About six or so years ago a friend recommended a naturopath to me, who happened to be in my local area. I was a little cynical, as I had seen naturopaths before but was never really sure that they worked. Leanne Stockwell was, and continues to be, different. Leanne is very skilled and experienced and she always LISTENS. You feel she is going to work with you to get to the bottom of whatever the problem is. To this day I am confident that the course of action she recommends is right for me.
I make my appointments with Leanne randomly, for a variety of reasons. I went to her for overall health support during both of my pregnancies. She’s been a long standing supporter during with my ongoing weight loss and health journey. I’ll see her if I’ve had lots of colds or am feeling run down. I rang her just last Thursday for an ’emergency’ phone consult and she gave me some really helpful advice. On top of all that, Leanne is really genuine, lovely person and I am stoked that she agreed to share 10 things she knows about hormone imbalance and weight loss. Take it away Leanne!
1. Trust your instincts
If you feel that something is going wrong in your body, it’s very likely that it is.
If you feel out of balance, then you probably are, even if you’re not sure why or how. It’s very easy for the medical profession, friends, family and anyone that you might seek help from, to fob you off just because they’re not sure what’s going on either. Your instincts are there for a reason. You know your body better than anyone else. Investigate as much as you can, even if you have to leave the field of modern medicine and find answers elsewhere. I’ve found that elsewhere is often where they trust your instincts. Don’t give up until you get answers, and you have a plan of attack that sits well with you and feels right.
2. You can’t always do it alone
A few years back I was exhausted, frustrated, hormonal and feeling totally out of whack. Regardless of my knowledge in the field of hormone imbalance and health, I needed support. I found it very hard to be objective about what was going on for me. And the thought of following a plan to get myself feeling well again was all a bit too much. I found a colleague, a fabulous naturopath who I trusted, and she helped me get back on track. I learned that you can only fix yourself to a certain extent. I had to hand my issues over to someone else and let her help me, so that I could help myself.
Sometimes to become more empowered, you have to surrender.
3. Hormone imbalance (like weight gain) is insidious
It creeps up on us, and we tend to be vaguely aware of it, but not enough to really see it for what it is, until we feel so bad that we can’t continue as we are, or someone says something that we can no longer ignore. From mood swings to low energy, impatience, low sex drive, to heavy, clotty periods or the beginnings of hot flushes, not to mention sleep problems and weight gain…there can be lots of small changes that we so often make excuses for in our own heads until all of a sudden, we’ve become a different person, someone we’re really not happy with anymore.
IT IS FIXABLE. You don’t have to feel like crap and just put up with it. It IS possible to turn it around and get your old self back.
4. Weight gain is usually a direct result of hormone imbalance
So many of my patients struggle with weight gain, and so many of them find it really hard to shift it, regardless of what they do and how perfectly they eat and exercise. What I’ve found over the past decade is that 9 times out of 10, weight gain that is difficult to shift is the result of hormone imbalance. We have an amazing orchestra of hormones in our bodies which govern our metabolism and our ability to burn fat. Even if one of these hormones (and there are 7 major ones) is out of balance, this will have a major impact on our ability to lose weight. I see ladies who have tried pretty much everything, from Paleo to Keto to High Fat to Low Carb to Raw food to replacement meals etc etc. They’ve done it all, to no avail, not to mention exercising like a crazy person!!
The bottom line is that if your hormones are out of balance, losing weight will be close to impossible.
5. Blood tests are not a great way to determine the majority of hormone imbalances
I have a couple of tried and tested methods that I use to get a picture of what’s happening for the ladies that I see. Salivary Hormone testing is a very accurate way to find out what’s happening with some of the major players in the “hormone orchestra”. I also get my ladies to complete a comprehensive hormone questionnaire which shows us very specifically where the problem areas are and what we need to work on first. If you’ve had some basic tests done and nothing has shown up, you very possibly need to look at further testing, which is often outside the standard medical realm.
6. It takes time to get well and feel good again
By the time some of my ladies get to me they’re feeling really out of balance, not to mention out of patience as well. They want to feel better, lose weight and “be better” NOW. I get that!! It’s not a“one-visit” fix though. It’s a journey and it’s well worth the trip. It really does take time to get the body functioning well again. And giving it the time it needs means that the positive changes are LASTING changes. It takes a commitment from both of us to see it through to the end.
Once you know you have the right help, commit and then surrender to the journey. Be kind to yourself and give it time.
7. Stress is a major player in hormone imbalance and weight gain
You’re probably thinking “here we go again!” Yep, stress is a bugger of a thing, and for many years I tried to ignore that stress had any effect on my system. But as I’d done everything else (dietary changes, great herbs and supplements) and I was still out of whack, it was really the only thing left. I had to find ways, everyday, to work on “de-stressing” and viewing the world a little differently. This is something I have to consciously work at on a daily basis, as it’s just not “inbuilt” for me. My favourite things that I use to deal with stress now are walking, yoga and guided meditations.
Find things that you like to do that you know will change your state (to happy and calm) and do at least one of them every day.
8. Emotional eating is often not addressed but it is a major issue for many of us
This is so often ignored in many diets and weight loss programs, and it’s also one of the biggest reasons why we put on weight again once we’ve lost it. Emotional eating is your body’s way of trying to change its “state” for example: from angry to happy or from overwhelmed to calm. There are other ways for us to achieve this “change of state”. We just have to explore what works for us personally. Having some Hypnotherapy, Counselling or even Neuro Emotional Technique to clear past traumas or “blocks” is also a great idea.
If you know that you’re an emotional eater, make a commitment to tackle it now, and everything else becomes easier.
9. Everyone is different
One size does not fit all. Have you ever tried something that someone has recommended to you because they had such amazing results with it? And have you been disappointed? What works really well for one person may be next to useless for another. We have to find the right path for each person. The right herbs, the right supplements, the right foods, the right eating plan, the right emotional clearing treatments and the right relaxation techniques. Everyone has a unique biochemical makeup, and we just need to find the right “mix”.
Stay focused on you and what your body likes and search for what feels right and what works best for you. It’s often trial and error, but it gets easier with practise.
10. You can’t leave anything out…it’s about the “whole”
I have often had the situation where a patient will say something like “I just want to work on this bit…I don’t have the time to change my eating habits or to do yoga or relaxation exercises…just give me whatever pills I need and we’ll see if it works.” Sure, we’ll probably get some change, but not lasting change, and certainly no mindset change or self empowerment. It simply doesn’t work, and I have learnt the hard way, with these people coming back disappointed or not coming back at all. A major lesson for me over the past couple of years is that I, as a practitioner, don’t “make” people better. I simply give them the right tools so that they can become better themselves. If you want to feel amazing again, commit to making ALL of you better, not just bits of you. You are what you eat, what you feel, what you do, what you see, and how you choose to feel about all of it.
Leanne Stockwell has been a Naturopath, Herbalist and Kinesiologist for the past 12 years. It is her absolute passion to help women rebalance their bodies and their hormones so that they can feel happy, full of energy, calm and peaceful again, with the courage to take on the world !! She helps them to be free of anxiety, overwhelm, impatience, low sex drive, exhaustion and mood swings. A wonderful side effect of Leanne’s programs is a faster metabolism and natural weight loss. She also empowers her wonderful patients to break free of bad habits, negative thinking and the daily cycle of stress. She is based in Brisbane and does Skype consults for her long distance ladies. You can find her at www.abetteryounaturally.com.au