Heavier than Last Year? Tired of being Tired?
Fatigue, lack of energy and difficulty losing weight are the most common symptoms I hear from my clients. They generally complain about waking up tired even after 8 hours of sleep, unable to move or think straight without their morning cup of coffee. When I question them about their stress level, they all undoubtedly say it’s high. Today, it’s almost impossible to take a minute for ourselves. Our responsibilities, whether job, family, kids or social continue to increase. If you complain about feeling bone tired during the day. If you burn the midnight oil because you’re too wired to sleep. If you experience that afternoon drop, are gaining weight (especially around the mid-section) and find yourself losing your temper easily are irritable or depressed, you may be experiencing adrenal fatigue.
If you experience stress on a chronic basis, the tiny adrenal glands that moderate your stress response and balance many other hormones in your body will suffer. Adrenal fatigue is what develops. As the adrenal glands become compromised, the result is excess weight, decreased immunity, lack of concentration, irritability, disrupted sleep and exhaustion.
With years of chronic stress, the adrenal glands, which govern our stress response, help balance blood sugar, and regulate many other of our body’s processes, can become imbalanced. This can lead to cortisol dominance or deficiency, insulin resistance, and unwanted weight gain. When this happens, it doesn’t matter how many calories you cut from your diet. The body is in crisis mode and is preparing for a famine. To do this, it clings to every calorie and packs it away in case the need arises.
Stress causes the adrenals to shift into “fight or flight” mode releasing adrenaline and cortisol into the blood. In addition glucose is mobilized from the liver to give you quick energy. Since the extra glucose isn’t needed for energy, it gets stored in the form of fat, predominantly abdominal or belly fat. Both Cortisol and insulin are what we call fat-storing hormones. When we have long-term stress, cortisol and insulin remain high in the blood.
In addition, when your adrenals are working overtime, this inhibits TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and can lead to an under active thyroid thus creating another reason for weight gain and weight loss difficulties.
Are your adrenals balanced?
- Are you always on the run?
- Feel fatigued throughout the day? Tired for no reason?
- Do you feel stressed most of the time?
- Difficulty falling asleep? Difficulty staying asleep? Wake tired?
- Do you feel rundown or overwhelmed?
- Do you need caffeine or sugar to increase your energy?
- Are you irritable most of the time?
- Do you crave salty foods or binge on sugar?
- Do you feel forgetful or fuzzy-minded?
- Unexpected weight gain, especially around the middle?
- Do you have temperature intolerance-inability to tolerate cold or hot temperatures?
- Do you feel more awake, alert and energetic after 6PM than you do all day?
If you answered yes to more than one, it is likely that you suffer from imbalanced adrenals.
Restore your adrenals naturally
Your adrenals will require the proper nutrition, the right supplementation and rest to heal.
What you eat is as important as when you eat. Keeping your blood sugar as level as possible will lighten the load on the adrenals. You can accomplish this by eating every 2-3 hours and making sure you eating adequate protein.
You will want to get your sleep. I recommend between 8-9 hours a night. Try to get to bed by 10pm. Many people with adrenal fatigue get a second wind at night. Avoid utilizing this time to get extra tasks done and avoid stimulation (television or computer) half an hour before bed. Quality sleep is essential for adrenal recovery.
So often the clients I see are over exercising trying to lose the weight. When the adrenals are fatigued, exercise can be an added stress that is actually preventing them from losing the weight they so desperately want to lose.
In mild cases of adrenal fatigue, following the above measures will likely aid the adrenals in recovery. If your adrenal fatigue is moderate-severe, like most of the individuals I see, you will likely need a quality supplement program of whole foods and herbs to heal the adrenals. You may also require testing of your cortisol levels of the adrenals. Testing is important because he symptoms of high cortisol can be exactly the same as low cortisol. Testing the adrenal glands allows for a more customized program, generally with faster results.