Angelique is a registered nutritional therapist, author, thought-provoking speaker and absolute foodie. She specialises in hormonal health, stress management, weight management and digestive wellness. Her philosophy is that food is healing and nourishing, affecting each cell in our body – impacting our lives, bodies, emotions, and even our thoughts. Her approach works to make people feel their best in a supportive yet inspiring way.
Angelique runs her own successful West End practice and features in ITV’s Sugar Free Farm series one while contributing to I Quit Sugar with Sarah Wilson and publications such as Women’s Health, Tatler, Cosmopolitan, InStyle, Top Sante, and Red Magazine.
Over to Angelique…
It’s official, I am finally part of the ‘mama club’ and I am absolutely thrilled! I now fully understand how a little smile or chuckle can lift your day, or how sticky fingers wrapped around your neck can make all problems melt away. You see I wasn’t sure I would get here and almost gave up trying. I am the girl that has been overwhelmed by hormonal conditions like PCOS and hypothyroidism, I am the girl that had constant PMS, I am the girl that had two miscarriages, but now I am girl that has her gorgeous bundle of joy
Our little ones spread love and joy like no other. Yet, it’s not always so easy for some of us mamas. Though I have seen many beautiful friends and clients in clinic navigating motherhood it still came as a huge shock – my get up and go, got up and went!
For the first few months, I stumbled around, bleary-eyed and un-kept. My hormones were in a complete tiz, I felt exhausted, irritable at times, and I would often bawl over the smallest thing. I had the appetite of one hundred hungry men, I retained constant water, and I felt anxious over the smallest things. What if I dropped Isabella? What if I cut her finger when trimming her tiny nails? Why won’t she stop crying? Then there’s the ‘mum tum’ and wobbly bits that won’t go away plus the Zombie-like sleep deprivation and the constant brain fog adding a new dimension to it all. .
The point of this? Well, it’s to remind you ever so gently that you’re not alone. Even though you absolutely adore your child there is no shame in feeling like you have run 5 marathons back to back in high heels!
If you reading this and nodding your head and thinking ‘yes this is me’, if you own get up and go has got up and left the building it might be your hormones! The word hormones fills many of us with dread, its almost become a ‘4 letter word’, we don’t give our hormones much thought until something is going wrong but hormones are there every single day of the month governing our lives. When in balance our hormones can create a beautiful, synchronized dance, like a graceful Viennese waltz. But many of us walk around feeling like we are doing the hokey cokey using the wrong feet!
Is it your hormones?
Here are some signs that you hormones may be in need of some TLC. Each of us mamas are beautifully and wonderfully different. Because of this, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ answer – signs of hormonal imbalances may different for each of us.
However, some of the more common signs, and symptoms I often see women suffering with, include:
Mood swings, anxiety and baby blues or depression
This one hits so many of us new mamas. You see, after we give birth, there are huge, sweeping changes in our hormones. Levels of hormones that we needed during pregnancy suddenly plummet, while others (such as oxytocin for baby bonding and those that help with milk production) soar. On top of this, we have a new, tiny human to take care of, and very little sleep to help us to adjust. Is it any wonder we can struggle? Of course, the baby blues should last for only a few days. If you find they won’t go away, then please seek help or support with your GP. But its not just new mamas, if you feel like a big ball of moody your hormones need some balancing
If your skin is looking anything less than perfect with extra lines and wrinkles or you feel like you have the skin of a teenager again, all spotty and red then its time to look at the balance within. Many of us experience breakouts during pregnancy and after giving birth, and they’re all down to those crazy roller-coaster hormones again! Other reasons could be that your testosterone, progesterone, oestrogen and cortisol levels may be out of whack.
Let’s face it, children don’t allow us to get much sleep at the best of times never mind keeping up with their endless energy! But, if you find yourself constantly fatigued, or if you have brain fog, then it could also be a sign those dreaded hormones.
Many of us mums aren’t blessed with figures that snap straight back to our pre-pregnancy weight straight after birth. That’s OK, it’s normal, and we need to be kind, loving and gentle to ourselves. However, if you continue to put on weight, or simple can’t shift that muffin top (or the all over bulge) through time, then it could be a sign of haywire hormones, such as excess cortisol (the stress hormone), sex hormones such as oestrogen or even thyroid hormones (the master metabolism hormone).
Bloating, cramping, constipation and an upset tum can also be a sign that things aren’t quite right within. An oestrogen imbalance, poor diet and stress (excess cortisol) can all trigger tummy woes.
Getting Your Spark Back
If you found yourself nodding along to some of those symptoms, then it’s likely that you feel you’ve lost your spark. But, there is good news ladies – there are plenty of things we can do to help steer us back on track, and to balance out those crazy hormones (we’ve all been there!) and create healthy, happy hormones once more! Here are my top tips and advice on getting that spark back.
When you’re Zombie-like, I know that it’s even more tempting to skip meals and to reach for the biscuit tin. However, think of your hormones – you want happy hormones, not angry, irritated ones! To enjoy that happy balance, pile your plates with nourishing, whole foods and ditch refined carbs and sugars
Ideally, you want plenty of healthy fats (these are what feed our hormones) such as avocados, oily fish, flax seed and nuts. Load up on rainbows of fruit and veg, aka my Detox Warriors (beautiful leafy greens, such as spinach and kale), protein with every meal or snack and plenty of whole grains to help to keep your bowels regular and energise.
The biggest tip is to avoid the sugar! However tempting it may seem for a quick energy fix, I promise it won’t help – it will disrupt your hormones (especially our insulin levels, which can also impact on oestrogen and testosterone), and will lead to that dreaded bulge around the tum. Plus those quick release sugars roller-coaster you down to a dreaded crash, while sugar also stimulates the breakdown of collagen and elastin, the very fibres that keep our faces plump, juicy and youthful.. Have a look at these tips to .
Such an important message – be kind, and be gentle! Treat yourself just as you would treat a loved one. Talk kindly to yourself (no berating your tum in the mirror, or bemoaning your stretch marks – think of them as your tiger stripes!), don’t act like super woman, and ask for help and support from your tribe.
Being kind also means getting plenty of R&R. I know it’s not always easy with a screaming little ones to contend with! Yet, take ten minutes a day to enjoy a blissful shower or hot bath, read a book, take a nap, do some deep breathing or watch your favourite TV show. The housework can wait!
Easier said than done, I know! Especially when you have a hundred things to do all at once. However, stressing less will help to keep excess cortisol – our fight or flight hormone – at bay. This is why it’s so important to be kind to ourselves (see above), and to also meditate or practice gratitude whenever you can. I also find a spot of gentle Yoga in the morning or a walk with baby can work wonders!
Cut Down on Caffeine
I get it. When you’re overwhelmingly tired, all you want to do is reach for mug after mug of coffee. However, try to resist that urge next time you’re at the kettle. Caffeine can disrupt our hormones and cause our cortisol levels (and, you’ll know that us mamas are already stressed enough as it is!) to spike. Since it masks tiredness, it can also mean we overdo it.
Instead of reaching for endless coffee, try sipping on water instead, adding slices of lemon, cucumber or mint if needed. Green tea is also a fantastic option as it’s full of antioxidants and lower in caffeine.
* It’s important to point out that, if you are suffering with depression, or feel overwhelmed, please go and chat things through with your GP first. It may well be that you need a little extra support and advice.
Excitingly, I have 3 copies of The Balance Plan by Angelique up for grabs.
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Ends 3rd December 2017.
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