chronic fatigue

How Do I Know If I Have Adrenal Fatigue? (+ Start Healing From Adrenal Fatigue) Rebelle Nutrition

Want to skip right to the FREE 5 Day Adrenal Fatigue Detox Challenge?  Go HERE!

Want to skip right to the FREE 5 Day Adrenal Fatigue Detox Challenge? Go HERE!

If you're like most of us, you're tired, addicted to caffeine and sugar, and have a hard time falling asleep at night. 

But maybe you’re not 100% sure if it's actually adrenal fatigue, and what the term "adrenal fatigue" actually MEANS, so i’ll start by explaining that.

Adrenal fatigue is the term used to describe a variety of symptoms related to hormonal dis-regulation - specifically the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is most well known as being a "fat storage" hormone, but it also has very important roles in sleep regulation, immune function, inflammation and a whole lot more. Cortisol levels can become disrupted due to ANY and EVERY type of stress we face on a daily basis.

Of course, our bodies are designed to handle stress in small amounts (think: occasional adrenaline rush from a workout, or avoiding a car crash...acute situations things like those) but problems start occurring when our lives get so out of control that we are facing multiple chronic stressors, day in and day out, for years at a time.

What are chronic stressors?

Chronic stressors are things like food sensitivities, caffeine addiction, sugar consumption, digestive problems like leaky gut, a standard american diet (aka consuming foods your body doesn't recognize as FOOD), a stressful job, lack of sleep, always putting yourself last, being too hard on yourself/perfectionistic mentality, long-term prescription drug use, alcohol, unhealthy relationships, etc. etc. etc.

All of these stressors begin to dis-regulate our cortisol rhythms, and it’s not a matter of IF you will get adrenal fatigue, but WHEN. 

Side note: I will say that certain people are definitely more susceptible to adrenal fatigue than others: particularly type A women who are very empathetic, feel stressed out easily, and have perfectionistic/regimented mentalities around everything from their work to their family to their diet (the reason I know this is because i’m basically the poster child for this - and why I often refer to myself as a 'delicate flower' who must closely monitor my sleep, food, exercise, stress levels, etc. in order to NOT fall back into adrenal fatigue).

So if you're thinking you might have adrenal fatigue but aren't 100% convinced, here are some ways to know for sure that your cortisol is F***ed. 

1. Fatigue - Duh

If you feel like you’ve been hit by a bus in the morning, but get a second wind and feel super wired around 9/10 pm and can’t fall asleep, this is not normal.  A normal cortisol rhythm would have you feeling your most awake in the morning (when cortisol is highest) and drop off slowly the rest of the day (allowing for melatonin production to take over before you fall asleep)

The good news about having this symptom though, is that it means you are in the beginning stages of adrenal fatigue because cortisol is still being produced (just at the wrong times). Once you are in the later stages of adrenal fatigue, you will feel extremely tired at all times (with NO energy spikes) because cortisol levels will have nearly flatlined.

2. Low blood pressure/ Low blood sugar

If you get dizzy or see spots or even black out when you stand up - this is a big indicator that your blood pressure is very low - a common symptom of adrenal fatigue, because cortisol is responsible for monitoring blood pressure. Also, electrolyte/mineral balance is one of the functions of healthy adrenals, so when they are working improperly, it can effect your blood pressure (and cravings for salt). 

Another symptom that goes hand in hand with this one is intense cravings for salt and sugar - your body is smart and your adrenal glands thrive off of the minerals in salt - plus it knows that salt will help raise your blood pressure.  In addition, your body craves sugar as a way to temporarily increase blood sugar since hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is viewed as a "danger" to the body (and yet another result of disrupted cortisol).

Video more your thing? Watch my video about how to know if you have adrenal fatigue below!

 

3. increased cravings

Speaking of hypoglycemia - cortisol is needed to free up stored glucose from the liver and raise blood sugar - so when cortisol production is low (in advanced stages of adrenal fatigue) combined with high amounts of insulin from stress, your cells are unable to get the sufficient amount of glucose and nutrients that they require for energy production.

THIS MEANS THAT YOUR CELLS ARE LITERALLY STARVING FOR NUTRIENTS - which can lead to increased cravings, very little satiety from the foods you eat, and inevitably, weight gain.

4. weight gain (but it's not because you're eating too much)

Ohhh weight gain - this is another symptom of adrenal fatigue for the reason I just described, but ALSO because most people who are susceptible to adrenal fatigue have been fueling their bodies improperly for many years. On the one end this could be due to a standard american diet with tons of processed foods, trans fats, and sugar for many years, but much more commonly...

Adrenal fatigue occurs for reasons on the complete other end of the spectrum - and this looks like years of low-fat or low-calorie diets, past disordered eating patterns, over-exercise, or even constant stress about what your body looks like (mental stress IS STILL STRESS).

Listen, I know this is counterintuitive- and against the mainstream advice of "eating less and exercising more" in order to lose weight. If this theory actually worked, WAY fewer women would be struggling with their weight.

But the body is more than a math equation- and your metabolism is not as simple as calories in vs calories out. 

Say you eat 1200-1500 calories a day (as recommended by many fitness/diet magazines) and workout intensely for 1 hour a day. Your basal metabolic rate (the amount of calories you burn just to be alive and lay in bed all day) is roughly 1200 calories depending on your build. Subtract around 400 calories from that for your workout, and you are already in a deficit. 

This COULD mean initial weight loss, but what generally happens is that after a few weeks or months your body will rebelle (he,he) and say WTF! THIS IS STRESSFUL! I'M IN A FAMINE!

...and then, because the body is incredible and is trying to save your life, it will down-regulate your metabolism and hold onto nearly every calorie you eat out of fear that you will starve. Not to mention, hormones are created from the nutrients that we eat. So that means a deficit of nutrients/calories means a deficit, or even lack of production of adrenal hormones like cortisol - but also of sex hormones like progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, etc. 

As you can imagine, this is where hormonal problems like missing periods, infertility, hot flashes, brutal menopause, and even hormonal acne come into play- and are yet another symptom of adrenal fatigue.

If any of the things I just talked about resonated with you, first and foremost -

DON'T PUT YOURSELF FURTHER INTO ADRENAL FATIGUE BY STRESSING OUT ABOUT IT!

 

Want more adrenal fatigue resources? Grab the cheatsheet on healing adrenal fatigue!

 

 

XO,

Amie

Questions? Comments? Leave them below!

Our Negative Thought Patterns Are Keeping Us Sick (Rebelle Nutrition)

The words you speak become the house you live in - Hafiz

If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you know that I am a firm believer that nourishment is about more than the food we put into our mouths. The way that we eat has a direct influence on our health: for example, eating in a sympathetic state (read: stressed) actually causes digestion to be impaired and stomach acid production to be halted. 

But what about our thoughts about the food we eat? Our thoughts about our health problems? Our thoughts about our bodies? Do these thoughts become self-fulfilling prophecies?

There is energy behind every thought we think and decision that we make. Whether this is energy is positive or negative, is completely up to us. 

Having worked with many people who have chronic health challenges (myself included - I was my first client!) I wonder how many of these issues would be resolved if we changed our thoughts about our food, our bodies, and even our lives. 

This is not to say that nutrient-dense food and proper supplementation don't have a place - they absolutely do - but I believe that they are only half of the solution. 

The Food We Eat

When you sit down for a delicious meal, are you focused on the fact that you have a slow metabolism and everything you eat causes weight gain?

Are you afraid to eat almost anything (even vegetables!) out of fear that it will cause six-month-pregnant-looking bloating?

Eating in a sympathetic state (caused by stress) actually reduces levels of HCL in the stomach, causing impaired digestion and bloating no matter what food you are eating. 

These are some of my favorite examples to use because in this case, because the negative outcome you are focusing on actually WILL come true if this is your mindset.  Another good example of this is how eating out-of-your normal diet foods while on vacation or surrounded by your besties will often cause no reaction; but when you bring your nutrient-dense paleo lunch to work and your co-worker won't stop talking about her marital problems, you get a stomach ache.  

Our Health

Do you walk around with the belief that you are tired, lethargic, and that everything you eat will make you break out?

Ok, so this example was actually ME. I used to (subconsciously) tell myself daily that being a low energy person was just who I was; and that I needed to monitor my food intake very carefully in order not to have any digestive or skin- related reactions. 

These issues were was partially alleviated through calming the F down with my exercise and removing gluten, but the even bigger game changer for me was starting to QUESTION these beliefs. 

  • Am I really a low energy person?

  • Does everything I eat really hurt my stomach? (Or am I hyper-focused on everything I am putting into my body, causing unnecessary stress?)

Turns out, the answers to both of these questions were NO. Instead of telling myself the self-deprecating story that I had chronic fatigue and bloating, I started to imagine what it would feel like to wake up every morning full of energy. I repeated mantras in my journal that were the EXACT opposite of everything I had been telling myself for years. Here are some examples:

  • I am healthy and full of energy
  • I am able to digest everything I eat
  • The nutrient dense food I eat is healing my body and skin
  • I have a fast metabolism and healthy hormones

I'll be honest, I felt a little crazy and "out there" when I first started doing this. How could this really make a difference in what I was feeling in my body?

Our Lives

Even if you have an amazing relationship to food and your body (which i'm guessing that you don't since you are reading this ;)) it is likely that your negative thoughts have influenced your life, whether subconsciously or not. 

Take a minute to think about the biggest goal you have in your life right now - Now, take a minute to write down the first three things that come to mind when you consider achieving this goal. Most likely, the first 3 things that come up will be reasons why this goal will be difficult for you, or why you can't do it, or why someone else has already done it better than you. Why? because we are human, and the human mind is programmed to see the negative as a protective mechanism.

But this doesn't mean that we need to accept these thoughts as truth and settle with a mediocre life because we aren't rich enough or young enough or pretty enough. 

It means that we must recognize these thoughts and replace them with reasons why we WILL achieve this goal, HOW we will do it, and WHY we are capable right now. 

At this point, what do you have to lose? If you can't seem to get rid of your bloating no matter how many supplements you take, or have been feeling negatively about your body no matter how many books you read on the topic, why not start trying to shift your mindset around food and body (easily and cheaply I might add) and see how it spills into every other area of your life?

I guarantee that changing your thoughts around food, your body, and your life will not only help you create more positive habits and feelings, but will actually leave you feeling more inspired than ever.

For this reason, I created a super awesome (printable) worksheet to help you get started and make the process of shifting your mindset around food and your health an easier one. Just click the button below to download!