Tag Archive | hormones

Workout overload!

It’s easy to forget that we can overdo it when working out. You get in the gym groove, put your headphones on, and go crazy lifting weights or doing cardio. Many people will reach a plateau when it comes to gym progress. This is a good sign, that you may be overdoing it.

So how do you know if you are overdoing it? A good indicator may be that you seem to be getting sick more often. Or, as I said before, you have hit a progress plateau. Or you seem to be retaining a layer of fat on your abdomen.

When you work out excessively, the body will continuing releasing cortisol and will not be able to clear it properly. Excess cortisol will result in getting sick more often and fat gain. You may also notice that you are waking up in the middle of the night. It may express itself differently in different people. Cortisol is inflammatory and taxing on the immune system.

Now what constitutes working out excessively? Lifting weights, getting sore and then not waiting until you are not sore to lift again. When you tear your muscle apart during a heavy lifting workout, cortisol is produced. Waiting until the soreness goes away is your indicator that you are ready to lift again. (People do this and can still look great, but it may catch up with you after time because it is taxing on your insides.) Another huge problem, especially with females, is too much cardio. The longer your cardio session, the more muscle destroying cortisol you will produce. Exercise is NOT about calories in versus calories out. We are trying to be efficient at our exercise, so the less exercise to be the healthiest is the goal. Running for an hour on the treadmill every day is going to increase cortisol levels. Keep cardio down to under 30 minutes per session. This can be done every single day if you wish, however it doesn’t hurt to take a day off!

If you’re not at this gym obsessive point yet, remember that your body does need rest and honor that. It’s ok to not be the person who cannot skip a day of working out. It’s in your hormonal interest to be efficient. For more info check out Abs After 30 !

My love,

Dr. Kristin

Have you hugged someone today?

Did you know that hugging someone releases a powerful hormone in your body that increases the feelings of love, trust and generosity.  It’s called oxytocin!  Oxytocin is released from the pituitary gland in your brain, most often known when a pregnant woman goes into labor and when breastfeeding.  The release of this hormone increases uterine contractions and milk supply in lactation.  Less known, it also increases the feelings of bonding between two people.  Hugging is one of the easiest ways to release this incredible hormone and help you feel happier and loved.  The release of oxytocin is also associated with decreased levels of the hormone cortisol, which is a stress hormone (we don’t want this).

So if you’re feeling down, find someone you care about and give them a hug!  A warm, fuzzy hug!

My love,

Dr. Kristin

You don’t want a ‘Grain Brain’!

If you have not seen or heard of neurologist Dr. Perlmutter’s new book “Grain Brain,” you need to check it out! Very educational and useful information for your health! This information supports eating right for your hormones!

http://www.grainbrainbook.com

Knowledge is power!  Take control of your life!

My love,

Dr. Kristin

Female Hormonal Imbalances

‘Female hormonal imbalances are often related to stress response. The more stress you’re under, the more it unbalances your cortisol levels. Not only is cortisol your primary stress hormone, it is a primary hormone in general, helping your body convert food into energy, normalize blood sugar, respond to stress and maintain your immune system’s inflammatory response.

When your cortisol levels become unbalanced due to chronic stress, this in turn deregulates your female hormones as well.

So what types of “stress responses” will interfere with your hormonal balance?

Emotional stress

Dietary stress

Pain and/or inflammatory stress

Really, any type of stress on your lifestyle can negatively impact the way your body’s hormones function, and that includes:

Too much work

Job loss

Financial trouble

Relationship or family problems

Eating a highly processed diet, too much junk food or fast food

Hidden inflammation from exposure to chemicals and toxins in your environment

Depletion of antioxidants or not consuming enough from your diet’

Dr. Joseph Mercola

Sleep Deprivation and Melatonin

As most of us have heard, the general rule for sleep is to get 8 hours a night.  (Some people seem to need less than 8 hours, and I always say biochemical individuality.)  But why is sleep so important?

After your eyes shut and your brain waves slow, your body kick starts some very important healing processes.  Sleep is when your body can really do some work on the damage done during the day.  Melatonin is the hormone that kick starts this process.  It is more important than many of us have realized in the past.  It has been seen that decreased levels of melatonin will skew the rest of your hormonal profile, including growth hormone, testosterone, estrogen, etc.  In this way it is thought of as a regulator of hormonal balance.  As I have talked about in other posts, hormonal balance is key to healing and body fat control.  Throw off that balance and we typically see a decreased ability to heal and deposits of fat in very particular areas of the body.

Melatonin has also been seen to possess very strong antioxidant properties.  Antioxidants work to rid the body of free radicals, which are molecules formed from oxidative stresses which include improper diet, stress and smoking.  Free radicals are thought to speed the aging process and contribute to processes including cancer.

Melatonin is released from the pineal gland, which resides in the middle of your brain.  Its production is stimulated by the sun, and its release is inhibited by the sun and stimulated by the dark.  When it gets dark, as melatonin increases in your blood, you begin to be less alert and hence fall asleep.   This is when the magic is done.  (Melatonin is however, inhibited by bright lights at night, which means staying up late with all the lights on.)

If you are depriving yourself of sleep, your body is not being given the adequate amount of time it needs to heal and repair tissues.  This includes staying up super late at night in a well-lit room (this can actually inhibit the release of melatonin).  There are many more benefits of sleep than I am going to discuss here, such as resting your adrenals glands and the increased release of growth hormone.  But I wanted to stress the importance of sleep and melatonin.  This does not mean I think everyone should go out and supplement with melatonin.  I recommend turning the lights off and trying to be in bed by 10pm, to allow your body the time it needs to repair.  And who doesn’t feel more productive when they get up early?

My love,

Dr. Kristin

Are you dehydrated?

I’m sure you’ve all heard before that your body is made up of 60-80% water.  But perhaps we need to talk about how common and easy it is to go into a state of dehydration, and how it actually affects you.  First let us define what dehydration is.  It is not as simple as you are either dehydrated or not.  Your level of hydration is a fluctuating state.  Dehydration means your cells do not have enough water to operate optimally.  Water is the medium through which your cells do their jobs.  Just as if your car does not have enough oil in the engine, it cannot run as well as it should.

Being dehydrated can slow your metabolism by up to 30%.  This means that if you are trying to get in shape or lose weight, it becomes an uphill battle.  Dehydration also significantly affects your liver, which means your body will not be able to process and eliminate toxins as efficiently.  And if you are exercising, dehydration means your muscles won’t be at full capacity.  Dehydration can be the difference of one glass of water.  As a rule of thumb, you should consume 1/2 your weight in lbs, in ounces of water.  If you weigh 120 lbs, you should be consuming 60 ounces of water per day.  If you are exercising or perspiring excessively, this number needs to adjust accordingly.

There are different signs of dehydration that you may experience (everyone is different).  These include headache, constipation, aching muscles, fatigue, decreased brain function, and infrequent urination.  As a general rule, it is healthy to eliminate your bowels at least one time a day, no more than 3 (obviously this can range and you need to be able to assimilate the nutrients from your food), and to urinate once an hour.  The excretory systems are meant to do just that, excrete toxins.

Water quality is also an important issue to address.  It is very common for municipalities to add chemicals to the water supply, such as chlorine, to kill potential bacteria/parasites.  This is important to prevent infections among the masses.  However, consuming these chemicals is also detrimental to us.  Chlorine kills bacteria, this includes the GOOD bacteria in your colon, and therefore acts as a type of antibiotic.  This is quite devastating to your immune system as a large responsibility lies in your bowels.  Fluoride is another issue, and a popular misconception.  We have been taught that Fluoride is good for our teeth.  Unfortunately for us, there is research and many case reports showing otherwise.  (If you are interested in reading about fluoride, I suggest reading the book ‘The Fluoride Deception’ by Christopher Bryson.)  Fluoride consumption actually destroys bone and teeth (naturally occurring known as calcium fluoride and artificial known as sodium fluoride), and also collects in the pineal gland in the brain.  A recent study out of Harvard University has shown that fluoride decreases IQ in our children.  All in all, it would be optimal for us to remove fluoride from the water we drink.  (I suggest also reading this article on Natural News http://www.naturalnews.com/026605_fluoride_fluorides_detox.html).  The best way to make sure you are consuming the best quality water is to purchase a reverse osmosis system for under your sink.  A system like this will purify your drinking water only and should cost about $200.  I could not think of a better investment.

The last issue I would like to address is your water drinking container.  It is very common these days to purchase bottled water, or refill your own plastic container.  Plastic contains toxic chemicals that will actually leach into the water contained inside.  These chemicals have been found to disrupt your endocrine system, or your HORMONES.  Disruptions of hormones can lead to an inability to lose weight and infertility.  BPA is a popular chemical you may have heard about, and companies are now advertising BPA-free products.  What they do not tell you is that the plastic contains other chemicals that are either as detrimental or worse.  So all in all, I recommend NOT drinking out of plastic.  Good alternatives are stainless steel bottles (like Kleen Kanteen) or glass.

Gives your body what it deserves!  Because you only have one!

My love,

Dr. Kristin

Squats are a girl’s best friend

If you’re not squatting, I want to help you start!  It’s one of the most functional, butt blasting, fat burning, feel good exercises out there.  For a female, squats are especially useful in the vain game since we deposit a good amount of cushion in our bottoms.  The more muscle you use in a resistance exercise, the more fat busting testosterone is produced.  Muscle is more metabolically active, which means less fat.

Function wise, how many times a day do you need to squat?  Think about it…  Every time you need to go to the bathroom.  Granted you’re not putting 50 lbs on your back as you do it.  But in the long run, your grannie legs will thank you!  Plus many people do not realize the extent that squats strengthen your pelvic floor.  The pelvic floor is the group of muscles that extends from your pubic bone to your tailbone (in no specifics), which surrounds your urethra and anus and aids in control of excretion.  That means no unnecessary urine leaks, which is especially useful if you plan on having children.

So what do you need to do to start squatting?  Well, you have several options.  You can begin with air squats at home.  Stand with your feet hip distance apart, toes turned outwards 30 degrees.  Now lower your tush towards the floor, throwing it back instead of straight down (your knees should be directly over your ankles when you reach the bottom).  Think of sitting back on a chair.  Lower your butt to the floor as far as you can, below parallel please (this means your rear is below your knees)!  Repeat until you cannot do any more.  Know that you will be sore!  It can be hard to get used to being sore after a new workout, but think of it like a badge of honor.  It means you made progress.

When you need more of a challenge, you can add weight to your back.  Anything from a gym bar to dumbbells or kettlebells by your side.  I start with low weight to warm up, and then move up according to my strength levels.  (I push myself, but the heavier you go, you need someone to spot you.  This is only for advanced lifters.)

I really hope you considering squatting as a new part of your exercise routine!  Squats really are a girl’s best friend!

My love,

Dr. Kristin

Muscles are sexy

I’ve heard a lot of women I know talking about not wanting to get ‘all muscley.’  But what does all muscley mean anyway?

Muscles are important for a lot of things in life.  The stronger they are, the easier it is for you to lift, push and pull anything.  Strong muscles create stronger, denser bones.  Muscles means more testosterone so you can feel better, stronger, and heal more quickly.  And more muscles equals less subcutaneous fat.  Sounds like a win win to me.

So what’s the problem?  I know most women do not want to look like ‘those body builders.’  I promise you, unless you are a freak of nature, you are not capable of developing that much muscle mass.  Plus, many (if not most) female body builders are using some type of supplementation, if you know what I mean.

Most importantly, as my boyfriend and many other men I know can attest to, muscles are sexy!

My love,

Dr. Kristin