In Part 1 of this series, we covered everything but the hormones. But now it’s time for the million dollar estrogen question: do female hormones make it harder for women to lose weight? And if they do, what can you do about it? In this article, we’ll look at the pro- and anti-fat effects of estrogen (yes, there are both!), what this means for weight loss, and how diet can affect estrogen levels in various ways.
About: Michelle’s first pregnancy was one of the best times of her life, but it was also a time when she gained weight. After her little one was born, Michelle started up her blog as a way to chronicle her weight loss and all her activities being a first-time mom. She lost nearly 60 pounds in six months, and is great if you’re looking for someone to follow who tries out new diets, fitness routines, healthy recipes and more. Oh yeah, and her crafts are amazing.
You may think you're vigilant about watching what you eat, but research shows that stolen bites and tastes can rack up a few hundred uncounted calories, which can put on pounds fast. Eating while distracted can cause mindless eating, too. When women who normally watched their portions had lunch in different situations, they ate 15% more (72 additional calories) while listening to a detective story, compared with when they ate alone and free of any distractions, found a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Losing weight is no small feat—it often requires a complete lifestyle overhaul, and with so much information out there, it can be tough to know what strategy might work for you. And to top it all off, all the weight loss myths that just will not die threaten to throw you off track. That's why it's helpful to know what has worked for real people—in their own words. Here, we've gathered advice from 28 women who have lost between 26 and 174 pounds—and kept that weight off for good.
Hey Adam, I am 16 years old and weigh 156lbs, since April of 2013, I’ve been on a strict vegetarian diet. This dramatic switch in diet lead me to lose 50lbs over the next 6 months and I feel great. I’ve followed many dieting rules that include cheat day and exersising but, I have hit a wall, everything I do (switching starchy grains for high fiber veggies, more water consumption, etc.) isn’t providing the results that I want. Instead, my weight fluctuates between 156lbs and 159lbs and my goal is to be about 150. I need some advice on how to lose the last 10-ish pounds. Can you help me?
– My biggest “trouble spot” is the SPARE TIRE/BELLY I have acquired around my waist & upper “back fat.” I used to be incredibly disciplined about doing core exercises when I was (much) younger, as daily physical therapy for my scoliosis – But, I have allowed everything else to take priority (like kids, family, job, other “duties”). I feel selfish and guilty spending time just working out – helping myself. Any suggestions on (quick) CORE exercises/weight management?
I am so obsessed with food but every time I look in the mirror it makes me feel so disappointed on myself. I did want lose weight but can’t help to eat and eat more food, I already use all kinds of method on diet like keto, vegetarian, vegan etc. but it won’t work because of my eagerness to eat foods. So, I began to research what can help me on losing my weight and to lose appetite and I saw this blimburnseeds.com/news/marijuana/news/media-tv/imprisoned-in-ecuador-for-carry-cannabis-seeds-and-paraphernalia-part-1/. A report from The American Journal of Medicine explains that regular marijuana use was associated with lower levels of fasting insulin and smaller waist circumference. Cbd and thc are also new to me and I don’t even smoke. Alternatively, they’ve also found new ways to infuse cannabis on food and beverages. If this is true I can’t find any solid conclusive evidence that speaks to its efficacy. Any personal experience or testimonial would be highly appreciated. Thanks
About: Misty’s more than just a “fat girl,” as she puts it. So much more. Misty started blogging about her weight loss about four years ago after she experienced a pulmonary edema and several pulmonary embolisms following the birth of her fourth daughter — all caused by excessive fluids in her body and all nearly killing her. She also found out she has a blood disorder called Factor V Leiden, something she was born with. Since starting her original blog “I Am Not Just a Fat Girl,” Misty’s weight loss journey has had ups and downs, but ultimately she accepted her body and now blogs to inspire others who are looking to lose weight, too.
No, seriously. This annoying social media habit could end up helping you eat less. An analysis of attentive eating studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that if people recall their last meal as being filling and satisfying, they tend to eat less during their next meal. So snap your delicious-looking food, and scroll back through your feed before you eat next.
That first summer of all in was the summer of forming healthy habits and making lifestyle changes. They say (who is they? the internet? scientists?) it takes 30 days of doing something every day to form a habit. While that might be true for most people, it wasn’t for me because it took me the entire summer to form my habits. My nutrition habits were focused on eating nutritious foods and figuring out what those were. Specifically, I wanted to eat nutritious foods that fueled my body, figure out the right amount of foods I needed, eat less processed foods, and monitor sweets. My exercise habits were focused on incorporating activity into each day. Specifically, I wanted to start running, lifting, and be active every day.
Unfortunately, that balance can be hard to find when our ancient evolutionary responses just aren’t appropriate for the modern food environment. Especially for women who are already overweight, it’s entirely possible that the fat -> estrogen -> fat cycle can spiral out of control. Weight loss by itself approaches this problem from one angle (less fat means lower estrogen production), but specifically addressing estrogen might also be helpful.
That’s all good – but on the other hand, estrogen also has a very tangled and complicated relationship with adipose tissue (body fat). Fat cells aren’t just inert blobs of energy storage sitting around on your hips. Actually, fat tissue is a very active part of the hormonal system, and one of its biggest jobs is to produce estrogen. Fat tissue contains an enzyme called aromatase, which converts testosterone to estrogen – estrogen comes from other places as well (most obviously the ovaries), but fat is certainly an important part of the process.
So excited to say that I have started cooking healthier meals from scratch and I am eating less and less processed junk every day and my family is slowly but surely following. My husband is a junk food junky and while I love the fact that he ‘loves me just the way you are’, sometimes I wish he would say, ‘lose some weight tubby’. No, not really. That would break my heart! I just need more motivation!!
I am not a “medicine person” AT ALL. Still to this day, I avoid it like the plague. Yet I had been thrust, by our own doing, into this busy, crazy, stressful world so quickly that I didn’t know how to cope. And literally within months, I had gained 60lbs. And that 60 was on top of the weight I had already gained from just “playing” a little too hard. Not partying or drinking or anything, just indulging, traveling and being so busy that fast food was my best friend. By the end of 2006, I topped off around 200lbs. Yes, not the easiest thing to write on a public blog. So here’s the proof…
"When you're stressed out or tired, it's very easy to forget when your hand goes into the cookie jar," says Marisa Sherry, RD, a registered dietitian in private practice in New York City. "Are you being honest with yourself about taking just one handful here and there? When you have a cup, are you really having one cup? Most drinking glasses hold about three cups. By the end of the day, it all adds up."
Snacking is the key to Mary Rogerson’s 60-pound weight loss but it’s not just how often she eats but what. “I aim to eat at least seven servings of vegetables a day, along with some protein, every few hours,” she says. “And The best part is that by the time she’s loaded up on her rainbow of produce, she’s usually too full to eat much else and her cravings for sweets have gone way down.
The researchers explain that people who cook their own meals may simply have other good-for-you habits, like exercising more. However, they also concluded that home cooks ate more fruits and vegetables (along with a wider variety of foods), have healthier methods of prepping their food, and splurge less on foods high in calories and sugar. No clue where to start? Check out these 25 high-protein chicken recipes for weight loss.
What are you doing this weekend? I hope you’re signing up for MEND our new virtual 6 week workshop with the wonderful @rosiemolinary We launched a BONUS #bodykindness #podcast today and we have a coupon code for listeners. Enter SpiralUp at registration and you’ll save $130— all 6 weeks for $299 included our live session and Facebook group. Head on over to the podcast for Rosie and Rebecca insight. Then sign up for MEND with us... the only thing broken is how you see yourself. Starts 3/14
“Stepping on the scale frequently makes you aware of small changes and helps you quickly react to those changes. The National Weight Control Registry, a large group of people who have successfully lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for 5 years, found that successful ‘losers’ weigh themselves often and make adjustments accordingly. When you begin to understand that sodium, carb intake, hormones and alcohol intake can impact weight and that it isn’t possible to gain 2 pounds of fat overnight, you will begin to better understand your body. The key is to pay attention to overall trends; don’t obsess over day-to-day numbers! — Jennifer McDaniel, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD, food and nutrition expert
Fast forward to the present. In terms of weight loss, I have kept off those 50 pounds, but it took me over a year to find a comfortable weight. More important, I am not as focused on losing weight but on building lean muscle and getting toned. My energy levels, positivity, confidence, and purpose are more important than size and weight. In terms of nutrition, I prioritize eating wholesome foods and nourishing meals; and I am learning more about the ratios and best foods to fuel my body for my lifestyle. For exercise, I still consider myself a runner though and through, but I have struggled with some injuries. I tend to go super hard at the things I love, so I have gone in and out of working my body too hard. That being said, I have been mixing up my workouts with running (I have a destination half marathon planned for March!) and more lifting (thank you to Lindsay for all of the lifting plans!) and yoga (Yoga with Adriene is amazing.) I have also had an epiphany on self-care, but that’s for a different post. I am working towards real-deal peace and happiness. I’m getting fit, healthy, happy, indulge when I want, have confidence in what I’m doing and the choices I make daily, know my way around a kitchen, and listen to my body.
Lets be honest, there were mornings that I just didn’t have it in me to make this. For those mornings I would fall back to just 2-3 hardboiled eggs, or a single hardboiled egg and a protein shake made with water + whey protein isolate. Since I work from home, I can typically take the time to make a big breakfast, but probably 1/6 days I would have to fall back to the quick breakfast.
Fermented foods: These enhance the function of good bacteria while inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria. Sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yogurt, tempeh, and miso all contain good amounts of probiotics, which help to increase good bacteria. Researchers have studied kimchi widely, and study results suggest that it has anti-obesity effects. Similarly, studies have shown that kefir may help to promote weight loss in overweight women.
About: Bonnie’s been sharing her life — and family of 7 — with readers for years. But the reason she found her way onto our list is because of what she started Jan. 2 — a full-on commitment to cut out the junk food, soda and other unhealthy habits and lose weight. More than three months later, and she’s more than succeeded. Her daily struggle is the kind of thing anyone who’s stopped and started and stopped and then started again can attest to. But what really makes it special is that this time, she not stopping.
It can be harder to lose weight after menopause. In fact, many women gain an average of 5 pounds after menopause.5 Lower estrogen levels may play a role in weight gain after menopause. But weight gain may be caused by your metabolism slowing down as you age, less-healthful eating habits, and being less active. You also lose muscle mass as you age, so you use fewer calories.