So, Christmas is officially over, and so are both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. You’ve slept off any hangover you may have had, relaxed, and now you’re ready to face the new year ahead of you and all of the challenges and opportunities it will bring. Unfortunately, due to the amount of food and drink consumed during the holiday season, chances are you may have gained a bit of weight during the holidays, so ‘Weigh-In Day’ is a great time to set your first new year goal: start eating better and exercising more regularly so you can not only shed that weight but improve your overall health.
After all, what could be more important than your health? Sometimes it takes more than mere cleaning up of your diet to balance your hormones — and that means detox. While the length of which a woman should do the detox varies based on her symptoms and history, 21 days twice a year, is a good guideline.
You know you need a hormone detox if you’re experiencing any or many of the following:
- Painful, heavy, or irregular periods
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Mood swings, irritability, depression, and/or anxiety
- Bloating, weight gain, or breast tenderness
- Low libido
- Vaginal dryness or atrophy
- Sluggishness, fatigue, or exhaustion
- Infertility or miscarriage
- Ovarian cysts, fibroids, endometriosis
- Acne breakouts, eczema, or psoriasis
- Hair loss or excess body hair
- Stiff, achy joints or muscles
Besides all the annoying symptoms above, it’s important to do a detox to cleanse your liver. When you eat a diet high in processed foods, live a sedentary lifestyle, or have chronic stress, your liver gets overloaded. Give it a break twice a year to maintain hormonal balance and vibrant health.
How to Do It
The following is a short list of foods known for cleansing the liver and hormones. Enjoy lots of these foods every day for a few weeks to cleanse that liver:
- Green tea
- Garlic and onions
- Cruciferous vegetables: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts
- Lemon and lime
- Olive oil
Try drinking a glass of warm lemon water each morning before breakfast. End each day with a shot of half a teaspoon of turmeric powder with one-eighth of a teaspoon of black pepper mixed into 2 ounces of water.
Both of these powerful drinks will set you up for awesome digestive habits.
As important as including the above foods are, it’s also important to exclude certain foods that are high-allergen.
Be sure to read labels carefully! When doing a hormone detox, you should avoid:
- Dairy products
- Wheat and gluten-containing products
- Sugar of all types
- Refined vegetable oils such as cottonseed, canola, corn, peanut, sunflower, safflower, and others
It’s important to exercise, sweat, and get your lymphatic system moving to ensure your liver and hormones are working properly. This also helps to reduce inflammation from toxicity and unwanted weight gain.
Aim for three to four times per week of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and some juicy yoga to get things flowing.
Excess hormones (like estrogen) can be stored in your fat if there’s too much on your body — specifically in the belly, hip, butt, and thigh areas.
RELATED: 7 tips to become a Morning Exerciser
Just as foods help clean out your cells, radical self-care practice helps to clean out your mind and spirit. When your brain is peaceful and not inflamed, your master hormone gland, the pituitary, can signal your reproductive organs properly to balance and detoxify excess hormones.
Taking a few minutes in the morning or evening to close your eyes, ground yourself, and do some deep breathing exercises can reduce stress hormones in the bloodstream.
When stress hormones are reduced, your body is able to focus more energy on sex hormones, getting rid of that nasty PMS!
If you tend to hold on to emotions, journaling is for you. Simply writing down the to-dos for the next day will help your sleep, regulate your hormones, and reduce your stress.
Lessening your rambling thoughts promotes relaxation and feelings of balance. Keep a notebook by your bedside to write what’s on your mind before you go to sleep at night.
If you haven’t made a vision board before, I highly encourage you to try. Close your eyes and think deeply about what you want to achieve with your health and hormones. What will your life look like and feel like when you’ve reached your vision? Use magazine and printed pictures to fill a board with inspiration.
Getting clear on your goals reduces overwhelm and stress — both of which are hormone heretics!