Fatigue, weight loss resistance, irritability and cravings are some of the most common symptoms I find women struggling with. When they go to their MD for support, they’re generally told everything looks fine and that this is just a part of getting older or being a mom. But is this in fact the case?
What if I told you that it’s not all in your head. That you don’t have to struggle and suffer through your day, with barely every to get the bare necessities done? What if I told you that there is a physiological reason you’re feeling tired, overwhelmed and imbalanced. In fact, it’s because of a silent, hidden, rarely discussed or recognized epidemic and the most undiagnosed cause of fatigue. It’s called Adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue is caused by too much stress. Before you think great! I’m doomed because my life is overly stressful. I want you to know adrenal dysfunction can be healed and it usually doesn’t require you to quit your job, abandon your children or become a hermit and move to a remote island.
Adrenal fatigue isn’t just caused by emotional stress, it can also be caused by imbalances like; yoyo dieting, lack of restful sleep, too much sugar and caffeine, skipping meals, food allergies/sensitivities, constipation, surgery or physical trauma.
Your adrenal glands are your battery pack, they keep you awake, fight inflammation, manage stress and balance your blood sugar and hormones. When you experience stress on an ongoing chronic basis, these tiny glands become compromised. In turn your body, energy, weight, sleep & sanity will take the hit. As the adrenal glands become increasingly imbalanced, you will begin to pack on excess abdominal weight, your immune system will be compromised, lack of concentration will occur, along with irritability, disrupted sleep, and ultimately, pure exhaustion.
They regulate your energy, blood sugar and stress response not to mention down regulate your sex hormones and thyroid function when your stressed.
It should come to no surprise with our overscheduled, overstretched lives that our body’s aren’t able to keep up. At least not successfully. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Is there some way you can actually nourish your adrenal glands and body so that you can get your energy, body and mojo back?
These are responsible for ruining our energy, disrupting our sleep, inhibiting our hormones and robbing us of our sanity!
First, let’s identify some of the most common symtoms of adrenal fatigue
- Do you find yourself waking up tired regardless of how much sleep you get?
- Are you unable to think straight until that first cup of coffee?
- Do you find it nearly impossible to lose weight?
- Are you praying for a nap between 2-4 everyday but instead push through and find yourself grabbing a sugary, high carbohydrate snack or chocolate to keep you going until the witching hour?
- Are you unable to manage stress like you used to and become overwhelmed and irritated easily?
- Do you struggle with hormonal imbalances & mood swings?
- Do you fall asleep easily but find you wake up around 2am and have difficulty going back to sleep?
- Do you crave sugar or have intense cravings for salt?The trouble is, you find yourself in exactly the same vicious cycle day after day. In a-seemingly unending cycle of exhaustion, overwhelm, poor sleep, poor nutrition, and to top things off you now can’t stand how your body looks or feels.
Here are 5 steps you can take immediately to reduce the stress on your body and help get your body, energy and sanity back.
#1 Give your Adrenals a Break
One of the most helpful and nourishing things you can do for adrenal gland is to balance your blood sugar & get enough sleep.
Poor blood sugar regulation is an epidemic in today’s society. Most of us are struggling Dysglycemia which means that your blood sugar is poorly regulated. Sometimes, it’s too high which prevents your body from burning excess body fat, causes inflammation and a list of other potentially damaging symptoms, think diabetes & heart disease. But other times it’s low, making you feel “hangry” irritable, spacey, shaky, anxious and sends sugar & carb cravings through the roof.
This roller-coaster ride of highs and lows is extremely hard on your cortisol production and adrenal function. You see blood sugar needs to be in it’s “goldilocks position” in order to remove the load on your adrenal glands and feel vibrant, balanced & rested again. Not to mention the positive impact balanced blood sugar will have on your waistline, memory, mood and sleep.
Steps to balace your blood sugar:
- Eat a high protein breakfast within 30-60 minutes of waking up.
- Eat 20 grams of protein (3-5 ounces) of high quality protein with every meal especially breakfast and lunch
- Go no longer than 3 hours between meals/snacks. Once your body blood sugar is balance then increase to 5-6 hours
- Minimize sugar & processed carbohydrates
Here are some of my most popular recipes.
- Spinach squares
- Egg Cups
- Chia pudding
Secondly, is sleep. Getting enough sleep may seem obvious for energy. But what many people don’t recognize is that when you sleep is just as important as how long you sleep. Sleep is when your body, thyroid and adrenal glands get to rest and recharge. Physical repairs begins around 10-10:30pm and continues until 2am. 2am-6am is when the body works on balance hormones and neurotransmitters. If you go to bed at 12am, you miss to important hours for repair and recovery. In addition, 7 hours of sleep in required in order to maintain healthy fluctuating levels of hormones including insulin and cortisol. It’s said that 1 night of less than 7 hours of sleep decreases insulin sensitivity by 75% and drives up our hunger hormones and cortisol. Have trouble sleeping? Imbalanced coritsol is one of the biggest hidden causes of insomnia.
#2 Nourish your Adrenals by JERFing
Secondly, is sleep. Getting enough sleep may seem obvious for energy. But what many people don’t recognize is that when you sleep is just as important as how long you sleep. Sleep is when your body, thyroid and adrenal glands get to rest and recharge. Physical repairs begins around 10-10:30pm and continues until 2am. 2am-6am is when the body works on balance hormones and neurotransmitters. If you go to bed at 12am, you miss to important hours for repair and recovery. In addition, 7 hours of sleep in required in order to maintain healthy fluctuating levels of hormones including insulin and cortisol. It’s said that 1 night of less than 7 hours of sleep decreases insulin sensitivity by 75% and drives up our hunger hormones and cortisol. Have trouble sleeping? Find out what the most common underlying causes of insomnia are and how to correct them. Read more here….
As we mentioned about balanced blood sugar is imperative to adrenal recovery. But what foods should you avoid and what foods should you incorporate help them heal. First start by minimizing or eliminating foods that jack up your cortisol like sugar, caffeine and alcohol. Stimulants like caffeine and sugar provide us with instant “fake” energy while at the same time robbing us of what little natural energy we have left. This also sets us up for the vicious cycle of needing these things to function, because the worse you feel, the more you “need” them. They also override your hunger mechanism, preventing your body from recognizing when you’re full. Additionally, highly processed sugary foods set you up for blood sugar crashes and perpetual sugar cravings throughout the day. This damaging daily cycle is extremely taxing on your adrenal glands, not to mention disastrous for weight loss and adrenal recovery!
Try removing them 1 at a time for 3-5 days and observe how you feel. You may be surprised to see what happens. Just like my client was below:
Second would be to look at commonly inflammatory foods like gluten & dairy. This is where the systemic stressors come into play. If you’re eating foods that are known to be inflammatory like your weekly gluten cheats or your cheese that you think aren’t so bad, but actually are, you see, your body is under a constant tirade of inflammation without a moment of reprieve. Eliminating these foods will not only help restore your natural energy and give your adrenal glands a break. It will also help you unplug from highly addictive foods and behaviors that actually hijack your willpower and tend to lead to overeating.
#3 Make Exercise a Stress Reducing Activity instead of Stress inducing
Do you know that exercise can be a stressor on the body? If you are suffering from adrenal fatigue then you need to focus on using exercise as a stress REDUCER as opposed to a STRESS inducer by working out smarter, not harder. What do I mean by this? Exercise, when prolonged – especially prolonged cardiovascular exercise – is a big tax on your adrenal glands when they are fatigued.
- Restorative yoga
- Qui Gong
- Tia Chi
- HIIT training- Tabata is one i like the most. Look for beginner Tabata training in-home workout video from me coming out soon .
#4 Supplement for Support and a Speedy Recovery
Lifestyle and dietary changes are imperative in order to reduce the load on your adrenal glands and provide them an opportunity to recover. However the fastest way to bring your cortisol product back up and boost your adrenal function is through supplementation. This provides your adrenal glands with the nutrients and co-factors they have most likely been depleted up in order to recovery and start functioning optimally again.
Vitamin C is considered to be one of the most important nutrients for adrenal recovery. It’s not manufactured in your body, so you must get it from your diet. Take 2000mg-4000mg per day. Start slowly with 500mg per day to avoid stomach upset. Here’s my favorite. Here’s a list of High Vitamin C foods.
These are considered your stress vitamins and are crucial for vitality and energy. They become easily depleted when you’re under chronic stress – poor absorption also contributes to Vitamin B deficiencies. They are found highest in liver, meat, seafood, seeds & mushrooms. Here’s a list of foods high in each B vitamin.
SALT & TRACE MINERALS
You when you’re feeling fatigued and out of balance it could be because you’re lacking proper mineral/electrolyte balance. Actually, a sight that you are under significant adrenal distress, are salt cravings. It’s important to honor this craving. Use a high quality Sea salt & increase your intake of sea vegetables like seaweed and kelp.
This is an ancient adaptagenic herb which helps bring the body back into balance. It can help to balance cortisol levels, boost energy levels and even lessen joint pain. Here’s the blend of adaptagenic herbs I use with my clients.
The main benefits of Siberian ginseng are increased resistance to stress, normalized metabolism, and regulation of neurotransmitters. Siberian ginseng counteracts mental fatigue and is known to increase and sustain energy levels, physical stamina and endurance.
*Please be advised that certain herbs can and do have side effects and are contraindicated with certain medical conditions and medications. Please exercise caution and seek the advice of a qualified medical professional before use.
#5 Meditation, Gratitude and Yoga.
All of three of these daily practices, turns off your flight-or-flight response and instead trigger your restorative, parasympathetic nervous system. This is one of the most restorative and nourishing things you can do for your body, mind an spirituality not to mention your adrenal glands.
- Start a gratitude journal
- Start a medication practice. Here are two app I’ve love and use regularly
- Start taking yoga with an emphasis on breath. Kundalini yoga is an amazing one too.
Every doubt the power or words, intention or prayer. Watch this powerful video and work by Dr. Emoto>
I leave you with this. Late stage adrenal fatigue is real and can be profoundly debilitating, so debilitating in fact that following my suggestion about is overwhelming and nearly impossible. If that’s case, look for an Integrative physician or Functional Medicine practitioner who can provide you with the testing, personalized support, guidance and inspiration you need to pull you from the depths of fatigue. It starts with testing, targeted supplementation and small dietary changes to find your energy and motivation again.
Also, check out my FLC Rehab program.
It’s an intimate online program for women guided by me that provides energy testing, 90 day healing protocol and supplement recommendation, online Q&A sessions and a 30-minute private consultation with me. Enrollment happens twice a year and just opened! Learn more>