What I’m about to tell you might be the reason you’re struggling to lose weight, and why exercise or diets aren’t doing anything for you.
Let me break down a little physiology for you.
The Function of Your Adrenal Glands
Your adrenal glands, which are located right above your kidneys, are responsible for producing two main chemicals when you experience a threatening situation.
That situation could be a tiger or a rattlesnake, but more likely, it’s the rush to get to work, or a deadline at your job.
First, the adrenals are going to kick off adrenaline, which gives you the energy to run away from the rattlesnake or deal with the deadline that you’re under.
This will increase the blood sugar inside of your body because you need energy quickly. This is your fight-or-flight response.
Unfortunately, in today’s world, we are triggering that response all the time, and a lot of us are running off of adrenaline to get things done.
The second thing the adrenals do is produce cortisol. You may have heard of this hormone because it’s your stress-response hormone.
It’s supposed to create some inflammation to help our immune system and replenish energy after an adrenaline rush in case you see another rattlesnake.
Your body is efficient, and it knows that the fastest way to restore energy is to make you crave and eat sugar.
Research shows that sugar is more addictive to your brain than cocaine, and cortisol triggers that craving.
If you are struggling with a lot of sugar cravings, it’s likely you’re overstimulating your adrenals.
How Stress Makes You Gain Weight
We crave sugars and carbohydrates, and we eat those types of bad food, and then we have an excessive amount inside of our system and it hits our liver.
It then turns into triglycerides, which are sugar attached to fat. Now we have a cholesterol problem and a bogged-down liver problem.
More importantly, to weight gain, cortisol is going to store fats for energy so that it can be efficient if we need to tap into it again.
There have been studies done on women that show that having a couple of stressful events each day leads to women gaining 11 pounds of weight a year.
That alone could be the reason you’re not losing weight, and gaining weight instead.
How to Address Stress
First, what can we do to support the adrenals?
The adrenals love vitamin C. They store 80-90% of the vitamin C that you take in.
I encourage eating foods that are high in vitamin C like acerola cherries, strawberries, broccoli, and oranges.
You want to avoid toxic forms of supplements that have artificial sweeteners in them. You can still supplement with vitamin C, but that’s something to watch out for.
But in addition to supporting the adrenals, we need to address the root cause, these ‘rattlesnakes’ in our life, the stress.
Move Your Body
If you want to burn off that stress, it’s absolutely critical to move your body and incorporate regular exercise. It’s not taxing the adrenal glands, and the adrenaline and cortisol are getting burned up in the energy you’re using to exercise.
Put in as much movement as you can. When you’re on a phone call, try to walk while you talk.
You can also try getting in a 10-minute workout or some other kind of exercise in the morning.
Choose Healthier Foods
When you’ve gone through an adrenaline situation, your cortisol is spiked and you’re having cravings, you need to start choosing healthier options.
If you eat a bag of chips, pretzels, pizza, or soda, you’re asking for weight gain.
If you have to replenish some energy and you’re hungry, you can try eating some salted nuts, a smoothie, or maybe even a Dr. Livingood coffee with some healthy collagen in it.
Reach for a better snack alternative that doesn’t cause that weight gain.
Plan Your Nutrition
If you’re dealing with a lot of stress, be mindful of what you’re putting in nutrition-wise.
This requires some planning, and could also require a food journal.
Writing these things down has been proven in studies to help women lose the weight that they want to, and not sabotage their results.
If you don’t have a plan, you’re going to default to what’s easy and convenient.
Keep those bad foods out of the house, and acknowledge when you’re stressed so you can make better choices and not emotionally eat.
Drink More Water
Next, you want to focus on getting more water in the kidneys. Your adrenal glands love that.
If you’re going into a stressful situation, one of the best things that you can do is keep yourself hydrated.
Adding lemon or adding apple cider vinegar to your water will also help lower your insulin and blood sugar levels, and replenish vitamin C.
Stress Reduction Techniques
Finally, stress reduction! Breathing techniques are very important.
I would practice 5-second deep breaths in, and 5-second deep breaths out. It’s like nature’s cigarette break! This is called paced breathing.
Do this for 1 minute multiple times a day, especially after a stressful situation.
Studies show that this significantly reduces the cortisol and adrenaline effect inside the system, and makes sure it doesn’t have an impact long-term.
You can decrease this threat to your weight and avoid the 11 pounds of weight gain by managing the stress in your system.
If you need some de-stress help, I put two adaptogenic herbs that help lower the stress and cortisol inside your system in my De-Stress supplement.
You can also check out my video here, which will help you understand if and how much stress is affecting your health.