Estrogen Isn’t the Enemy! Weight & Appetite
Estrogen Says ‘Eat Me!’
Every tissue in the body adores and wants some estrogen. Estrogen protects us from disease. It nourishes our brain and keeps our bones strong. And damn girl, estrogen is what makes women curvy! We build muscle in our legs and butts more readily than men because of this wonderful hormone. During a regular menstrual cycle estrogen will spike around ovulation giving us extra energy while suppressing our appetite. Estrogen doesn’t cause abdominal weight gain.
People get down on estrogen but it’s not estrogen’s fault! Environmental toxins and pharmaceuticals like birth control contain ‘bad’ estrogens which can accumulate in the body. These can be recirculated or metabolized down pathways that lead to problems. There is a trend to ‘detox estrogen’ as a way to lose weight. Please don’t fall for this! We need estrogen. We love estrogen. Estrogen is sexy. Treating your hormones without proper testing and guidance is not recommended. It can create more problems.
Progesterone Just Says ‘Eat!’
Seems like progesterone gets all the love. It’s true, progesterone is pretty awesome too. We need all of our hormones to work together. Progesterone spikes before your period. This is why you may feel extra hungry. It’s a good time to nourish yourself with iron rich foods so I don’t mind this cue. It makes sense. Progesterone doesn’t get a bad reputation the way estrogen does. Why is this? Is it because of how estrogen dominance and insulin resistance in men causes a certain type of weight gain? Well, women are quite different than men.
Progesterone can dip due to high stress. When this happens it can contribute to estrogen dominance in women. Estrogen might not even be high but the ratio is what matters. We have come to equate estrogen dominance with weight gain but it’s not that simple. The kind of weight that is concerning for women’s health has a specific pattern. It looks like higher testosterone paired with insulin resistance and an aggressive androgen metabolism.
Estrogen: the Move & Seek Hormone
Around ovulation women tend to have more energy. It’s a great time to test your limits in the gym or attend a social event. This phase has been coined ‘move and seek’ by researcher Martie Haselton. As estrogen is hitting its peak we tend to want to move our bodies more and seek more contact. This fertile window creates a surge of inspiration for moving and mating. Makes sense, doesn’t it?