Call me cliché, but I love the start of a new year. With it, comes a beautiful, blank canvas. Best of all, it’s yours to paint. Particularly when it comes to wellness, January beckons a revamp. It’s an opportunity to up-level your current routine—or simply get back to the basics. Do you want to be more consistent with your supplements? Hone in hormone balance? Focus on eating more fiber? The sky’s the limit. That said, studies show that a whopping 91% of us won’t actually follow through with our intentions. This isn’t a total surprise. This upcoming year—and beyond—I want to empower you to approach your hormones with intention. Without further ado, learn how to balance your hormones in 2023.
What are hormones?
Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers. They regulate processes like growth and development, sex drive, reproduction, metabolism, fertility, thirst, and more. Simply put, they let the body know what to do (and when to do it), so it will run smoothly. When all is in homeostasis, your body functions properly. In turn, you operate at your maximum! However, when your hormones are unbalanced, things can go awry. Think: unwanted weight gain, an irregular period, PCOS, low libido, digestive woes, poor sleep, PMS, and more. While the endocrine system is complex, there are simple things you can do to support your hormones.
Why is it important to balance your hormones?
When your hormones are in balance, it’s much easier to sleep well, maintain your body composition, manage stress, keep blood sugar stable, and more. It’s also easier to plan for (or naturally prevent) a pregnancy. Not only that, but your overall well-being can improve drastically when your hormones are operating in harmony. That said, can you overcome hormonal imbalance? In most cases, yes! You can learn about how I keep my PCOS symptoms at bay, here. Keep in mind that balancing hormones may require a significant commitment to diet, lifestyle, and supplement changes. Chat with your healthcare provider before making adjustments to your diet or supplement routine.
What is a hormonal imbalance?
A hormonal imbalance happens when you have too much—or too little—of one or more hormones. It’s a broad term that can essentially represent many different hormone-related conditions. Given that hormones are powerful signals, having even slightly too much or too little of them can cause major changes to your body and lead to certain conditions (like PCOS or estrogen dominance). Some hormonal imbalances can be temporary while others are long-term. In addition, some hormonal imbalances require treatment while others may not impact your health but can negatively affect your quality of life. Regardless of your hormone imbalance, learning how to balance your hormones in 2023 is beneficial across the board.
How to balance your hormones in 2023
Below are five ways to support your hormone health in 2023. Keep in mind that these are general tips, and you’ll want to work with your healthcare provider (ideally, a functional medicine doctor) to create a more personalized plan.
1. get your thyroid tested
Before making changes to your diet, lifestyle, and supplements, consider a comprehensive thyroid testing panel. There are 10 markers that can indicate thyroid dysfunction, but these are the top five:
TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone): This sets the baseline understanding of what’s going on with your thyroid gland.
T4 (thyroxine): This hormone is responsible for regulating your metabolism, mood, and body temperature. It drives cellular growth within the body, so it’s important to pay attention to. A T4 test measures the amount of the hormone in your blood, to help determine if your thyroid is over or under-producing it.
Free T4: A variation of the T4 test, but completed for increased accuracy of results (and consequently, diagnosis).
T3 (triiodothyronine): A test commonly used to diagnose hyperthyroidism specifically, measures how effectively hormones are able to move throughout the body.
Free T3: Similar to the T4 test, completed for increased accuracy of results.
Ultimately, these tests are essential to understanding the full picture of what is causing dysfunction within your thyroid. A functional medical practitioner will work with you to understand your current lifestyle and dietary habits, alongside your medical history. Once you understand the health of your thyroid, you can better target your overall hormone health.
2. Eat Nutrient-dense foods
As women, most of us aren’t eating enough. Unfortunately, we’ve been jaded by weight loss articles, misinformed by social media influencers, and taught restrictive habits from family members. Over time, this causes irregular (or completely absent) periods, fertility issues, and other hormonal woes. Are you eating enough? Take a look at these signs you may be under-fueling. Nourishing your body with enough food in 2023—and the right kinds of ingredients—is key for hormone health. Of course, this includes keeping blood sugar balanced, too.
3. Remove Toxins
Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to avoid toxins. They’re in everything. These endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) mimic, block, or interfere with our hormones. Once they’re in our bodies, they can disrupt our endocrine system. Luckily, it’s possible to limit endocrine disruptors! Make it a 2023 goal. Where to begin? Your household cleaning products. Determine if they’re worth keeping or need to be swapped to something cleaner. The Environmental Working Group has a fantastic database to check your products!
Although stress is inevitable, let’s make 2023 the year we minimize prolonged periods of stress. After all, stress impacts our hormones. In fact, research shows that chronic (prolonged) stress can cause cortisol and adrenaline to remain elevated, causing a cascade of consequences. To combat stress, I recommend guided meditations or sound baths, and there are plenty of these on Youtube and Spotify.
5. Support Your Liver
Liver health may not be top of mind, but we need an optimal liver to support our hormones. After all, a sluggish liver isn’t able to properly remove estrogen. You can support your liver a couple of ways. Along with minimizing alcohol, focus on keeping blood sugar balanced. Consuming too much glucose can disrupt the liver’s ability to naturally regulate blood sugar levels. When in doubt, pair complex carbs (sweet potatoes, bananas, apples, rice, etc.) with protein (hard boiled eggs, cottage cheese, deli turkey, tempeh, etc.) and / or fat (seeds, avocado, olives, full-fat cheese, etc.). Fiber is also crucial for liver health!
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and we recommend that you always consult with your healthcare provider.