There are many reasons the “listen to your body diet” won’t work for women who are dealing with hormonal imbalance. In this post we will cover why this fad won’t work and what happens to your body when it’s under constant stress aka chronic stress.
Make sure you read this post on common but NOT normal hormonal imbalance symptoms to see if you fall into this list (you probably do!).
What Is The Listen To Your Body Diet?
It’s pretty simple and is basically what it sounds like, eat what your body tells you it needs. This is a fantastic idea and would go over real smooth if we weren’t in such hormonal chaos, thyroid imbalance, fight or flight mode and total system uproar.
Our hormones are under attack from environmental and emotional stressors from every angle. This means you aren’t thinking exactly rationally at all times. Plus, when your body is under chronic stress, cellular communication becomes sluggish and can eventually even shut off.
Your Body Isn’t Even Communicating Properly
Stress activates distinct changes in neuronal structures in the brain. Simplified: stress alters our brain communication with the rest of our body. The brain will even inhibit certain neurons from firing. Do you understand why inhibited communication between your brain and your cells is a recipe for disaster if you’re operating from a “”listen to your body diet”?
Science and basic human biology tells us that the chronic stress many of experience is altering feedback loops in the body. This means your body doesn’t tell you:
- it’s starving anymore
- it needs protein
- it’s looking for nutrients not calories
- it is exhausted and needs FOOD not fasting
- it doesn’t want sweets, it wants nutrients
Fight or Flight Mode (Sympathetic)
When we stressed all the days of our lives that’s called chronic stress. When you are chronically stressed you are in sympathetic mode aka fight or flight mode. This is your run-from-the-predator-that’s-chasing-you mode. The will-there-be-enough-food mode. Your body loses its ability to cope with acute stressors like someone cutting you off in traffic or even being scared by your crazy little brother.
You may notice you are on edge, irritable, unable to cope, feeling wired or just like you’re always ready to attack. These are clear signs that your body is crazy stressed and it’s time to focus on getting back into parasympathetic mode aka rest and digest or chill mode.
Ways Chronic Stress Effects Cellular Communication
- damages mitochondria
- creates myelin-producing cells
- changes genetic material (DNA)
- activates neurohormonal systems (like the HPA axis)
When mitochondria are damaged, they can actually leak cell DNA into the rest of the cell. This DNA eventually enters the bloodstream where it acts as a hormone. If levels of this mitochondrial DNA are high enough, they can elevate blood sugar levels. This can create insulin sensitivity and type 2 diabetes . Did you know insulin sensitivity is at the base of PCOS? Whoa.
Too many myelin-producing cells = interference with electrical signals in the brain that affect communication. So, how are you supposed to “listen to your body”?
Activation of neurohormonal systems like the HPA axis means the release of stress peptides from the adrenal glands. This modifies metabolic processes in both the body and the brain. Read more about your metabolism here .
Do you see why operating from a “listen to your body diet” mentality won’t work? If your body is under hormonal sabotage, metabolic distress and total body upset you are operating from a broken foundation. The very blueprint that you’re trusting to guide you is changed and damaged.
If you’ve been on the train of under-eating and under-nourishing for a while, odds are, your stomach is actually getting smaller. It’s not a myth, intense dieters’ stomachs shrink between 26-37%. If overweight and need to get to a healthy weight – of course – this could be helpful for your health if done properly. But if you’re a women of child-bearing age that isn’t eating just for the sake of not eating, not good.
Somehow this has become a badge of honor for women. I was one of the “whoa, I haven’t even eaten breakfast today” kinda women and there was even some pride associated with it.
We should not be proud of ourselves for being able to skip meals, go hungry and constantly have our bodies thrown into stress by not eating. There’s nothing honorable about it. Truly, it’s quite irresponsible and that perfect setup for WRECKED hormones and metabolism.
Common Symptoms of Chronic Under Eating /Under Nourishment
- cold hands and feet
- poor skin
- slowed digestion
- digestive pains
- slowed heart rate
- reduction in essential hormones
- poor metabolism
These are all symptoms stemming from what I like to call cave-women brain. That fight or flight mode to help us deal with short-term famine our ancestors dealt with. HELLO EVERY WOMAN THAT EVER COMES TO WORK WITH ME! Most women are walking around with some or all of these symptoms. Why? Because of all the dang fad diets and fad foods saturating the internet.
Here’s a great testimony from Richelle Ludwig on her experience with under-eating!
Think about a time you’ve been “hangry”, were you exactly.. erhh.. rational? Yeah, didn’t think so. When I used to live on the hanger train I was in this constant state of stress, deprivation and the hunt for food! My body isn’t thinking about how to nourish my cells or how to create a safe womb for baby. No, it’s thinking about how the hell to get some calories because it’s starving.
By the way, hanger is a real thing! It’s not in your head.
Now, What Will You Do?
I’ve provided you with the information you need to make a decision on whether or not you will hop on board with this “listen to your body diet” or opt out. If – instead – you decide to nourish your body based on its biological and psychological needs, your hormones and metabolism will thank you deeply. This is what I cover in my course BARE NAKED HORMONES Course. Jump in, right here. I can’t for you to join the BNH family!