Q & A: How do you eat whatever you want, while dealing with hormone imbalances and insulin resistance?

I get quite a few questions like the following, and I want to take the time to answer it on my blog!

Q: I was just diagnosed with polycystic ovaries, so my hormones are very imbalanced as well. Also, my insulin receptors on my red blood cells are bad, so I’m in a pre-diabetic state–which means that I can have very little carbs or sugar. This is disappointing to me, because I was just beginning to heal my relationship with food, especially sugar and carbs, and now I’m afraid ill to back to being afraid of them because they could potentially ruin my health….

Anyway, my question is, how did you deal with your hormone imbalance and insulin resistance? Do you think it could be the Result of restricting food intake for an extended period of time?Did your hormones ever level out and/or insulin levels go back to normal? And if so how? Thank you so much for taking the time to read this!

Answer

Have you been restricting food or carbs?

I absolutely, 100% had problems with sugar/insulin resistance in my past, and now I do not. It left me feeling horrible and shaky and tired, among other things. I am convinced this is why: genetic predisposition + STRESS/CORTISOL and lifelong restriction/binge eating. I then think it was numerous extreme low-carb diets, and ongoing disordered eating that kept my body in a state of “WTF!?”.

My hormones, relatedly, were WACKED. Notably, low progesterone. Which, while I think there are some genetic and environmental factors at play, the straw that broke the camel’s back was STRESS/CORTISOL and compounded by restriction/low-carb diets and the backlash: binge eating.

What does this mean? This means that yes, I am certain that our body’s ability to metabolize sugar greatly decreases the less of it we eat. And that sugar is helpful metabolically. I think that the most important thing in slowly healing this, is trusting that you are NOT actually diabetic, you CAN handle sugar, and to start to experiment with eating what you want and letting go of those food fears. There will be both a learning curve for you and for your body.

I did a few things at the same time last spring of 2012, I stopped restricting sugar/everything, AND I started taking natural progesterone because I am extremely low. When they did my blood panel after a few months of eating sugar liberally, my sugar was extremely normal. After they did a blood panel of my hormones after a few months on progesterone, my testosterone was lower (more normal), even though I was continuing to eat liberally.

This goes to show that eating more sugar does no equal insulin resistance/imbalanced hormones!

Also lastly for hormones, stress reduction is very important! But guess what one huge stressor tends to be in our lives? Thinking we are supposed to be on some ultra important life-saving, beauty restoring diet! And, that any deviation from it is utter failing.

Another big part of stress reduction is a good dose of spirituality and trusting and accepting of what this weird little crazy little amazing life has to offer. And trusting that food is not your biggest enemy, no matter what they say.

I am not personally 100% healed of hormonal problems (YET). But my health is without a doubt better since trusting that food and sugar were not my enemies.

It is a journey, though! These shifts and changes do not happen overnight!

 

Please take note that I am not a doctor, so with any medical advice, please use your own personal intuition about your body first, as well as consulting a (holistic) doctor as well.

2 comments

  1. Kristi says:

    May I ask what progesterone supplement you took? How did you know you needed it? I’m wondering whether or not I do. I haven’t had any blood work done, and don’t really want to go that route. I’ve been eating per 180DegreeHealth recommendations for a couple of months now. I can keep my body temp up from ovulation to mestruation, but it caves and is hard to get up from menstruation to ovulation. Wondering if the reason for that is low progesterone and/or estrogen dominance. Hmmm…

  2. Jules says:

    Thanks for answering my question! This encourages me greatly, and I’m hoping that the blood tests were just a one time thing. I do have a history of restrictive eating and overexercising, and I did cut out carbs for a while, and when i started eating again i started eating A LOT. I’m thinking that how much i was eating after not eating for so long has something to do with my wacked out hormones and insulin levels.

    My appetite has leveled out now, so that I’m eating what i want when i want it, and i’m not denying myself food when i’m hungry and I don’t binge or overstuff myself since i don’t feel denied of anything. I hope that after eating like this for a few months and i go to get my blood tests redone, that my insulin and hormone levels will be back to normal, and my thyroid levels too. If they’re the same or worse, then i might have to take that as an indicator that i am pre-diabetic and start working harder to stop eating carbs though :/

    What worries me is this–So if my hypothyroidism, hormone imbalances, and insulin resistance is the result of a history of restrictive eating, and will heal in time with unrestrictive eating, will the medicine i’m on for those problems mess with my body’s chemistry?

    I have one more question–how many months of unrestricted eating did it take for your hormone levels to balance out? Thanks!

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