No Kidding it’s an Epidemic!
Stress load. Whether from illness, relationship difficulties, work struggles, finances, or caring for someone who is ill, there can be a great effect on our nervous and endocrine systems. Under chronic stress the body’s ability to cope is to release the stress hormone cortisol. This is our “fight, flight or flee” response. If these levels exceed certain small amounts for a significant period of time, you run into problems with blocked arteries, diabetes (elevated insulin), digestion challenges, weak muscles, obesity and a host of other symptoms.
Whenever we are exposed to a stressor, not only do we often turn to food for comfort, we fail to nourish and take care of ourselves properly. Along with this we have cortisol increasing levels of fat and sugar in the bloodstream. When the adrenals are overworked and we have this excess of cortisol in our bloodstream, our body prepares for disaster by storing fat and calories. We crave certain foods, we lose energy, and we gain weight!
Normally, cortisol levels are quickly depleted following the stress response. Unfortunately with the modern world, many of us face chronic stress as a way of life, which means we have a consistently elevated level of cortisol. This chronic exposure breaks down the body’s metabolic control systems, causing elevations in blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, and body fat levels. Not only that, it causes fatigue, premature aging, inability to deal with stress, fibromyalgia, anxiety, lack of motivation and low thyroid.
So we exercise more, eat better, skip a few meals and hope to lose weight? NO! Instead of being exhausted, continually wired for action and overeating, consider slowing down and restoring balance to your adrenal glands and your life. You may think by working harder you can lose weight, but in fact you put more stress on your already overworked adrenals and stay in a continual cycle of adding pounds.
Five things that can help reduce stress and take you out of fight and flight mode:
- Sleep – get to bed by at least 10pm and sleep 7-9 hours.
- Exercise – walking 15 minutes once or twice a day after meals, outside in the fresh air will make your adrenal glands, your mind and your body happy.
- Relaxation – have fun! laugh! enjoy yourself! Put your feet up for 10 minutes at least a couple of times a day.
- High quality supplements – make sure they are well sourced for purity.
- Therapeutic nutrition – as well as regular balanced meals, eat lean protein snacks to keep blood sugar levels stable. Avoid sugar and caffeine.
These are just some brief examples of why it is so vitally important to approach “cortisol control” as a main focus for achieving long term health and well being.
To a Restful New Year!