Working with a gorgeous woman and hearing her trying to fight her natural response to eat CAKE and love it, upsets me. Sometimes it feels like an uphill, self-abuse battle.
My mantra is
“Sweet heart eat cake and feel good about it.”
Denial is WAY MORE self-destructive than cake. I eat cake. I love cake. I have written lots of times about this, I earn cake because I eat properly (not a diet) and I exercise so the cake is fine. The cake I choose is always homemade, I rarely eat the processed SH1T from the supermarket. I know from experience that eating it would make me feel awful and I know from research that it would mess up my hormones because of the crap that is included in that processed cake.
I do indulge and I adore a homemade cake with real butter and eggs – bring it on! I am going to ignore the sugar cos I love the cake and I am making the point about self love.
I even eat cake and chocolate when I know that I am going to have a headache from the sugar rush. I know I am going to suffer and I still eat it. That is slightly more bizarre knowing it is going to make me feel unwell and yet I still continue.
The truth is every woman in the world self-medicates with chocolate, cake or crisps. Gorgeous girls are simply working towards not doing ALL of them at once! In addition to allowing your natural urges with a background of great nutrition, exercise and self love. Dieting, fasting, going hungry has an association with ‘pain’ You have learned that to lose weight is painful and so when it isn’t you are at odds with that thinking.
In the immortal words of Aunt Sally & Worzel Gummidge .. you can’ t beat:
“A nice slice of cake and a cup of tea” It is a national pastime!
I think I may have laboured this point so I shall move on…
“The opposite of eating cake is hunger and denial which in turn leads to obsession and hunger.”
Denial has two significant effects on women. Firstly the psychological (your brain) effect and secondly the physiological (your body) effect.
The psychological effect of not eating
Psychological not eating something because you are not allowed is going to trigger a lot of emotions. If you have suffered from lack of confidence or previous issues around food, more denial is going to compound and deepen these feelings and issues. I talk about the psychological effects a lot on other blogs where your inner teenager eventually breaks through and shouts “Oh sod it” and you eat the cake, the biscuits, and the contents of the fridge anyway. Then the horrible cycle of guilt, shame and lack of self-worth follows. It is one of the reasons why diets don’t work. You cannot sustain denial. Your willpower needs to recharge and reset daily. Start your good intentions like completing your exercise OUTSIDE in the morning – when your motivation is high and it will aid your sleep.
Explaining the physiological effect, to your inner teenager might result in her agreeing with you and come on board.
The physiological effect of not eating
What happens inside the female body when you go hungry?
The nutritional trend is claiming great transformational change from fasting or similar adaptations like the 5:2 diet.
I am always slightly nervous when a claim is made that it will transform your life with this marvellous break through (again I will ignore the point that I also make the same claim with Get Gorgeous principles 😉 Mainly because I ask you to take your time and create lifelong habits that then create transformation.
I have to be honest I don’t read the actual research papers because they are written in such a way to exclude non-scientists like me. However I do pour over what other nutritionists, who I respect, say about the research.
In simple terms as I understand it….
Starvation affects your endocrine system. Your endocrine system is your hormones. As standard your hormones are all over the place when you are peri-menopausal, premenstrual or just sat in traffic too long!
Starvation, or even going without food, will contribute to more hormone imbalance at a very delicate time in your life.
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As a woman, your body is not happy about being hungry. You are made to have babies, whether you want them or not, and your body needs a fat storage to facilitate this. A women’s body is genetically put together to reserve fat stores – all over your beautiful body. It is attractive, you might not like your big bum or hips but ask your partner and lover. They do! Your body keeps these body fat stores to keep your shape and make you fertile.
When you are hungry your body is concerned that it is going to stop being fertile. So a female body will produce MORE of the hunger hormone – Ghrelin. When you starve yourself, your body will do its best to send you the message to eat more. Your body is simply looking after you and your future. You are more likely to feel hungry than hubby or any other random chap cos you are genetically made that way.
The answer is to enjoy food that will ‘trick’ your hunger hormone into that feeling of being satiated. How do you do that? Eat more fat, more protein and less sugar, carbs after exercise.
Fasting or dieting doesn’t work for women!
The research into fasting* was predominately based on men. Very few women were included in the studies and no peri-menopausal women were included in the studies. Presumably, it was considered too problematic or even dangerous. What does that tell you?
Discussion amongst nutritionists about fasting also centers around the metabolic response in women – which isn’t as robust as men’s. You are more delicately and intricately put together.
Fasting in female rats showed that their stress response went up – and as a peri-menopausal woman you sure don’t want that.
When fasting the female rat brain chemistry was affected and their behaviour changed in response to feeling ‘starving’. The female rat was on high response trying to find solutions to those feelings of hunger, her activity was increased and adrenal levels were increased.
In addition, the researchers noted that female rats endocrine system became more masculinized ie. they produced more male hormone than female. More hairs in place you don’t want them!
Intermittent fasting can cause sleeplessness, anxiety as well as hormone disruption in women.
Menopausal weight gain – is abdominal
As you move through the fertility stage of your life and into the menopause your hormones shift and your body weight shifts away from female fat storage sites like hips, bum, and boobs to your tummy.
As your female hormones of estrogen and progesterone reduce and become out of balance your body weight shifts to different areas.
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Balancing your hormones, especially in menopause is a necessary part of helping your menopause symptoms including losing belly weight.
Abdominal fat is the type of fat that is a significant warning sign of health issue and disease. It does happen naturally at the menopause however you can adapt your diet to reduce the impact.
Stress is a big contributor to your Menopause symptoms and I shall discuss that next week in my blog 🙂
Please add common sense to what I am saying I am not giving you carte blanche to say “oh sod it I am menopausal I can eat as much cake as I want – it is all going Pete Tong anyway” NAH that is not my objective. I am asking you to respect the process. I simply don’t want you to go hungry nor do I want you to deny yourself food pleasure, especially if you have made a good food choice that is natural, homemade and you have just had a 10 mile run!!!!!!
Feeling good about yourself and feeling fulfilled comes from learning about yourself and what you can do to make changes. Happy changes. Interested? Book a call with me to find out more
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* RESEARCH to follow up this discussion click here to read Paleo for women – shattering the myth of fasting