Are Your Hormones Out of Whack?

This is a good article by Dr. Oz….

 

By Dr. Mehmet Oz

470_2661688I think of the body’s hormones as musical instruments in an orchestra: Each plays its own part in creating a perfect concert–until the day one is out of tune and throws off the entire melody.

Although it was many years ago, I still remember one of the first patients I saw with a hormonal disturbance. She was a lovely woman in her early 40s who was a little heavy; despite having tried every diet under the sun, she couldn’t seem to shed the extra pounds. As we talked and she mentioned a few more of her concerns–dry skin, brittle hair, a lack of energy (even shortly after her morning coffee)–I realized I needed to test her thyroid levels. Sure enough, they were too low. With proper medication, my patient’s skin and energy improved, and she was no longer a prisoner to a simple chemical imbalance.

No one should have to live with an untreated hormone problem. Some require medical care, while others may be addressed with lifestyle adjustments, but almost all are treatable. Here is a guide to some of the most common signs of hormone imbalance–and what you can do to restore harmony.

Estrogen

The Clues
If you are overweight, you may have elevated estrogen levels; fat cells actually produce the hormone, so extra weight can lead to too much estrogen in the body. This can be a serious problem because excess estrogen can fuel breast and uterine cancers. During menopause, on the other hand, all women experience a natural drop in estrogen levels, along with side effects that range from hot flashes to headaches to joint pain.

What You Can Do
I know I sound like a broken record, but if you carry extra pounds, exercising and watching your diet are essential: Losing weight can improve your estrogen balance and simultaneously reduce your risk of cancer. (An overweight or obese postmenopausal woman who loses just 5 percent of her weight could potentially cut her risk of breast cancer by up to 50 percent.) I also suggest that women with too much estrogen avoid foods that are high in phytoestrogens (plant compounds that mimic the hormone), such as whole soy products.

For women going through menopause, there is some evidence that herbal supplements such as hops and black cohosh may help alleviate symptoms. But if the symptoms interfere with your daily life, talk to your doctor to see if hormone replacement therapy is right for you.


Testosterone

The Clues
In the years preceding menopause, a woman may suffer from decreased testosterone as her ovaries and adrenal glands slow the production of sex hormones. This may explain why many women experience a drop in libido during this period of their lives. Excess testosterone, however, may be the result of a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS); possible symptoms include irregular periods, male-pattern baldness, a deepening voice, and excess body hair.

What You Can Do
If you’re concerned about low libido, try incorporating more zinc-rich foods–like oysters and sesame seeds–into your diet (zinc appears to be linked to an increase in testosterone levels), and ask your doctor about testosterone supplementation. To treat PCOS, your doctor might recommend taking birth control pills containing synthetic hormones that reduce the production of testosterone. It’s also important to avoid refined sugars and other carbohydrates in your diet (insulin resistance is linked to a boost in testosterone production) and to eat more fiber (which counteracts blood sugar spikes and promotes the excretion of excess sugars from the body).

Melatonin

The Clues
Low levels of melatonin, the hormone responsible for maintaining the body’s circadian rhythm, are associated with poor sleep and depression. Our bodies may produce less melatonin as we age, which could explain why some older adults have more trouble sleeping than children do.

What You Can Do
If you struggle to get enough shut-eye, try taking .5 milligram of a melatonin supplement one to two hours before bedtime. I’d also suggest drinking melatonin-rich tart cherry juice: In a pilot 2010 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, subjects who drank two cups a day experienced some relief from insomnia.

Ghrelin and Leptin

The Clues
Stomach growling? Thank ghrelin. Produced in the stomach, ghrelin cues the brain that you’re hungry. After you eat, leptin swoops in to tell the brain you’re full. If these two hormones fall out of sync, you may lose the ability to recognize when your body is satiated and overeat as a result.

What You Can Do
Try your best to get a full night’s sleep: A Stanford University study found that habitual sleep restriction (five hours a night as opposed to eight) raised a person’s ghrelin levels by nearly 15 percent, lowered leptin levels by 15.5 percent, and was directly associated with increased body weight. Other research has shown that exercise and stress reduction may help keep ghrelin levels in check.

Thyroid Hormone

The Clues
Thyroid hormone regulates how fast you burn calories. One in ten women doesn’t produce enough of it–a condition known as hypothyroidism, which can lead to weight gain, depression, and fatigue. On the other end of the spectrum is hyperthyroidism, in which the thyroid gland releases too much of its hormone, causing symptoms such as anxiety, a racing heart, excessive sweating, even diarrhea.

What You Can Do
If you have hypothyroidism, a daily thyroid hormone replacement pill can help correct the imbalance. You might also want to consider eating more onion. This veggie contains kaempferol, a compound that may kick-start production of the hormone. If you have an overactive thyroid, your doctor may prescribe one of several treatments, from radioactive iodine–to slow hormone production–to surgical removal of the gland; most patients respond well once they get the proper care.

Aldosterone

The Clues
Aldosterone regulates your body’s sodium-to-water ratio. But a condition called renal artery stenosis–a narrowing of the blood vessels that supply the kidneys–can trigger the release of the hormone, causing a surge in blood pressure.

What you can do
A heart-friendly lifestyle that keeps your blood vessels healthy can also be a kidney-friendly lifestyle. Minimize salt intake, follow a low-fat diet, get some exercise, and don’t smoke.

Cortisol

The Clues
When you’re under pressure, your cortisol spikes to provide the body with a quick dose of energy. Chronic stress, however, can keep your cortisol elevated continuously–a dangerous state, since the hormone can suppress the immune system and has been linked to the accumulation of abdominal fat.

What You Can Do
When I’m stressed, I close my eyes and breathe deeply for two to three minutes with one hand on my chest and the other on my belly; my chest stays still while my abdomen rises and falls. As you calm down, your cortisol should drop to normal levels.

The Hormone Factory

A brief tour of your body’s finely tuned endocrine system

1. Pineal Gland
Named for its pinecone shape, the pineal gland is tucked between the two hemispheres of the brain. It’s still a bit of a mystery, though we know it produces the sleep hormone, melatonin.

2. Pituitary Gland
Known as the master gland, this pea-size organ releases hormones that stimulate the other glands to, in turn, release their hormones.

3. Thyroid Gland
Think of this gland as the thermostat for your metabolism: It can increase or decrease the rate of calorie burn by releasing more or less thyroid hormone.

4. Adrenal Glands
Perched atop your kidneys, these glands secrete hormones that control your “fight or flight” response to stress (cortisol and adrenaline) and your blood pressure (aldosterone), among others.

5. Ovaries
These organs produce more than eggs; they manufacture and release the most important hormones for female development: estrogen, progesterone, and–yes–testosterone.

Reno Personal Trainer’s Exercise Library- Patty Cakes

Reno Personal Trainer’s Exercise Library- Walkie Planks

Reno Personal Trainer’s Exercise Library- OTT Plyos

Winners of the 2nd PHAT Physiques Body Transformation Challenge

Ok… We just finished the 2nd PHat PHysiques Body Transformation Challenge. This one was an 8 week challenge and I have picked 3 Winners!

Although you all looked great and made great changes… I’ve only chosen 3 of you as the top winners in the second “PHat PHysiques Body Challenge”. I chose you 3 because you were the ones that lost the highest percentage of weight out of everyone!

For the actual placings of first, second, and third… I used the highest percentage of weight loss to determine 1st place… the next lowest percentage from there for 2nd place and next lowest percentage from there for 3rd place.

We had all ladies this time in the Finals… and you all should be VERY proud of yourselves for making it through to the end of this challenge.

Our First Place winner is Nicole Augustine! This was Nicole’s second challenge and she has made awesome changes in both! She had a starting weight of 114 lbs. and an ending weight of 102.2 lbs. making her percentage of weight loss 10.35% Her and Yvette were soooo close and both look great! Nicole also entered her second Competition and placed 5th in the Bikini Open and Placed 2nd in the Sports Model Divisions at the INBA Nevada State! Good job, Nicole!

Our Second Place winner is Yvette Dix! Yvette even started the challenge late and still made great changes! She made her changes in 5 weeks and had a starting weight of 117.6 lbs. and got down to 105.5 lbs. making her percentage of weight loss… 10.29% Yvette is 45 years old and also entered her first Bikini Diva Competition and won the Masters Division at the INBA Nevada State. Way to go Yvette!

Our Third Place winner is Dona Hafalla! Dona has done soooo good during this challenge and is right up there with Yvette and Nicole. She surpassed her original goal of losing 20 lbs. by .5 lbs! Dona had a starting weight of 240 lbs. and an ending weight of 219.5 lbs. making her percentage of weight loss 8.54% I’m so proud of Dona because she accomplished what she set out to do! She made her goals and stuck to her plan and went passed what she was wanting to do! VERY good job, Dona! Keep up the good work! You could be the one to beat in the next challenge if you keep it up!

CONGRATULATIONS to ALL of you Ladies and also to EVERYONE else that did the challenge and finished the 8 week Commitment to Yourself to become Healthier and more Fit!!!

The 3rd PHat PHysiques Challenge has started and it’s still not too late to turn your photos in!

Good Luck.

Thank you all and always remember to Believe in YOU!!!

Clifta

Reno Personal Fitness Trainer

Reno Bootcamp Instructor (2 locations)

Winners of the 1st PHAT Physiques Body Transformation Challenge

Thank you and CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF YOU who participated in the “1st PHAT Physiques Body Transformation Challenge”!!!!! I was very impressed with the changes that all of you made! Wow! Great job!

Just so you know… This has been a VERY HARD decision to make because you ALL have done a great job the past 16 weeks! I’ve gone over it and over it as to who should be the winner because the top 3 were VERY close! You all had one different thing that was equally a little better than the other. I even thought of a 3 way tie, but figured you would want to see 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 5th, huh? And I also figured… if you didn’t win this time… you have a chance to win the next challenge… and it will give you something to work and push for. 🙂

Out of the top 3… Each of you sent in all of your pictures, but I had one that didn’t join the challenge until half way through. So I thought, should I count off for that because this person didn’t go the full 16 weeks? But then this person and one other of the top 3 sent in goals and not only reached their goals, but made even new goals and went even farther than they thought they would! Then I had another person that had GREAT before and after photos, but the percentage of weight loss wasn’t quite as high as one of the others. Whew… what a decision!

So since the top 3 were that close… I decided to go with who had the highest percentage of weight loss.

The 4th and 5th place winners also made great changes as well and should be VERY PROUD of themselves. Part of the reason that they weren’t considered in the top 3 is that they didn’t send in all of their photos throughout the challenge, so although they made great changes… sending in photos during the challenge when they were due, counted as part of the judging.

Are you guys ready to see the Placings?????

The top winners in the first “PHat PHysiques Body Transformation Challenge” are….

1st Place… Nicole Augustine

Nicole is the one that didn’t come into the challenge until April, which was about half way through, but lost the highest percentage of weight in the shortest time! She reached her first set of goals and then had to change them and kept on going. She even enter her first Bikini Divas Contest before the challenge was over. She joined PHAT Camp in April and started with a weight of 121.2 lbs. and ended up at 107.8 lbs. That’s a 13.4 lb. loss, making her percentage of weight loss 11.06% ! Good job, Nicole!

2nd Place… David Duyvejonck

David started the challenge from the beginning and sent in all his photos and made great changes in each set of photos that he turned in! I was very impressed with the difference from his first set of photos to his last set! David looks awesome and has good shape and ALOT of GREAT, quality muscle! He had a starting weight of 207 lbs. and ended with a weight of 185 lbs. That’s a 22 lb. loss, making his overall percentage of weight loss… 10.63% ! Great job, David!

(No before pictures for David, but he had an awesome transformation!)

3rd Place… Emily Eckstein

Emily is so INSPIRING and has worked so hard since I’ve known her. I met her in November when she first joined PHAT Camp and has lost over 30 lbs. since then! She had just started running a month or two before then and could barely make it 2 miles without having to walk. Since then she’s done several races, even including a Half Marathon! Her motivation is so contagious… I’ve done a couple races because of her example. She’ll be getting ready for her second Half Marathon next month and is now thinking of doing a Triathlon maybe next year! For this challenge… Emily had a starting weight of 183.4 lbs. and ended with a weight of 167 lbs. That is a 16.4 lb. loss, making her total weight loss percentage… 8.94%! Good job, Emily!!!

4th Place… Rachel Sanchez

Rachel is another very inspiring person who is also a runner and very active. I can’t believe all that she does… She Runs, Weight trains, & does my PHAT Camp every week! Rachel is also getting ready to do a Half Marathon in about a week! Running is just sooo easy for her. She has worked hard to get the results that she’s gotten in her before and after and should be very proud of herself. And… she’s even thinking about doing the next Bikini Divas Contest in August with “Team PHAT”! Rahcel had a starting weight of 144 lbs. and ended at 135 lbs. That’s a 9 lb. loss, making her total weight loss percentage 6.25% ! Good job, Rachel!

5th Place… LeAnne Quinn

LeAnne is an amazing woman that I met on YouTube! She saw the challenge on my YouTube Channel and wanted to join in. She was getting ready for the Nevada State Bikini Divas Competition that was held on June 5th. I went to the show to cheer her on and she looked soooo good! I don’t know her stats as to what her weight loss was, but I know she worked really hard and made some great changes! LeAnne is the one I haven’t heard from yet about her ending weight and if it’s ok to post her before pics, so I’m just going to post one of her after pictures that I’m sure she’s proud of. Good job, LeAnne!

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I’d like to say… “CONGRATULATIONS to the rest of the Challengers! Thank You ALL for participating in the “1st PHAT Physiques Body Transformation Challenge”! You ALL did an Awesome job and should be PROUD for making a commitment to Yourselves, Sticking to it, and Changing your Physiques!

You all deserve a BIG… “Way to Go”!!!”

Clifta Coulter Perez of… PHAT Physiques

Reno Personal Fitness Trainer

Reno Bootcamp Instructor

775-996-7183

Reno Personal Trainer Shapes Up- Clifta’s “Before” Pics & “5 Weeks Out” Pics

Reno Personal Fitness Trainer… Shaping Up Again!

Trainers can fall off the wagon too… just like YOU!

People tend to think that it’s easy for trainers to stay in shape. Well, let me tell you it’s NOT! We have hard times too and get caught up in work and life and sometimes can let ourselves go too, just like everyone else.

I know, because it happened to ME! Just because we are Trainers… doesn’t mean that we don’t have our challenges too to stay in shape. We  ARE  human… ya know. LOL.

I have been a trainer for 25 years now and was named Ms. USA in 1996 and turned Pro that day at the USA Bodybuilding Championships! I weighed in at 104 lbs… ripped and hard!

Over the last 4 years do you know what I found out?

You lose it if you don’t use it!

I retired from competing in 1996 after turning Pro, but still worked out pretty good up until about 2005, when I got a horse and started riding and showing again. At that point, I stopped working out and kinda started to slack on making healthy eating choices. I was still pretty active, but just didn’t do any weight bearing exercise.

Because I had so much lean mass and had been in great shape before… it took a while before I noticed what had happened to my body… It had gotten FAT!

Don’t get me wrong… my weight was still around 100-105 lbs… which wasn’t a problem. And how can 100 lbs. be fat, right? But when I got my body fat tested… my body fat had gone up to 23.6%!!! And my lean mass had gone way down. So you see… my weight hadn’t changed that much on the scale, but when I saw my body fat % and took my BEFORE pics… I could see a HUGE difference in my appearance AND I was shocked! My lean mass to body fat ratio had changed ALOT… and that’s what happens when you don’t exercise and make bad food choices. You lose muscle mass and gain body fat. And the more lean mass you lose… the harder it is to lose the body fat. You NEED lean muscle mass in order to lose the body fat! And you can’t always go just by the scale. You have to take BEFORE pics, get your body fat taken, & take measurements, as well as weighing yourself on the scale, so you can see what’s really working and what’s not.

Bottom line…

You have to exercise and eat healthy! There’s no getting around it if you want to look & feel your BEST! Especially as we get older because of our naturally declining lean muscle mass. As we age our lean mass starts to decline, which makes it easier for us to gain body fat. Exercise, such as weight training and bootcamps, along with making sure we eat enough lean protein, helps us to keep that from happening.

Now that I’m in better shape…

I won’t be so embarrassed to show you my awful “BEFORE” Pictures. YUCKY!!

None of my friends, family, and clients believe me when I said I had let myself go.

Well… I have PROOF!

And of course you can’t tell how jiggly my butt was in the BEFORE pics, but let me tell… IT WAS! lol.

February 2010…

Body fat= 23.6%     Weight= 101.4 lbs.     Lean Mass= 77.9 lbs.

April 16, 2010…

Body fat= 15.1%      Weight= 102.8 lbs.    Lean Mass= 87.3 lbs.

If I can do it from the Photos you see below… so can YOU!!!

Photo on the Left is BEFORE.  Photo on the Right is NOW. (from April 24, 2010)

Photo on the Left is BEFORE.     Photo on the Right is NOW. (from May 2, 2010)

Let me just say… I don’t ever want to let myself go again! It feels too good to be in shape… I had forgotten how that felt. My contest is in June and I have 6 more weeks left and will continue to change and get leaner. I still have a ways to go, but also have come so far from where I started!

It’s definitely not an easy journey… to change your body and your lifestyle… but it’s one that is TRULY WORTH IT… If you put forth the EFFORT!

Aren’t  YOU  WORTH  IT???????

BELIEVE… and Stay Positive and True to Yourself…

Clifta Coulter Perez

Reno Personal Fitness Trainer

PS… Drop me an email at cliftafit@yahoo.com if you’d like help with a “New” or “Current” Workout and/or Food Program. 🙂

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April 18, 2010

Well, it’s 8 weeks from yesterday until my first Figure show. I weighed 101.8 lbs. today, which has been my lightest in awhile. I’ve started low carbs and should start to see my weight start to drop and also see myself get leaner. I really see a big difference this last week with lower carbs.

I got my bodyfat tested this past Friday and it’s down 8.5% from when I started in February! Yay! Lean mass is up 9.4 lbs. That’s what happens when you don’t workout for a while… you lose muscle and get FAT! Finally feeling like I’m on track now for 8 weeks out.

Just wanted to post a little update…

Clifta 🙂

Reno Personal Trainer