paleo diet

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!

The 3 Biggest Myths About Eating Paleo

I don't know about you, but when I first started learning about Paleo, I thought there was NO possible way I could make it work for me. (Unsure what Paleo means? check out my last post here)

At the time, I was addicted to diet coke, eating Kashi-go lean cereal for most meals, and using Splenda to "cure" my sugar cravings. Eating real food seemed like a novel concept to me, and as much as I wanted to try it out and remove all of the fake crap from my diet, I was scared.

I had so many misconceptions about what eating Paleo meant, that it kept me from successfully improving my diet for years. If I would have been able to change my perfectionistic view, give myself some grace, and do a little research, I not only would have felt much more empowered in my decisions, but I would have realized that I was making it much more difficult than it needed to be.

Myth #1: Paleo means Whole-30ing for the rest of your life

Whole-30 is a month long eating plan that excludes dairy, grains, legumes, sugar, alcohol, and processed/artificial foods. Basically, a strict Paleo diet. Doing a Whole-30 can be an awesome way to re-set taste buds, discover food sensitivities, and improve energy. For all-or-nothing-ers like myself, 30 days is okay - but what if I could do this strict Paleo plan for 60 or 90 or 360 days?! Certainly that would give me perfect skin, hormones, and soaring energy...right? 

Unfortunately, having a perfectionistic and dogmatic view about any way of eating, including Paleo, is what sets us up for failure. It's also the reason why "diets" don't work long term.  Allowing yourself a treat that you love that has no negative consequences is the best way to stay satisfied, sane, and motivated to continue to nourish your body with nutrient dense foods.

Myth#2: If you're not cooking all of your own meals, you're doing it wrong

Bone broth, meal prep, homemade everything...these were the things I believed were non-negotiable if I wanted to eat Paleo. Look, if you do all of these things, I honestly think you are amazing! (Come cook for me?) But I personally have about 100 other things i'd rather be doing in a day than slaving away in the kitchen. Luckily, Paleo eating has become a lot more mainstream in the past few years and it is SUPER easy to get pre-prepped and nutrient dense snack options no matter where you live. Here are some of my favorite resources:

Epic Bars, Rx bars

My favorite chocolate

Bone broth

Thrive Market

Collagen peptides

 Coconut butter (my newest obsession)

Canned salmon

Costco has TONS of Paleo friendly options too, like:

Aidell's chicken sausage, grass-fed beef burgers, organic frozen fruit and veggies, Coconut oil, Love Beets, Hope Hummus (Not techincally "Paleo" but a great example of eating foods that work for you whether they are "Paleo" or not)

Obviously, these options require that you pay a little more for the convenience factor. So decide what works best for you! Do you have extra time to dedicate to planning and prepping? Or would you rather pay a few extra bucks so you can spend your weekends dancing, surfing, brunching, etc? 

Myth #3 Paleo is just another diet

I'm gonna be super honest...when I first started eating Paleo, I told myself it was because my health was declining, and I felt like shit. This was true, but at the time I was still very stuck in the "diet" mentality, and my hope was that Paleo would finally be the answer to my personal war with food. At first, I treated Paleo like it was "just another diet" (albeit a waaaaay healthier version of what I was previously eating) but I made sure I counted every calorie and didn't eat too much fat.

Despite treating it as "just another diet", some crazy shit started happening after only a few short months. My acid reflux went away, my bloating decreased, my hair stopped falling out, and my depression nearly vanished. I even put on some muscle that I had lost (yay for nutrients) and actually stopped obsessing about my body so much. (Improving mental health is one of the GREATEST benefits of a paleo diet, in my opinion) 

This is not to say that I didn't do a lot of work around mindset as well, but I do believe that being properly nourished was a key factor in my ability to do this. 

As I started to obsess less about food and my body, I also become much less perfectionistic around my "Paleo diet" and started incorporating things that, although banned by the Paleo police, worked well for me and my body. (I.e: hummus, legumes, rice, gluten-free treats and the occasional tequila shot ;))

I also stopped viewing food as "good" or "bad" and simply started viewing certain things as more nutrient dense, or less nutrient dense. Both are totally fine, and I know that days or even weeks worth of less nutrient dense foods will always leave me craving more nutrient dense options, because...#balance.

For these reasons, modifying a Paleo style of eating to fit YOUR needs is the farthest thing from "just another diet." This truly requires a mindset shift, especially for those people who have been on the dieting bandwagon for many years. 

Want more info on transitioning to a paleo-ish diet?