When you have adrenal fatigue, one of the most frustrating symptoms is the inability to lose weight.
In addition, many woman with adrenal fatigue suddenly gain an extra 10 lbs without changing a thing. Same diet, same exercise routine… same everything. But now they feel like they have to buy new pants. How is that fair?
Then they do what any normal person would do to try to lose weight… exercise more and eat less. And it doesn’t work. In fact, you may even gain some more pounds!
What’s going on?
Stress increases cortisol levels
Cortisol signals the body to produce more fatty tissues
Then the fat begins to produce cortisol
Cortisol signals the body to produce more fatty tissues…
This is a frustrating negative feedback loop where fat and cortisol feed off each other. But your body actually believes that its helping you out! It sees your emotional stress as a good reason to expect famine, and it wants to make sure you survive.
High levels of cortisol that accompany high stress help you pack on ‘emergency pounds’. You start to crave sugar and your body becomes more insulin resistant (to keep you ready for anything!). This is why you can’t stop eating and you feel anxious on a regular basis.
Similarly, low levels of cortisol that occur in stages 2 and 3 of adrenal fatigue can cause weight loss issues too. Your adrenal glands begin to exhaust themselves and produce less cortisol. At this time, your fatty tissues step up to produce cortisol. Now your body relies on your fat stores to get the cortisol it needs, so your fat sticks around to help out.
In addition, low cortisol equals low energy… which doesn’t inspire you to move your body or spend time cooking the meals you need to heal. Again, it’s a vicious cycle. In this way, adrenal fatigue and weight gain go hand in hand.
What do you do about it?
If you have adrenal fatigue and weight gain, it’s possible to lose weight as you recover. However, typical weight loss methods won’t work; it takes a different approach.
Here’s what you need:
1.Exercise mindfully. You need a workout that’s customized to your phase of adrenal fatigue. Learn more about this from our blog. Stay away from steady state cardio. If you have the energy, try HIIT workouts or circuit training for no more than 30 minutes.
2. Balance your blood sugar. Focus on eating balanced meals (protein, fat, complex carbs and fibre) at the same time each day. Don’t worry too much about restricting your calories.
3. Take metabolism-boosting herbs. Try maca extract powder, green tea or maccha.
4. Reduce the stress. Long term stress makes our body feel like our life is at risk and it starts to worry about potential famine. The easiest ‘energy source’ to access in times of famine is belly fat. Signal to your body that everything’s alright with you: cut out stressful activities and make time to relax.
5. Invest in quality sleep. You’ve got to work towards a good night’s sleep. We know this can be hard, but techniques like getting to bed consistently at the same time each night (even on weekends) and sticking to a wind-down ritual help a lot.
6. The power of ACV. Drink 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in 1-2 cups of water before bed to stabilize your insulin and stimulate weight loss.
7. Stay hydrated. Drink water (3 litres daily) with a pinch of himalayan or celtic salt to remineralize it and keep it in your body.
The best thing about all of our recommendations (on top of being effective) is that they are all within your control! You are in control of your adrenal fatigue healing journey. If you follow this protocol your adrenal fatigue and weight gain will be a thing of the past.