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Sometimes we set the right intentions, but in practice our actions aren’t helping us to achieve our goals and we are totally unaware.

Whether your goal is to support weight loss, regulate your menstrual cycle (if a menstruating woman), improve energy, regulate healthy appetite or stress levels, there are some very common nutrition practices that I see in clinic, which have a negative effect on the hormones regulating these areas of health.

Read on to find out which!

Overuse of microwaved foods in plastic
Microwaving in plastic is very convenient. However, when we microwave foods in plastic such as rice, we end up consuming micro-plastics which carry an array of harmful chemicals, contaminates and can have carcinogenic properties. Additionally, these foods have xenoestrogens which are a type of xenohormone that imitates oestrogen and have a negative effect on oestrogen, especially those who are oestrogen dominant.

If you still want the convenience, start with taking the food out of plastic before heating it up and instead heat it up in glass or on the stove in stainless steel.

Having coffee on an empty stomach upon waking
Starting your day with coffee on an empty stomach can spike cortisol (stress hormone) leading to a big crash mid-morning. This is taxing on the adrenal glands and will impact blood sugar and insulin. Not the ideal recipe for weight loss, energy or hoping to reduce the impact of stress on the body.

Low carb dinner and fasted HITT workout in the morning
If you consume a low carb dinner and then undertake a fasted HITT workout upon rising, this can be a huge stress on the body as it does not have the necessary fuel to undertake this workout. Over time this can impact weight loss, menstruation and also recovery. If you rather eat low carb at night, at least have a small piece of fruit or a few dates pre workout to give your body some necessary fuel.

Going too low on carbs
When we drop carbs too low, we can impact thyroid hormone production and it can cause our body to enter a state of “hibernation.” This will blunt metabolic function leading to potential weight gain, fatigue, constipation and dry skin. This can also impact menstruation and in more extreme causes even lead to amenorrhea.  Women are particularly sensitive and need to consume adequate carbs. This doesn’t mean a high-carb diet (unless doing a high level of training) but at least a serve with most meals, especially if exercising.

Grazing all day long and spiking insulin
In the past there was a lot of talk that eating every few hours helps to fire the metabolism. However, each time we eat, this spikes insulin and if you have insulin resistance or aren’t really using the fuel then this can encourage your body to store the fuel as fat. If you have any signs of insulin resistance including an inability to lose weight or weight gain around waist and you are currently eating in a grazing pattern, flip to just 3 square meals per day and skip the snacking to see if this makes a difference.

Cutting the fat
Hormones are made from fat so for hormonal health, it’s so important to consume adequate healthy fats. Many people still fear fats but the right kinds of fats are so important. Limit on trans fats and saturated fats found in deep fried foods, processed foods and animal products and enjoy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats from foods such as fatty fish, chia seeds, hemp seed, flaxseeds, avocado and extra virgin olive oil.