Today there are so many avenues that seem to tell us how we should look, what is sexy and what isn’t. We seem to be striving towards a perfection that in essence doesn’t exist. This can create negative psychological factors that can stay with us our whole lives.
With the growth of social media, it seems that our want to be, look and act a certain way continues to force us down the path of plastic surgery, that airbrushed look, yoyo dieting and more, but to what end?
I myself have always had parts of my body that I look at and can’t help but dislike. My hips get bigger the longer I stare at them. My nose rounds the corner before my face. And wearing shorts that show off my stretch marks has always been a no-no but why?
Becoming a teenager brings with it a whole new scale of problems and for me this time in my life was no exception. From the day that my period came, my first stretch marks did as well. My instant reaction was:
”I am getting fat and thus, less desirable to the opposite sex”
A new needless hatred of a part of my body was born. What I didn’t realise is, stretch marks appear for a whole host of different reasons.
– dropping a considerable amount of weight quickly
– hormonal imbalance
– nutrition and lifestyle
and to my surprise; boys get them too.
As I go through my adult life, I am less quick to judge myself and more inclined to update my knowledge. That is exactly what I did when I read Dave Aprey’s book “The Stretch Mark Factor”.
As I read more, I began to understand that my teenage hormones had played a big part in my stretch marks appearing. What seemed to be over night and how I can prevent getting more in the future.
According to Dave Asprey, the number one cause of stretch marks is a hormonal imbalance.
Being a woman, my two dominant hormones (Estrogen and Progesterone) control the delicate balance of;
– my mood swings
– menstrual cycle
– hair growth
– skin elasticity
He states in his book that;
“Imbalances can cause weight gain, anxiety, hair loss, low libido, and – most important for our purposes – improper fibroblast function that can lead to vivid stretch marks.”
Fibroblast what I hear you cry!?
Simplified, if my hormones are not doing a little dance in unison, they start to become imbalanced. That is when the problems start.
Your body needs to make enough Progesterone to maintain that balance. If you are constantly under stress, your body will make an excess of cortisol (the stress hormone). Thus, depleting your Progesterone.
Progesterone helps fibroblasts make collagen. (your skins basic building block).
Too little and your skin becomes inflexible and so, prone to stretch marks. A bit like when you stretch blue tac, when the blue tac is cold it snaps, when it is warm it stretches like stretch arm strong. (Toys were great in the 90s.)
So, what are stretch marks?
They’re a little like a bacon sandwich.
Give me a moment to explain:
Stretch marks are a tear in the middle layer of your skin; the dermis. Your skin is made up of two proteins collagen and elastin which keep it supple and stretchy. If the skin is stretched too far then the fibres of the two proteins break creating a stretch mark. A bit like when you bite into a bacon sandwich and all the bacon comes out in one bite. Now you are left with the two bits of bread and no bacon middle. At least you enjoyed the first bite.
Over time, the tears heal. The stretch marks that are left, scar behind lack their original collagen that kept the skin smooth, supple and stretchy.
You can prevent stretch marks by strengthening your fibroblasts by maintaining balanced hormones. A decent diet doctor can help you understand which hormones you may be lacking but diet also plays a big part too.
I often speak about the importance of healthy fats being incorporated into your diet.
The fight against stretch marks is no exception to this rule.
By eating a high fat, low carb diet, your body can enhance its production of a healthy amount of progesterone to keep your hormones balanced.
Healthy fats such as;
– wild salmon
– 100% grass-fed / grass-finished meat
– coconut oil
– raw nuts
– grass-fed butter
– dark chocolate
– olive oil
These are all high in natural oils to maintain a healthy progesterone-to-estrogen ratio.