Hi again - yes, I’m still here!!! My weight is a delightful 126.5 lbs and although I have spent the last few weeks fluctuating between 129 and 126, my pH has stayed consistent at 4.5. I was trying to take a break at 126, but it seems like whenever I’m not actively losing weight, my body wants to gain it!!
This has been a bit of a discouraging month for me on the weight loss front. Though I’m happy with the amount I’ve lost, I am facing a dilemma - I have recently read that losing weight while breastfeeding means that it will take even longer for your menstrual cycle to get back to normal, and that certainly seems to be the case for me! That’s why I gave up losing weight at 126 even though I feel capable of losing at least 6 more pounds and I think it would make my sway more of a sure thing if I did. But of course the best sway in the world will be all for nothing if I am unable to get pregnant. I have been very tentatively eating a bit more protein than I had been, and I am seriously considering making a doctor’s appointment this coming week to see if there’s any way to medically kick start the process. I swear I can feel my fertility plummeting with every day that passes!!
I also do not like the fact that my weight loss probably won’t peak at the time I get pregnant - it is obvious to me that I’m going to have lost all the weight I possibly can lose long before AF even comes back. I don’t know how my body will respond to this - will it slowly begin to return to its normal pH and testosterone levels? I don’t know, but it seems likely. Thank goodness that I will be happy with a child of either gender, but I am annoyed that the test of the Trivers-Willard hypothesis won’t be as good as I had hoped. More than ever, I hope that my success or failure will not put anyone off the idea of using the theories surrounding the T-W hypothesis to sway.
Moving on!!! First off, I must apologize for not updating my blog. I am really not very motivated at all, I feel sort of lazy and exhausted and not at all like myself. So much so, in fact, that I have come to the conclusion that this sudden change in personality means that the sway is working, my testosterone levels are dropping. I find myself losing interest in swaying altogether and just feeling much less passionate about having a daughter, to the point where I have even felt at times like I don’t want a daughter, and why am I doing all this anyway, blah, blah blah?? However, I do realize that this is likely an effect of the lack of testosterone in my system, and while unpleasant, it is probably a good sign.
I have also noticed some physical changes indicative of lower testosterone - aside from the lack of energy and motivation, I have less body hair, low sex drive, and (sorry for TMI) a certain part of my anatomy is smaller than it was before. All in all, it’s encouraging, but at the same time, the change in personality makes it hard to take much pleasure in the progress I’m making - I just want to curl up somewhere with a roast and gnaw on it for awhile!!!
So in light of this, I thought this might be a good time to examine how personality factors and testosterone can influence each other.
Testosterone is described as being in a feedback relationship with external stimuli; that is, external stresses of both a physical and an intellectual nature can cause it to rise, while at the same time, the higher testosterone actually drives a person to seek out new challenges to take on, in a kind of a feedback loop. What’s more, this holds true even of stresses that you would have preferred not to live through - just the very act of enduring stress and successfully surviving it, is seen by your body as a triumph to be celebrated with a big surge of testosterone. So one thing we must do in order to sway pink is to eliminate as many sources of stress from our lives as possible.
Researchers were studying dominance in female monkeys, and they took several dominant female monkeys and put them into cages and pampered them much more than they would have been in their natural environment - they didn’t have to work for their food, they didn’t have to worry about predators or competing against each other for resources. And these female monkeys ended up having way more daughters, surprising the researchers, who weren‘t even studying gender ratio!! Just the removal of the stress in their lives was enough to alter their body chemistry to pink.
An interesting thing about primates of all varieties is that they tend to establish and maintain social dominance through a series of competitions - never fighting to the point of injury, but just until the less dominant party submits to the more dominant one. It doesn’t seem farfetched to assume that humans might operate in much the same fashion.
Testosterone has been studied extensively, and researchers have found that when people gear up for a competition, their testosterone levels rise. Even if you’re just a spectator, your t levels still go up accordingly, sometimes even as high as the competitors do. After the competition is over, testosterone levels drop in the losing team - even the spectators rooting for the losing team suffer a sharp drop in t levels. But for the winners and their fans, the levels of testosterone rise even higher still. And believe it or not, this effect is as dramatic for people participating in a chess match as in a sporting event! It is the very act of competition that matters, whether it is a physical or mental competition.
It seems perfectly reasonable to conclude that facing challenges and overcoming competitors in everyday life could have far more of an effect on your testosterone as watching a chess match. So the pastimes you enjoy, the struggles you face on a daily basis, the more passionate about them you are and the more often you succeed, the more these things might sway for a boy.
Possibly even the very act of swaying itself might cause testosterone to rise as the challenge is faced, and the more thorough you are, the better sway you think you’re doing, the more successful you feel you are, the more you feel like you are ‘winning’, the higher your testosterone levels are rising!!! (Not trying to discourage anyone here at all, but it is great news for those swaying blue and a comfort for those of us who haven’t been able to be completely thorough about our pink sways due to non-cooperative hubbies.) This may even help to explain why so many InGender ’surprises’ have turned out to be girl babies, even in moms with 5-6 sons - maybe sometimes only when we’ve given up on the idea of a daughter and are feeling defeated do we manage to conceive a girl.
This effect has also been observed by sociologists and historians…it has been one of history’s great questions why the rate of male births seems to rise during wars and other periods of social upheaval. But if we take stress and testosterone into effect, women who are struggling to survive and succeeding, very likely have a rise in their testosterone levels. And a study done on the early Mormon settlers found that many more sons were born to the wives of the higher ranking settlers - as the ladies rose in social stature, they had more sons. Remember the Maternal Dominance Hypothesis - more sons are born to women who are influential and high in stature. (Note - I have seen this Mormon settler study quoted in several places, but I can’t find the original myself. If you know where I can find it, I would really like to read it.)
So what does that mean - if we have high testosterone levels and chronic stress, should we just give up on the idea of a daughter all together? The answer to that is no, of course not. Because I am coming to the conclusion that there is more than one factor at play involved in gender ratio. It isn’t just diet, it isn’t just testosterone, it’s the combination of the two plus whatever our husbands bring to the table, along with an element of luck and possibly timing thrown in.
Tamara recently sent me a study involving mothers with eating disorders (thank you Tamara!!). I can’t get the full text of the article, but according to the abstract, the researchers found that mothers with anorexia had 10% fewer sons, bulimics had 8% fewer sons, and binge eaters had 4% more sons than would be expected in the general population. Another group called EdNOS-P, which is a kind of eating disorder where you are anorexic/bulimic but your weight stays in normal range, had 28% more sons!!!
Wait a minute - that’s totally confusing isn’t it? How can some anorexics have dramatically fewer sons, and some have dramatically more? That’s where I believe the effect of testosterone comes in. Can you imagine the level of drive and commitment that a person would have to have to maintain an eating disorder? From what I have read, anorexics/bulimics tend to be very driven and high achieving personalities (high testosterone levels) who do extraordinarily well at any endeavor they undertake.
Women who suffer from anorexia/bulimia very well might have higher average testosterone levels than the general population to begin with. However, in the most severe cases, their restricted diets alters their body chemistry so dramatically that they ended up having far more daughters, even though women who also had anorexia/bulimia who were of normal weight had far, far more sons. Women who should have had sons, had daughters on a restricted diet - up to 38% more daughters. This is proof positive that we can use diet to sway.
This sounds kind of shocking to analyze the statistics this way, and please understand, I am not advising anyone to develop any kind of eating disorder to sway. I have total sympathy for those struggling with eating disorders and I am not trying to offend anyone or make light of a serious and life-threatening condition. But the information is there and we would be foolish not to utilize it.
Summing up - can personality and lifestyle factors affect testosterone levels? Yes! But this doesn’t mean that those of us with naturally high testosterone levels are screwed and can never conceive a daughter, or that women who want a son will never have one. Moms who want daughters can alter our lifestyles to reduce stress, lose some weight, and change our diets, we can lower our testosterone levels. And moms who want sons can take on new challenges, gain weight (preferably muscle), and eat more and higher quality foods, can raise their testosterone levels.
As always, best of luck to all swayers out there!!