We now know that your hormones affect obesity and where your fat is stored. When it comes to thundering thighs, an excess of oestrogen could well be the major culprit. Read on for advice on how to detox your way to slimmer thighs, the fourth in a series of articles by health and fitness expert Alexa Towersey that explores your body fat and what it says about your health and your hormones.
Oestrogen is more commonly known as the female sex hormone and it is essential for female health. However, if we have too much circulating oestrogen – or what is termed “oestrogen dominance” – it can lead to poor health and promote weight gain and obesity, specifically in the lower body.
That’s right, ladies, I’m telling you that all that excess junk in your trunk may not be entirely your fault.
Aside from genetics, that typical “pear shape” is not just due to the oestrogen that you produce yourself, but has been correlated with exposure to xeno-oestrogens (environmental oestrogens and toxins) in the very food you eat, the water you drink, the medications and cosmetics you use, the contraceptive pill and today’s polluted environment.
On the bright side, it is possible to start rebalancing your hormones, and leaning out your legs, using training protocols, nutrition strategies and lifestyle adjustments.
- Reduce your intake of sugar, alcohol, refined and processed foods and starchy high glycaemic index carbohydrates. At the most basic level, excess sugar is stored as fat, and when it comes to the female form, we have an abundance of fat cells on our hips and thighs. Remember the saying, “Once on the lips, twice on the hips”? Well, it ain’t far wrong.
- Include weights as part of your training programme. Use a circuit style of high reps (15 to 25), moderate weight (you should struggle on the last two reps) and low rest (30 to 45 seconds). For fans of spin classes, I’m about to ruin your day, as research has shown that spinning actually increases the intramuscular fat stores in the legs! If you want to decrease the “size” of your thighs, then run.
- Minimise your exposure to environmental toxins and pollutants. Detox your home. Go au naturel with your cosmetics and household products (check out www.ewg.org to find out how toxic your favourite brands are), don’t reheat your food in plastic containers, stay away from soy products, and try to stay away from pesticides, synthetic hormones and antibiotics by buying organic produce and wild or grass-fed fish and meat.
- Support your digestive system. You need it working efficiently to effectively detox your body. Learn to love your cruciferous veggies (e.g., broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage and bok choy) – they contain compounds that draw out excess oestrogens. Include plenty of fibre, especially flaxseeds, which will bind to and eliminate the waste products.
- Support your liver and your detoxification channels using alternative body treatments like acupuncture, lymphatic drainage massage, Epsom salts baths, body brushing and infrared saunas. Drinking plenty of water is important for flushing out toxins, and dandelion and green tea are great additions to your daily fluid intake. Try starting the day with a glass of warm water with fresh lemon juice.
Next issue: The dreaded man boobs, and why alcohol could be bringing out your feminine side.
Alexa Towersey is a personal trainer and nutrition and lifestyle coach who shares her time between Hong Kong and Sydney.
Twitter: alexatowersey | Instagram: actionalexa