The ovulatory phase

After we ovulate, we get another little spike in oestrogen, and progesterone is on the rise.  This leads again to an energy and confidence spike. This is a fantastic time to try some team sports and activities. Bootcamps, boxing are two I enjoy and are a good mix of cardio and strength work. It is also the best time for trying new things, as we are more than likely to stick to it if our experience is good. Again this is a time Carbohydrates are better tolerated according to recent studies. It is a time that these 2 hormones help to burn fat as fuel. So think heart raising moves. Hiking, spinning, sprint work, hill runs.

The luteal phase

Hormones can take a sharp dip here especially towards then end of the luteal phase. This can lead to low energy, mood changes, cravings and any other Pmt symptoms you experience. Progesterone in the luteal phase also decreases the body’s sensitivity to insulin and carbohydrate metabolism. Including lean protein, goods fats, and starchy vegetables such as pumpkin, and squash to keep cravings at bay.

It may also be best sticking to lower intensity training during this time especially towards the end just before your period starts. Light cardio or bodyweight session, especially if you are particularly susceptible to fatigue and depression during PMS. Empowerment is about working with your body, not against it. If your energy is there then go for it. But as the luteal phase comes to an end you will feel the drop in energy so listen out for the clues.

Vary your workouts & tap into the power of exercising for each phase of your menstrual cycle.

It is important to be smart with this information. It is a guide, as am I. It’s also important to listen to your own body and her breadcrumbs. Yes, it’s helpful to know which half of your cycle may produce better results from different exercises but be mindful of limitations and ask for advice when needed.

This means not pushing yourself further than your body wants. And aiming to be injury free.

Both cardio and strength work have amazing health benefits. So be sure to get a mix of both through the month to get the results you desire.  This is how I work with my Personal training and Nutrition clients in my Nourish-Move -thrive 90 day programme. Please do not waste time on the “Throw the spaghetti against the wall approach”. Have a plan peeps and get the results you deserve. I hope I have given you some direction to get started and if you would like more hands on help and support please check out my 1-1 and group fitness packages at .

Ready to invest in yourself this lockdown.

Join me over on Instagram where I share lots of tips around food, mindset and exercise to help you bring balance to wherever it is needed most.Then let’s set some positive intentions for this month and make a positive from this whole situation. I look forward to seeing you. Http://www.Instagram.com/newbodyandsoulmom

Have a great week my lovelies x

Michelle

healthy food buffet representing how food influences balanced hormones helping to melt belly fat

How happy hormones will melt away your belly fat and get you in flow

In this series over the coming weeks I will be talking weight loss, confidence, bloating, blood sugar, and all the day to day factors influencing our weight. This is how I work with about 90% of my clients. But more importantly each of them has different stories. By listening to their body’s breadcrumbs (we learn these through a 4 page detailed questionnaire), I help identify the areas they need to be focusing on. This allows them to work in harmony with their body and not against. We want to create flow within our bodies, a state of balance and harmony. When our hormones are happy, our weight is happy, our confidence is off the chart and ladies this is where magic happens . Lets dig a little deeper and discover how happy hormones will melt away your belly fat and get you in flow. Have you noticed any breadcrumbs in your life? perhaps some clear signs your body is trying to tell you?

Weight is just the tip of the iceberg

It’s important to realise that weight loss is never about the weight itself. The word weight loss represents the top of the iceberg, what is lurks underneath in the dark will be the decider, where the most good or most damage can happen. Weight represents a vision, a state, or a certain feeling to a woman. As females we are deeply intuitive creatures where things have a deeper meaning. We do not just want to lose weight for the sake of weight, do we?

My reasons

When I reflect on my reasons, it was because I wanted to feel confident and beautiful walking down the aisle next to my sis on her big day. It was because as a women’s coach and Nutritionist I wanted to be a role model to other working mums. Where let us be honest we tend to place ourselves at the back of the self-care shopping line. Ladies we need to be at the top of that line, we are the drivers in most families. If we do not look after us, then who will look after them?!   Take a minute to really have a think about what you want to achieve this week, this month, this year? Are you willing to take action now and not live the same life twice?

How I work with my strong mama tribe

When I speak about weight loss, I mention sustainable, realistic weight loss that serves a purpose- brings us into flow. I am talking about that feeling women including myself at some point have had, of resignation, of acceptance that this must be how it is now, a body that does not feel like it is mine. A body your just not familiar or comfortable in. That can be weight, especially belly fat (can be hormone and stress related), bloating, water retention, mood swings, even diminished or low libido. Because let’s be honest how we feel about ourselves and our body spills into all areas of our life.

An exercise for you to complete

Have a back to what you wrote earlier on what you would like to achieve. What other areas would it impact if you achieved these? Your relationship, you confidence?

The disconnected body- getting into flow

 I am a huge advocate of the beautiful strong confident body. What this describes can be individual to you.  It’s a body you feel confident in, you feel empowered and positive, allowing you to get on with…Living your best Life.

 A lot of women I speak to are dis- connected from their bodies, killing themselves in the gym, and under eating. In addition, their stressed because they are not getting results. Worse still they gain weight, adding to the mountains of stress they already have- In between meetings, kids’ tantrums, washing and all the other endless lists…

Poo & Period signs

Now hear me out! You may be wondering what has weight loss, periods and poo got in common?  Well ladies let me tell you A LOT. Our bodies do not work the same way as men (no 1 we do not have a penis) so why are we following all of these ridiculous diets that just work against your body. Starving ourselves, fasting (which works for some but not all women and has shown to be more successful with men) cardio workouts(can actually make you gain weight if your not careful).

Action Step for How happy hormones will melt away your belly fat and get you in flow

  1. Balance your Blood sugar
    STOP STARVING YOURSELF LADIES.. A state of flow- so happy hormones, happy weight, high energy comes from nourishment not starvation. Our body works like a beautiful orchestra, if one of those areas is out of tune it will through the whole system out. So forget weight loss, pain free periods, or energy to burn.

3 steps to take control right now

Include lean protein with each meal

You can include specific protein foods for each of your 4 phases to get the additional benefits of supporting your hormones.(Download my free worksheet to get you started) This helps to increase the hormone glucagon the fat immobilising hormone and give insulin a break(fat storing hormone). It also keeps your energy and concentration levels balanced. If your blood sugar is out of whack it eventually will lead to issues with your adrenals( stress response) and the domino effect continues.
Leading to weight gain, increased belly fat, low moods & low libido= Not a state of flow(No magic).

Do not consume any coffee before breakfast

Caffeine causes a stress response in the body and even worse on an empty stomach-its a stimulant, as is sugar. So when our body is stressed it reacts by releasing stress hormones. Now this is fine now and again. But if we are hammering our body from every direction with all forms of stress- hiit classes, environmental stress, over drinking, excess caffeine and sugar. This eventually takes its toll. Early adrenal fatigue signs include weight gain, depression, anxiety, and ongoing tiredness, only a few of the tell tale signs.

Eat a rainbow

What does your plate look like? Beige looking ?, or full of beautiful colours that scream eat me you? Aim to fill half of your plate with vegetables all colours of the rainbow. Especially foods from the brassica family. Kale, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage. You may not know this but our fat cells cling to toxins. And our body will cling to fat cells. Not very helpful to our increasing waist line, eh. So if your pounding the pavements, but not paying attention to your plate and not getting the results you feel you should be getting then its time to set a new course of direction, right?! By eating these foods you are supplying your liver with the nutrients it needs to detoxify, old hormones, last nights wine, basically everything we ingest. By supporting our poor workhorse of the body-the liver we are helping to prevent a backlog of toxins adding to our list of goal breakers.

What next?

I have armed you with 3 small actions to get you results, now. Remember being consistent will reap the benefits. If you would like more support on your weight loss, hormone balancing journey then get in touch today, no more holding you back from the life you should be living. Take massive action today and put yourself to the front of the self care line.

If you would like to take the next step why not jump on my 30 day hormone balancing weight loss programme. Email Michelle@newbodyandsoul.com for your free 30 minute discovery call.

Take care xx

Michelle

Top tips on how to manage stress through Nutrition, mindset, exercise

There is no getting away from it. And more so now then ever with lots of us self isolating, or perhaps worries and feeling anxious by what we cannot control around us.. Stress is a common factor in this modern busy world, and surrounds some of us like a toxic cloud. Unless your on some exotic island eating the most antioxidant foods nature has?  Breathing the cleanest of air then your life has stress in some form. Mine certainly does, from waking nightly to the sounds of demanding pre preschoolers.

What used to be my stresser, running to nursery with my top inside out because we were late AGAIN!  To now having to manage my anxiety and my kids frustration of self isolation in a flat with no garden. Also  the stress any one feels running their own business, in a time of uncertainty and wondering am I good enough(I am by the way but we all have moments of self doubt)

Yes, a certain level of stress is important. The caveman had his fair share back in the day. Catching his dinner whilst running away from a tiger. And we thought we had it bad! Now that is a reason to be stressed!. Although for the majority of us, our reactions to situations, how we take care of our health and well being are major contributes to the stress in our lives.

The issue today is we are in a constant state of stress. Stressed from over thinking situations, fear of unknown, lack of exercise, work, childcare, our self confidence, our health etc . We’re one big ball of stress. Taking action to reduce these everyday stresses is a practice. Unfortunately we cant just manifest our wishes and they come through. (I do love a full moon manifest from my rooftop). But, There has to be positive action also involved.

A couple of practices that have helped me are simple techniques such as

  1. Writing a journal or diary of the days events that have stressed you out. These are hard times for the majority of us, effecting us all differently. Reflect back on these for a few minutes every evening. Was there something you could have done differently? Would it have changed the outcome if you had reacted differently. Learn from it! Our brain is capable of so much but like every habit formed it has to be done repetitively for it to become an automatic reaction without thoughts. Remember these are not normal circumstances so cut yourself some slack! Talk to yourself like you would a best friend. It changes the conversations guys doesn’t it ?!
  2. Look to keep the angry monster at bay by keeping your blood sugar levels balanced. Start the day with a source of protein. Protein is so important for keeping our moods and hormones in check. Its also where we get our zinc from which we need to keep our immune system balanced. A couple of recipes I share with my clients are Egg muffins(which can be made the night before and kept for 3 days). Plain Greek yogurt with flaxseeds and fruit another great example. Oats are also a great anabolic food and veggie source of protein so porridge with some flaxseeds and fruit.
  3. Take some time everyday to fit something in that brings you joy. If you still have the option of getting outside going for a walk. Reading those books you never got around to. Try a distance learning course on something you have always wanted to learn. Find a fitness and health community and get involved with those virtual classes( Get in touch for my weekly fitness and nutrition online classes). A bedtime hug with your kids. Its the small things that matter most. Most of my clients come to me for just that. They need an outlet through fitness, food and mindset. Have something planned no matter how small that brings you joy, boosting happy hormones, and reminding us that stress does not have to rule our lives if we choose not to let it.
  4. Pack your plate with colours of the rainbow. Dark greens, red, yellow. All these veggies are packed full of antioxidants that keep illness at bay when stress takes over. Our immune system can be severely depleted when stressed. So help your body to fight back with an army of antioxidants. Aim to fill half your plate with these amazing troopers. Vitamins and minerals such as B, C, magnesium and zinc are crucial at this time.
  5. Keep alcohol to a minimum. I can hear the sighs already. I am with you guys and feel your pain. I love a big glass of red to unwind but when alcohol becomes a crutch for stress then I hear the warning signs. It was something I did after having my kids, and loved to stretch out with an episode of poldark with a big glass of red. But next day I always was tired, cranky, stressed!! It places a huge demand on your immune system and we need more then ever in the currant climate. It leaches vitamins and minerals from your body and lets be honest we need all the goodness we can get.

I hope that by reading this you have taken some small steps you can implement. By including little action daily we can make positive changes in our life. We will get through this. Take the action you need to do to keep as healthy and positive as you can. If I can support you virtually right now please get in touch for a free fitness and nutrition consultation via the consultation form. Or join me for some virtual fitness and nutrition workshops and lets fight back.

Stay safe x