“I’ve been doing so well, when will things begin to change?”
One question that comes up regularly in my weight loss for women course is how long it might take before the body responds to changes. It can be incredibly disheartening when you take steps to improve your health only to find that you don’t notice any changes within the timeframe you’ve set for yourself.
We live in a world of express shipping and instant downloads and it can be easy to unwittingly apply this same philosophy to our body’s response times. It can also be a vestige of the ‘dieting’ mentality that has indoctrinated us with a belief that it’s possible to lose five kilos in a week. In my opinion, losing weight in this way is neither safe nor sustainable.
The time it can take the body to respond is quite subjective and can be dependent on many things—particularly if you’ve been experiencing a symptom or a health challenge for some time, it may take just as much time to unravel it entirely. This doesn’t mean you won’t begin to see any changes, just that you may not experience a significant shift until you fit that last puzzle piece into the picture. Remember, any positive change is a sign that the body is loving the wonderful things you’re doing to support your self-care. So, for example, say you’re hoping to lose weight and you haven’t noticed much in the way of changes to how your clothes fit but you have noticed that you’re sleeping better, and your energy has improved—this is a great sign that things are moving in the right direction! Keep going with what you’re doing. The body fat loss will follow once other inner processes are well supported.
Let’s take a look at some common challenges and a realistic idea of how long things may take to shift.
Changes in weight
There are nine factors that communicate to the body whether to burn fat or store it and changes in weight will depend on the mechanism through which your body is storing body fat. If, for example, your liver is struggling due to an overconsumption of poor quality or artificial foods (what I like to call “liver loaders”), you might notice changes quite quickly if you change the way you eat. However, if your weight challenges are related to a sex hormone imbalance, thyroid challenges or stress hormones, it might take a month or sometimes longer before you notice significant progress—even if wonderful things are happening on the inside. This is why, from my perspective, it’s so important to find the underlying cause as this will always be the road we need to take out. If after two to three months you’re not noticing any improvements from your efforts, it would be worth exploring this further either with a qualified health professional in a one-on-one setting or you might like to by join me in my weight loss for women course which I open a few times a year.
Improvements with period problems
If you’re taking steps to address symptoms related to your monthly cycle, it can take a few cycles before you begin to notice any changes. Occasionally, women will notice that symptoms get worse for a month or two before they get better, so it is helpful to persevere for at least three cycles before deciding whether to take a different approach or not. If, after three cycles of the changes you’ve implemented, you’re still not noticing any difference, you may like to try something else. Recurring period symptoms respond well to dietary changes where you focus on eating whole, real food with plenty of plants. Taking a break from caffeine and alcohol for two to three cycles can also help significantly. There are also some wonderful herbal blends which can assist with this too, so you might like to try my Bio Blends Cycle Essentials or make an appointment to see a naturopath who can prescribe a herbal mixture for you. Jenny Brooks works out of my Auckland clinic and is the only person I’ve trained in my methods. I speak all of the world so Jenny offers skype or phone consultations, as well as face-to-face.
Reduction in menopausal symptoms
Many menopausal challenges can be linked to an overwhelmed liver or adrenal glands that have been under the pump for quite some time and most women benefit from supporting both the liver and adrenals. If it’s mostly liver related and you make a concerted effort to reduce your liver loaders (alcohol, caffeine, trans fats, refined sugars and synthetic substances such as pesticides, preservatives and those commonly found in skincare/household products), you will likely notice a difference within a month. If it’s adrenally based, it might be a little slower—though that will depend on how quickly you can help your body to switch off the stress response. Bio Blends Liver Love can be a wonderful support for a woman going through menopause who may need to amp up nutrients the liver needs for efficient processing of problematic substances. Restorative practices such as regular and consistent diaphragmatic breathing, tai chi, qi gong, meditation, STM and/or restorative yoga—combined with a break or reduction in caffeine consumption—can also help to support the adrenal glands.
Supporting thyroid hormone production
How quickly an under or overactive thyroid responds depends on whether the issues are nutritionally based or the result of some other underlying issue. If, for example, the thyroid is not diseased bit simply not working efficiently due, for example to a deficiency in iodine or selenium, it may turn around quite quickly if we begin including these things in our way of eating. However, the thyroid is intimately connected to our pituitary gland (the gland in our brain that governs our endocrine system) and so if the signals between the two are not optimal for some other reason, it will likely take longer before improvements are felt. Working with a health professional in a one-on-one setting is often helpful with thyroid challenges as the practitioner will be able to guide you through the various approaches depending on how you respond. To be clear, this is for instances where there is sub-optimal thyroid function and not in cases where there is diagnosed thyroid disfunction. In those instances, the thyroid is always best handled by a medical professional.
Increase in energy
If we’re lacking energy, it can be due to many different biochemical processes in the body. If disease has been ruled out by a medical professional and the basis of the fatigue is unknown, it may be as simple as a lack of iron or the result of not getting enough nutrients. It’s always advisable to get your iron levels tested before taking a supplement as high iron levels (as well as inadequate iron levels) can cause problems in the body. It might be stress hormone, sex hormone or thyroid hormone related or the consequence of poor sleep. So, again, it’s important for us to find the road in so we can take this road out. Unless there is something deeper causing fatigue (such as potential adrenal challenges), you will likely notice your energy begins to perk up pretty quickly. If, a month down the line, you’re not noticing any improvements, it would be worth exploring other causes for your fatigue. Start with nourishment changes by increasing your plant intake and decreasing liver loaders and processed foods and take a break from coffee. Then you may like to up your restorative practices to support adrenal function and a calm nervous system.