I dislike this picture of myself.
I was 30 pounds overweight, depressed, in pain and overall miserable.
No matter how little I ate I could not lose the weight.
But my weight is not what makes me cringe the most when I look at this picture that I SHOULD LOVE of me and my adorable daughter.
What makes me cringe the MOST is not actually my weight but HOW SICK I felt mentally and physically at the time of this picture.
I was exhausted, inflamed, depressed, anxious and in pain.
My hormones were out of balance. I did not feel like myself.
I felt trapped in a “Fat Suit” of pain and misery.
My entire attention was so focused on being a “Good Mom” and taking care of my daughter that I had essentially stopped taking care of myself.
My diet had dramatically shifted away from the fuel I felt best on to the convenient few foods my daughter would eat. I was eating too much kid food from the Zoo, Legoland and the Aquarium. Our new world revolved around birthdays at Peter Piper Pizza and play dates at Chick Fil-A and Chuck E. Cheese.
Like a good Mom, I was so busy working hard to keep my daughter educated, exercised, entertained and socialized that I was eating too much junk food, not exercising enough and not putting my own health first.
I was eating for fun and not for fuel.
My anxiety was SO BAD I could not sleep through the night. I would wake up at 2-4 am every day in a complete panic. It was no longer my child waking me up but my own anxious thoughts.
I was terrified without a good night of sleep that I would not have the energy to make it through another day.
I was trapped in a vicious cycle of insomnia and anxiety at night that fed directly into my exhausted and depressed days.
My weight went up and down like the stock market. I could not keep my weight stable even 5 years after having my daughter. If I ate the wrong food, fried foods, too much sodium or too many calories I instantly blew up like a balloon. I could gain 8 pounds in a single day from bad food choices. My body would instantly swell up.
You can see how swollen my hands are in this photo. Eating the wrong foods was causing me to retain water.
Feeling swollen, bloated and lethargic would then drive me to make EVEN WORSE emotionally driven food choices and I would gain more weight. I was trapped in a vicious cycle.
As a Thyroid Doctor and Women’s Hormone specialist I ran every hormone on myself imaginable. I was horrified to see that my thyroid hormone levels were sufficient and I did not need an increase in medication even by my own OCD Optimal Thyroid lab standards. I was BARELY EATING ANYTHING yet whatever I did eat would cause me to blow up like a balloon.
Today as a Naturopathic Doctor and Female Hormone Specialist it is important to me to share this awkward and uncomfortable memory of my perfectly imperfect photo so I can help other Mom’s with the same challenges. Many women never truly recover from their Post Partum state. I see patients going through menopause that tell me their weight gain issues began “After the birth of my last child I never could get my weight back down.” I have heard this hundreds of times and I am here to help.
Healthy food is the foundation to proper hormone balance. If your fuel is not right your Post Partum hormones will fail to properly recover. Macronutrient ratios and vitamin and mineral levels can be adjusted to support your return to normal hormone balance. While we can and should test your hormones if you are struggling Post Partum, the foundation to healthy hormones is through a properly balanced diet and avoiding foods that trigger PGE2 that specifically make your body inflamed. If you are struggling to lose weight, while also battling depression, chronic pain, stomach aches, headaches or fatigue then we need to address and target your PGE2 levels to lower them while also balancing your other metabolic hormones.
Is PGE2 Making Me Fat?
Excess PGE2 is what was causing my weight problem in this photo. PGE2 or Prostaglandin E2 is an inflammatory molecule that inhibits fat burning and increases pain, swelling, inflammation, redness, fatigue and allergies. PGE2 is what was making me fat in this photo and until I switched my diet to reduce my levels of PGE2 my weight, pain and fatigue cluster would not improve. Paying attention to PGE2 is necessary for me personally to feel good and have pain free days.
If you are struggling to lose weight AND also have swelling, pain, arthritis, headaches and other signs of PGE2 elevation then you most likely have persistently elevated levels of PGE2 inhibiting your fat burning potential.
What is PGE2?
I jokingly refer to Prostaglandin E2 as the “Annoying Red Headed Step Child” of the Hormonal Weight Loss World. PGE2 is the more annoying and less thought about cause of weight gain. While PGE2 is not the MOST popular weight loss hormone we think of such as TSH in Hypothyroidism, PGE2 is still an ANNOYING AND FRUSTRATING little known cause of weight gain that many of my patients suffer from and cannot get under control without a targeted program designed specifically to address and lower the abnormally high PGE2 levels. Especially when combined with other metabolic issues such as Metabolic Syndrome, Prediabetes, Insulin Resistance and Estrogen Dominance.
Just like the “Annoying Red Headed Step Child,” PGE2 will also keep screaming in your face until you decide to pay attention to it and get it under control. Or in my case it was literally screaming in my “Fat Face” and causing it to swell up. My face was swollen and inflamed from excess PGE2 in this picture. That is what makes it hard for me to look at.
HOW CAN WE SILENCE THE SCREAMING PGE2 CHILD?
When you place your hand over a screaming child’s mouth you can succeed in getting them to temporarily stop screaming.
BUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE TAKE OUR HAND OFF?
The child will just SCREAM LOUDER! Therefore we can conclude that putting your hand over a screaming child’s mouth does not stop their screaming and it may even get you kicked. Any attempts to suppress the screaming will just result in MORE SCREAMING!
Just like any WRONG ATTEMPTS to lose weight when we ignore PGE2 will just result in MORE WEIGHT GAIN BACK when we stop our latest WRONG ATTEMPT plus a “Kick” in the form of a handful of other PGE2 related problems like migraines, stomachaches, fatigue, arthritis, depression and anxiety.
Instead of telling PGE2 to SHUT UP we need to calm it down and soothe it in the same manner we would an angry child. We need to LISTEN TO and try to UNDERSTAND where our PGE2 is coming from!
In order to truly understand where PGE2 is coming from we must first understand PGE2.
Is Prostaglandin E2 a Hormone?
While I think of PGE2 as a hormone being a “Hormone Doctor” PGE2 is technically not a hormone as it is not made by a specific gland, but it does have the capacity to act in a multifactorial manner very similar to how a hormone works. The purpose of PGE2 is to cause swelling during an injury or infection which brings more blood flow to an affected area so it can be healed.
When PGE2 remains constantly elevated the body continues to swell and inflammation now impairs fat burning.
When we are inflamed we are not burning fat at our true metabolic potential. Our thyroid and other metabolic hormones could all look perfect on paper yet we still struggle to have that perfect metabolism. PGE2 n tells the body "We are on fire and in an emergency state"
PGE2 in my mind is the “Missing Weight Loss Mystery Hormone” when all my patient’s other hormones are PERFECT yet they still cannot release the weight.
If you feel like your PGE2 and Metabolic hormones are out of balance, have pain, cramps, stomach aches, depression, anxiety and mood issues please call to schedule an appointment (480) 837-0900 or simply book your PGE2 Weight Loss Program below.
Dr. Nicole Sundene
Is a Naturopathic Medical Doctor in Scottsdale, AZ with over 20 years of experience serving patients in health care. She worked in Traditional Family Medicine from 1999-2007 and since 2007 has worked as a Naturopathic Doctor. As a result of her diverse experience she practices an integrated style of medicine using herbs and supplements before prescribing medications. She is considered a leading expert in the Naturopathic field of Women's Health and how it pertains to Gynecology, Mental Health and Endocrinology. She enjoys the challenge involved in solving complex chronic disease and hormonal health problems with the least amount of prescription medications necessary.