Losing weight is very complex and pretty simple: Find and fix the underlying cause. Why is it complex and simple at the same time? Because fixing the underlying cause can be hard, but once the underlying cause is fixed weight loss can be almost effortless. There are a few major culprits for weight gain:
- Adrenal problems
- Excess Estrogen
- Blood sugar issues
- Too many poisons in the body
In this post I wanted to deal with the first one: adrenal fatigue. In the story below “Carrie” is not a real person, but is a compilation of symptoms caused by adrenal problems. If you have many of the symptoms in the story below, you are probably dealing with adrenal fatigue. Healing your adrenals will make losing weight MUCH easier.
Carrie has adrenal fatigue. She has a very hard time getting out of bed in the morning. Carrie is a “night owl.” If she stays up too late she gets a second wind and can’t go to sleep. It is terrible to be soooo tired and yet be unable to sleep. Feeling refreshed is becoming a foreign concept to Carrie even though she sometimes sleeps alot. Everything seems like too much work. Life feels hard and too demanding. Carrie wishes she could have energy like her friends seem to.
Sometimes she feels really anxious and she doesn’t know why. If the stress is bad, she eats. Carrie loves salt! She also loves carbs, and if she waits too long to eat then she NEEDS carbs. Snacks or cola or coffee keep Carrie from completely collapsing.
After Carrie had surgery it took sooooo long to get over it. She feels better now that it has been over a year since her surgery, but if she has a disagreement with her mom the stress seems unbearable, and she gets really tired feeling again. Or if she happens to catch a cold it seems to last forever or turns into bronchitis. And just when she seems to be feeling a little better PMS hits.
Carrie can never lose weight because she is “not motivated”. She works out once in a long while, but it usually makes her feel worse. Carrie doesn’t know it but her adrenals have been overworked and now she has low cortisol.
What is Cortisol?
Cortisol is released from the adrenals. Cortisol is the “get up and go” hormone that is manufactured by the adrenals. The correct amount of cortisol gives you energy during the day when it is needed. Cortisol is supposed to be lower at night so that sleep comes easily.
It is important not to have to much stress because than the adrenals work too hard and put out too much cortisol too much of the time. All kinds of things can put stress on the adrenals and cause cortisol to be released. Relationship issues, Digestion problems, Toxicity (poisons), recurrent infections (like bronchitis), financial hardship or surgery can all be precipitating factors for developing adrenal fatigue. Any stress that is prolonged can be a problem.
Cortisol and Weight Gain
How is cortisol related to weight gain? If you are under stress for any reason (even excessive exercise is stress), your adrenals will pump out cortisol. The cortisol will convert fat cells to sugar for the blood stream. But then estrogen tells the body to store the sugar that is circulating in the blood stream as fat. It is not good to have too much sugar in the blood stream. It will be converted to fat.
If you have adrenal fatigue, it will often affect your other hormones and they will also become unbalanced. That can also cause weight problems. But it is usually best to work on healing the adrenals first,and many times the other hormones will start to recover as well. So, what can you do to heal your adrenals?
How to Heal the Adrenal Glands-(Ways to Reduce Stress)
- Don’t diet! If you restrict your calories then your adrenal glands have to step in to make up for the lack of food. You want your adrenals to be given a break so that they can heal.
- Sleep Alot. This can be tough to do. But sleeping to lose weight is more fun than dieting. 🙂 Go to bed around 10:00 or earlier. Sleep as late as you can in the morning. Take naps often. Don’t do anything too stimulating before bed.
- Eat a nourishing breakfast with proteins and fats included. I explain the right kinds of fats here and the right proteins here. (Hint-cook everything with coconut oil*-helpful for the adrenals and thyroid!)
- Eat Protein at every meal. If snacks are needed between meals include protein.
- Wean off caffeine. This will be much easier as your adrenals are starting to recover. Often caffeine is used to help the fatigued person to feel better and more energetic. This is not real energy though and eventually the adrenals will be more and more depleted and energy will be harder and harder to find. If you are eating enough of the right fats and proteins it will be much easier to get off caffeine. Though you may feel the effects of no caffeine for a few days if you go cold turkey.
- Work out a little. If your adrenals are more severe, 5 minutes of light walking is enough. If you exercise and feel much better afterward than that is a good sign. If you feel worse, than you have just stressed your adrenals.
- Consider taking vitamins that help your adrenals: Vitamin C, and B vitamins
- Make a list of things that give you energy and things that drain your energy. Get a piece of paper and label the top half “Things That are Good for Me” Label the bottom half “Things That are Bad for Me”. If sitting beside a window and reading makes you feel good then that is good for you. If loud music makes you feel bad than that is bad for you. Don’t write what you think you should write-be honest about what really drains your energy. This can help you so much! I did this when I had adrenal fatigue and it gave me permission to do things that helped me and to avoid things that caused me anxiety.
- Find your perfect diet-I wrote this series to help you pinpoint which foods are best for you, and it is really detailed. It is perfect if you are ready to dive in and learn the ins and outs of different groups of food and pinpoint food intolerances. If you want a simpler place to start just eat real food (this is a link to my recipes).
Heal the Adrenals and Lose Weight
It might be hard to believe, but healing the adrenals can help with weight loss. I personally have dealt with adrenal fatigue and I had to rest and eat and destress. I also took vitamins and minerals, and worked on detox. I lost the extra weight I had without an exercise program. In fact I avoided exercise for a long time because I needed to heal my adrenals. I would clean for a few minutes if I felt like it, and did some light walking here and there (not regularly). I listened to my body. I ate yummy nourishing food. It did take a long time to heal, but I am now enjoying being a healthy weight and having energy!
By the way, There is a free online video series about the thyroid available right now. (The thyroid often affects the adrenals and the adrenals often affect the thyroid). The series is free for a limited time! If you want to see how your thyroid is doing take a free thyroid quiz by clicking here. If you want to sign up for the video series click here.
*I eat alot of coconut oil! Nutiva is a really good trustworthy brand. I buy organic, cold pressed, unrefined coconut oil because it has the most health benefits (and it tastes good!)
Disclaimer: This post is not medical advice. You should consult your health practitioner before making changes in your diet or supplements. I am not a doctor or medical professional.