When you have adrenal fatigue, the simple logic of ‘eat less, exercise more’ doesn’t apply anymore.
Have you tried to restrict your fat or carb intake, or reduce your portion size? In fact, many of my clients find that the less they eat the more weight they gain, especially around the middle. This is frustrating but all too common!
To make matters worse, exercise is no longer invigorating. When you’re burnt out it can take days to recover from a hard workout. Try and burn calories with a sweaty spin session or an intense reformer Pilates class and you feel like you need to go to bed ASAP!
Nutrition and exercise are the two main pillars of physical health. However, when we have symptoms like low energy, brain fog, and stubborn weight we need to switch up our approach.
In this article, we will show you why what you’re doing isn’t working (and what to do instead). We’ll also give you a PDF to help you walk through the new approach for nutrition and exercise when you’re healing adrenal fatigue.
The Adrenal Fatigue Diet
A calorie deficit should help reduce your love handles, right? Your plan is to eat salads with lean protein, restrict your carb intake, and occasionally skip a meal (when you’re not too hungry). Sounds like a decent plan, but why isn’t it working? There are a couple reasons why this approach doesn’t work for adrenal fatigue weight loss:
- You Need All Your Macros- You must eat balanced meals with all the macronutrients represented. Your body won’t let go of stored fat if it can’t get what it needs to balance blood sugar and build hormones.
- Routine Eating- This is an underrated but very important aspect of health. If you skip a meal (I’m looking at you, breakfast haters!) you put stress on your body. When you condition your body to expect food at random times, it responds by holding on to the fat ‘just in case’.
Ultimately, you need to eat nourishing meals on a consistent basis to remind your body that everything is okay! Seems pretty basic, right? These are basic needs like shelter and personal safety. You need to have these basic needs met at all times before you can move forward.
So eat within one hour of waking up to assure your body that it will get the nutrition it needs. Make sure to eat your meals around the same time every day, and include protein, healthy fats and complex carbs in every meal.
Adrenal Fatigue and Exercise
Giving your all at the gym every day should boost endorphins, get the blood pumping and burn the calories (and the fat!). Wrong. Intense exercise actually makes adrenal fatigue worse.
So what gives? Because exercise is a form of stress on the body, and you need to reduce the amount of stress on yourself, physically and psychologically to effectively heal. Once you are feeling better you can start to increase your exercise.
Put simply, this is how exercise impacts you when you’re adrenals are fatigued: vigorous exercise causes your body to react as if you were in a state of emergency. Your body behaves as though you need access to stores of body fat for survival.
Quick tip: if you feel drained during or after you exercise, it’s a sign that it’s too much.
What to do instead: it depends on what stage of adrenal fatigue you’re in.
The more stress your body is under, the lighter you need to go. When you’re fatigued, the best type of exercise is one that allows the soothing parasympathetic nervous system to kick in.
So what types of exercise are the best? One that makes you feel good afterwards… it’s important to tune in and trust how you feel.
If you have adrenal fatigue, you can see why stressful behavior patterns like heavy exercise, a lack of an eating routine, and running a calorie deficit do not help when healing a stress-induced condition. You can lose weight and get your energy back, but your results will come from nurturing your body rather than a hard line approach.
Tweak your nutrition and workouts to address your current need need for calm and you’ll be on your way to high energy and a slim waistline in no time!