Estrogen and Weight Loss Resistance

You may have heard that estrogen dominance makes it difficult to lose weight.  Well let’s start with an explanation of what it is.  It’s a hormone which simply means that it is a chemical messenger created by the body to help different parts of the body communicate with one another.

Estrogen is the hormone that gives you your feminine curves, helps control the menstrual cycle and is important in child bearing.  It also keeps cholesterol in check, protects bone health and has an effect on your mood.

The estrogen and progesterone partnership

Estrogen and another feminine hormone, progesterone, do a dance our entire adult lives and need to be in balance for us to feel well. They keep each other in check.

Sometimes estrogen becomes the more assertive dance partner resulting in estrogen dominance.  As women age there is a natural decline in progesterone which is particularly true after menopause.  This leaves a relative excess of estrogen. Even if you have low levels of estrogen you can have estrogen dominance when progesterone levels are low.

The reason why estrogen dominance can result in a weight loss resistance is because estrogen has an anti-thyroid effect.  It causes the thyroid to be less receptive.  The thyroid is like the engine of the body affecting every cell and determining your calorie needs

Signs and symptoms

Symptoms of estrogen dominance include bloating and puffiness, history of abnormal pap smears, endometriosis and fibroids, mood swings, breast tenderness or ovarian cysts.  In both sexes, estrogen dominance is thought to be responsible for many types of cancers. This particular hormone imbalance could be one of the leading causes of breast, uterine, and prostate cancer.

8 tips to help you correct estrogen dominance

  1. Take good care of your liver—Since the liver breaks down estrogen, anything that interferes with it like alcohol, drugs, caffeine or toxins will decrease its ability to help the body get rid of estrogen.
  2. Reduce consumption of conventional dairy and meat—As you may know, conventionally raised farm animals are managed using large amounts of hormones and antibiotics. Consuming organic and grass fed meat will help to keep your estrogen burden lower.
  3. Improve your ratio of healthy to unhealthy bacteria—Improving your digestion will help you do a better job eliminating estrogen.
  4. Increase fiber—Fiber helps to improve digestion and is very helpful because it helps to pull estrogen out of the body. Great sources of fiber include fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts and seeds (chia are my favorite) and whole grains.
  5. Eat more cruciferous veggies–Vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, kale and other leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, arugula, turnip, radishes, kohlrabi, watercress, and bok choy shift estrogen metabolism in a positive direction.  A handful of greens in your breakfast smoothie is a great habit.  And while you are at it, throw in some chia seeds, too.
  6. Lose weight if you need to. Fat cells produce estrogen which increases your estrogen burden.
  7. Avoid xenoestrogens such as pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, plastics, fuels, car exhausts, dry cleaning chemicals, industrial waste, and personal care products that contain pthalates. Xeno stands for “strange” or “alien”.  This “strange estrogen” can have estrogen-like effects which are very disruptive to normal function.  Check out Environmental Working Group at for more information
  8. Get consistent moderate exercise.

If you are a midlife woman struggling with weight, mood and energy check out Balance Your Hormones to Increase Energy and Burn Fat.  Food is a simple way to regain your vitality and get your sexy back!