Adrenal Fatigue? Do You Have It?

What You Need to Know About Adrenal Fatigue

 

I found this article about Adrenal Fatigue by Justin – I think it very relevant to many living this fast paced, always ON life with iPads, smart phones and emails chasing us everywhere…..

 

Chances are you have heard of adrenal fatigue, but you may not be quite sure what it is. Understanding this condition is important however, because some experts suggest that 80% of the Western world will be affected by adrenal fatigue at some point in their lives.

The adrenal glands are located above the kidneys and are responsible for secreting more than 50 different hormones that are essential for life. Among these are adrenaline, cortisol, progesterone and testosterone. Because they regulate so many important hormones, their proper function is critical for many functions essential to life such as producing energy, balancing electrolytes and storing fat.

These glands also help you deal with stress. When you are under stress, the adrenal glands engage many different responses in your body to make it easier for you to handle that stress.

But during periods of intense, prolonged stress or chronic illness, the adrenal glands begin functioning below the level needed to maintain health and well-being in the body. They still function but at less than optimal levels. The result is adrenal fatigue.

 

Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue

 

There are some symptoms that are common among people who

are suffering from adrenal fatigue. These include:

 

Feeling tired for no reason

Craving salty or sweet snacks

Morning fatigue

Mid-afternoon sleepiness

Increased energy in the late afternoon

Decreased sex drive

Mild Depression

Weight gain, especially around the waist

Forgetfulness

Low body temperature

 

If you are experiencing these symptoms, you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue.

 

Treatment

 

Treatment for adrenal fatigue focuses on making changes to your lifestyle and diet. If you have minor adrenal fatigue, you can expect to be better within 6-9 months. Moderate to severe adrenal fatigue can take between 12-24 months to heal, and severe cases can take even longer.

 

Stress: One of the first things you should do is reduce the stress in your life. This may mean clearing your schedule, reworking some relationships or learning time management skills. In order for your adrenal glands to heal, the demands placed on them should be lightened.

 

Sleep: Sufficient sleep is also important. The main repair work on your adrenal glands takes place between 10 pm and 1 am. If you are prone to late nights, consider training your body to go to bed earlier. It is also a good idea to reduce or eliminate caffeine from your diet in order to help you sleep more soundly.

 

Exercise: Adrenal fatigue can also be helped by exercise. Exercise regulates cortisol, relieves depression and increases blood flow. Each of these benefits will contribute to your recovery. Shorter more intense bouts of exercise (like we do in our programs) are more appropriate than long duration workouts, like treadmill or elliptical cardio or running when suffering from adrenal fatigue.

 

Supplements: Finally, adding supplements to your diet can speed healing of adrenal fatigue. Calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, E, and B complex are recommended. Also try to avoid ‘junk’ food as much as possible. Rather, add plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet.

 

If you suspect you are suffering from adrenal fatigue, don’t be discouraged. You can start the recovery process by making the above changes to your diet and lifestyle.

 

JaxAllenFitness.com

 

The trouble with fad diets

 

The trouble with fad diets

I thought some of you would find this article interesting reading – it explains why so many of us find it harder and harder to control our weight as we enter our Fabulous 40’s and 50’s.

 

Based on an article by Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP a well respected Obstetric/Gyny Nurse Practitioner and author in the U.S.

 

Nearly all of my patients ask me when we first meet, “How can I lose this weight?” A full third of these women have been on one diet or another for as long as they can remember. This habitual dieting generally keeps women at a manageable weight until they enter peri-menopause and menopause.

I hear stories all the time about weight gain that suddenly appears at this time (especially around the stomach) and simply refuses to come off, no matter what my patients eat or how much they exercise. This personal history of dieting and a feeling of being out of control sends them running to the latest trendy diet, only to be disappointed again and again.

And they are not alone. At my clinic we see patients of all ages who struggle with weight as their central health concern. In most cases, they feel guilty or angry at themselves about the way they look. They are anxious to “fix” themselves with dieting and often are willing to overlook their long-term health in trying the latest diet craze or products advertised in the media. Many of these programs just set you up for failure because they are deprivation-based and lack a maintenance program.

From Jenny Craig to Atkins to South Beach, there have been scores of new diets promising universally quick results. There is now a “low-carb” version of our favourite snacks to take the place of the “fat-free” foods that used to be fashionable. Women are inundated daily with conflicting information about what, how much, and when to eat. Multiply that by the very real hunger signals our bodies send us, and by the comfort and enjoyment inherent in the act of eating, and who wouldn’t feel confused?

I feel that the end of the Summer is the perfect time to give you my thoughts on what I have come to call the “diet culture.” For I think we all are aware that just as advertisers aim products at the “youth culture” in America, there are many companies right now marketing product to those of us who are anxious to lose weight.

This is happening in the UK right now… just look at any ad break on the TV in any popular magazine or Newspaper……

 

What they won’t tell you is that only three to four percent of dieters will succeed in keeping that weight off after a year.

 

It’s no wonder the diet industry can sell us something new every year!

There are many reasons why yo-yo and fad dieting don’t work — and may even do more harm than good. Let’s talk about them and then turn to how you can lose weight in a healthy way and keep it off permanently.

In my groups we consider excess weight gain to be one of many symptoms that indicate an underlying biochemical imbalance in our patients. Although fad diets address this symptom in the short term (meaning that if a person follows the plan, they will initially lose some weight), they do not address the root cause, which is often some kind of metabolic dysfunction or hormonal imbalance.

Over the years, I have seen repeatedly that dieting is not the key to long-term weight loss — the real key is a healthy metabolism supported by a balanced hormonal state.

How does a woman’s body get out of balance? The reasons are as varied and unique as each woman. Each one of us gains, loses, and maintains weight at certain points in our lives for a variety of reasons, physiological, cultural or emotional.

Our weight management group looks at these reasons in detail – through quizzes and discussion – you will identify your relationship with food and become aware of the foods that just don’t suit you.

This simple fact is something the diet professionals aren’t anxious to reveal because it is simpler to sell us a one-size-fits-all plan. These diets may work to a degree in some people, but for a lot of women fad dieting without an understanding of their underlying biochemistry only leads to a yo-yo cycle and more weight gain.

Why is weight gain different for women?

We’ve all had the frustrating dieting experience of watching the pounds peel off our husband or mate while we struggle to lose even a few. Why do men seem to lose weight more quickly than women? Men’s bodies are trained by evolution to have strength and speed. They have a different muscle-to-fat ratio in their bodies, which makes it easier for them to speed up their metabolism and burn fat. Women, on the other hand, are hard-wired to reproduce. They keep an insulating layer of fat on their bodies that men don’t have. (Women also live longer!) In addition, fat is essential for the production and storage of reproductive hormones. Progesterone production begins with an adequate level of cholesterol in the blood. Women don’t lose weight rapidly because they are genetically programmed that way — it has nothing to do with willpower!

Please read that last bit again!! It’s not your fault – just your responsibility!!!  Don’t  believe in will power. Everything is a choice – you do or you don’t – never ‘try’ to do something, you’re setting yourself up expecting the possibility of failure.. and guess what, things get tough and you blame a lack of will power and fail again… this is another topic we cover in our weight management course.

 

Additionally, the erratic hormonal fluctuations that can occur in peri-menopause and menopause may cause weight gain and a change in body shape in some women. This is due to vacillating levels of estrogens and progesterone. Some women report strong food cravings at this time. Which can be a symptom of declining progesterone levels. Once hormone levels reach a new equilibrium it becomes easier to lose extra weight.

 

What if you’ve tried everything and still can’t lose weight?

In my years of experience, I have seen a few underlying conditions in my patients that make losing weight on a popular diet plan particularly difficult.

This bit is golden…… read carefully…..

 

 

 

Here is a summary of these problems.

Adrenal fatigue: We touch on the intricate link between weight and the adrenal glands in natural weight loss, but because adrenal depletion is so widespread, and because adrenal health so critical to losing stubborn pounds, I want to include at the top of this list. The adrenals release an important hormone called cortisol, which is often described as the stress hormone and is related to adrenaline, the more familiar adrenal hormone, and to your serotonin levels (see below). Too-high or too-low levels of cortisol in the blood can be a major cause of weight gain and the inability to lose that unwanted weight.

We consider these and other hormones when we plan your exercise sessions and when designing your food lists and daily supplements. This is just one of the reasons our plans work.

Carbohydrate sensitivity: While carbohydrates are an absolutely necessary component of a balanced diet, many of us become increasingly sensitive to them as we grow older. Over consumption of simple carbohydrates (like those found in white bread, candy, soda, white rice, and many breakfast cereals) creates a roller coaster effect on your appetite: you feel energized and full for a little while as your insulin spikes, only to crash a few hours later when your blood sugar drops precipitously. This low blood sugar triggers the brain to send out hunger signals again, which can cause you to overeat and gain weight. For some of us, this roller coaster feels like a gentle ride. For others, who are more sensitive experience steeper hills and valleys. If this sensitivity is not treated with a diet lower in carbohydrates and sugar, it can evolve into excessive weight gain and a larger metabolic concern called insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome X a pre-diabetic condition in which cells becomes less affected by insulin and the pancreas is triggered to produce ever-increasing levels.

We can easily identify if this is happening to you with a simple questionnaire and then advise you how to adapt your diet.

 

Depleted serotonin: Serotonin is just one of a host of neurotransmitters secreted by the brain that regulate mood, attention, and energy levels. Ongoing stress can deplete our serotonin reserves, leading to intense food cravings — particularly for the refined carbohydrates that when eaten mimic the sense of well-being created by serotonin. In some women, this state of serotonin depletion becomes chronic. Persistent low serotonin levels lead to plummeting energy levels — particularly in the late afternoon — bouts of depression, and compulsive eating. Low serotonin levels can be detected through testing.

We recommend learning effective relaxation techniques (maybe Yoga) and making sure you get 5 or 6 hours of good quality sleep every night.

Yeast or intestinal parasites: Colonies of excessive Candida (yeast), bacteria, or intestinal parasites in the digestive tract can make it very difficult to lose weight. Many doctors do not test for these organisms.

Ask about the self cleanse detox , Maggie our friendly Allergy specialist recommends.

For women who have yeast overgrowth, eliminating yeast and sugars for a period of time can restore balance to the digestive tract, allowing weight loss to occur naturally. Women often need to use supplements or probiotics to eradicate the yeast or parasites, but once this is accomplished they begin to lose the unwanted weight.

Food allergies: Similarly, allergies and sensitivities to certain foods can create a dysfunctional metabolism. Frequently these sensitivities crop up in adulthood and manifest themselves in easily overlooked ways, for example, stomach and intestinal upset, headaches, insomnia, lethargy, joint aches, and rashes. If we suspect a patient has a food sensitivity, we recommend an elimination diet. We eliminate potential allergens for two weeks, then reintroduce them for a day and test for reactions. If reactions do occur we recommend staying away from the offending food for at least four months and then cautiously reintroducing it.

Sometimes a patient will present with only one of these nagging weight-gain factors; more often women will have a combination. Most of my patients had no idea that their bodies were out of balance until they began to feel symptoms of peri-menopause and menopause. In many of my patients, I find that their metabolism is frozen from years of fad dieting. Once they modify their diets and get further treatment customized to their particular issues, their metabolism heals and they are able to lose weight — gradually, safely and permanently.

Our Phase eating plan that comes with your first full bootcamp course is very similar to the elimination diet. Phase 1 is designed to regulate blood sugar, remove aspartames (fake sugars) and estrogenic foods from your diet. Phase 2 gradually re-introduces foods so you can easily identify the ones that don’t suit you.

My concern with fad diets

Popular diets do work for some people. However, I remind my patients that studies show the average weight loss after one year on some of these diets is just five pounds — and that includes men! Yet, we still keep trying. At any point in time, 44% of the women in this country are on some kind of aggressive diet.

And still more information keeps coming. There is increasing evidence that weight loss is linked with having a ready supply of calcium and vitamin D in our systems. There is also a controversial connection promoting human growth hormone (hGH) and the ability to put on lean muscle mass. Much needs to be learned before we can say for sure how these elements factor into our own biology, but it is interesting to note how rapidly our knowledge is growing.

So what does work? I have found through years of my patients’ — and my own — trials and tribulations that paying attention to a woman’s individual body chemistry and her emotional history leads to successful, long-term health and weight loss.

Still, there are many women out there who may not have immediate access to alternative healthcare professionals and are unsuccessfully trying to lose weight. For those women experimenting with over-the-counter diets, I’ve provided an overview of what I see as pros and cons of the most popular choices available.

In general, I prefer those diets that encourage a balanced ratio of protein, fat and carbohydrates in every meal. I am more inclined to suggest the Schwarzbein Principle I and II or the Metabolic Typing diets because, along with their balanced food plan, they advance the concept that each person has different factors that contribute to their ability to lose weight.

We will ask you to reduce starchy carbs when you first start bootcamp – as this will help to balance your hormones and support the hard work done in class.

 

DIET     PLAN Pros Cons
BALANCED

Schwarzbein I & II, The Zone, South Beach, The Mediterranean, Metabolic     Typing, Perricone

Healthy food     combinations

Energizing

Additional     support may be required for individual needs
HIGH-PROTEIN/LOW-FAT
Atkins, Protein Power
Loss     of fat

Creates muscles

You feel full

Poor     choice for those with kidney problems

Can lead to metabolic issues if followed for too long

CALORIE/PORTION     CONTROL
Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, NutriSystem
Emotional     support

Easy to follow

Encourages lifestyle changes

Outdated

Expensive

Poor long-term results

Decreases metabolic functioning

LOW-FAT/HIGH-CARB

Dean Ornish, Pritikin, vegetarian diets with inadequate protein

Okay     for men with heart issues Not     enough dietary fat

Loss of muscle tone

Difficult to stick with

REDUCED     CALORIE/     MEAL REPLACEMENT

Slim-Fast, Optifast, other meal replacement drinks

Ease

Convenience

Damages     metabolic function

Sets up yo-yo weight gain

Depletes serotonin

APPETITE     SUPPRESSANTS

Fen-phen, Ephedra, caffeine, OTC appetite suppressants

Extreme     hunger is controlled Freezes     metabolism

Creates adrenal problems

Doesn’t work for intense
cravings

Saps energy

 

 

Putting it all into perspective

My point of view results from 27 years of experience with women and weight, and it is rooted in the belief that eating well and often is a necessary, enjoyable, and healthful act. Over the years we have adapted our advice to reflect the healthful eating and lifestyle habits that lead a majority of women to hormonal balance, sustained weight loss, and overall well-being.

Learn to accept yourself for who you are and ultimately love yourself, because the body you have is the most valuable house you’ll ever own. Your personal blueprint is a treasure map to natural weight loss and lifelong health that no popular or radical diet can ever replicate. Whenever you are at odds with your own best interests on dieting, I hope you will remember that we are only an email or text away to offer help and support.

 

We try to keep the ideas of moderation and mindfulness in focus when we approach any choice, be it food, exercise, commitments, or work. While we do recommend watching what you eat, we think it is more important to encourage you to listen to your body. Get to know yourself. Learn what triggers your cravings. For many women, outgrowing a few bad habits (like drinking fizzy drinks) or starting to exercise can be the catalyst for positive change in the rest of their lives. We want you to first and foremost get nutrition and enjoyment out of every meal, then to concern yourself with any extra pounds.

Balance is something we can create in all aspects of our lives, and in the process, guess what? We can lose weight, gain perspective and, certainly, look ahead to many years of good health.

 

Created on 28/05/2010 22:07The trouble with fad diets

Fight Adrenal Fatigue with this Diet

ADRENAL FATIGUE DIET

What should you be eating when you have adrenal fatigue? And what foods are doing you more harm than good? Here are some adrenal fatigue diet do’s and don’ts for adrenal support.

The basic diet for adrenal fatigue is similar to any diet for a healthy lifestyle. Regular meals consisting of high-quality nutritious foods are important to maintaining adrenal function and keeping blood sugar levels stable.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation that has worked its way into our thinking, and many of us are unknowingly hindering our own recovery by following erroneous eating patterns. Coffee to get going, a muffin and more coffee mid-morning, avoiding salt, fat, and real sugar and replacing them with artificial substitutes, skipping meals and eating on the run are all habits that directly (and adversely!) affect your adrenal glands.

DIET FOR ADRENAL FATIGUE

· Eat frequent, high protein meals and snacks (3 meals, 3 snacks daily). Do not eat proteins and starches at the same meal. Have either meat & vegetables or starch & vegetables. Proteins require an acid environment to digest, and starches require an alkaline environment. This is why after a nice meat and potatoes dinner, you usually feel like your dinner just sits there in your gut. It’s because the digestive enzymes are neutralizing each other instead of digesting the food.

· Eat “Real” food. Not pre-packaged mixes, not “imitation pasteurised processed cheese food” … Seriously, if you have to intentionally label it as food because otherwise I wouldn’t recognize it as such, well…thanks, but no…the sad thing is that they have been exceedingly clear that this is imitation food, not real food, yet we don’t seem to comprehend what that means, and continue to put it in our shopping carts…

· Forget what you’ve learned about “breakfast foods”. The WORST things you can have for breakfast are fruits and cereals/breads/grains. These items quickly convert to sugars, which will give you a speedy blood-sugar spike, but end up requiring your adrenals to work harder to catch you as you “crash” later in the morning. Think protein instead. Eggs, meats, etc. If you start your day with fruit, follow it up half an hour later with something more substantial. If you must have a grain product, avoid white sugar/white flour products and stay with the whole grain choices, which are a complex carbohydrate that takes longer to metabolise. And ALWAYS include some protein. A quick and easy breakfast option is a whey protein meal shake.

· Limit starchy and sugary carbohydrates and fruits (especially bananas, because they are high in potassium, which is already high in Adrenal Fatigue). Make your carb choices from the non-starchy vegetables as often as possible. Raw and lightly cooked are your best prep options. However, always cook your crucifers (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, etc.) to neutralize the goitrogenic compounds (thyroid suppressors).

· Eliminate white sugar and white flours. These simple carbohydrates require a greater release of insulin in order for your body to deal with them, and this stresses your adrenals by making it even harder for them to stabilize your blood sugar levels. Choose whole-grain options, and sweeten with raw honey, molasses, or dates. Complex carbohydrates will help you feel fuller faster, “stay with you” longer, digest slower, and provide fibre as well as moderating blood sugar.

· Eliminate caffeine entirely. I know this is easier said than done, and the withdrawal symptoms from stopping cold turkey can be pretty uncomfortable in addition to being hard on your adrenals, so if you are a big coffee drinker, wean off gradually. Try cutting your consumption in half, then in half again. Maybe go half and half while you replace coffee as a drink over time…

· Eliminate alcohol entirely. Like caffeine, this can be a difficult substance to eliminate cold turkey. Check out the book Potatoes Not Prozac: Solutions for Sugar Sensitivity for some interesting discussion on the connection between alcohol and sugar sensitivity, and a seven-step plan for controlling sugar cravings. This is especially important for adrenal fatigue sufferers who are having a hard time stabilizing their blood sugar.

· Do NOT limit your salt intake when you have adrenal fatigue, especially if you are craving salty foods. Sodium is critical for adrenal function, and is usually low when adrenals are depleted. Celtic Sea Salt has an abundance of trace minerals that are beneficial as well.

· Do NOT restrict fats in your diet, but DO make sure you are eating the right kinds of fats. Your body uses fats and cholesterol to make hormones, and if you are not getting enough, then your body cannot produce the hormones it needs. I know this is contrary to current trends, but it is possible that the current recommendations actually contribute to depressed adrenal function if followed too stringently. Good fats include olive oil, real butter (preferably organic), grape seed oil & coconut oil (both of which are the only fats you should be using at high heats, like for frying).

Also, it is important to identify and eliminate foods that you are allergic or sensitive to. Delayed food allergies and food sensitivities are more common than you may realize, and the most common offenders are the foods that you are using in some form every day (milk, wheat, eggs, soy, and many others). They may not be causing dramatic reactions like hives or anaphylaxis, but they are contributing to your general feeling of malaise, as well as stressing your adrenals.

Jax ©