I probably caught your attention with this post title because all of us women have experienced one, some, or ALL of these before! Yes, as women we do journey through ebbs and flows of hormonal fluctuations , as we experience our periods almost half of our lives! However, there is also an pandemic of us women who feel that "its just how it is. I am woman and being tired, wired and gaining weight for no reason, is just how it is." If you do feel this way, no worries, it is not your fault! We definitetely have not been give the tools and education to be our own detectives when we start to feel at the affect of our bodies and hormones.
In fact, MANY of us do not even realize that our hormones could even cause things like weight gain and fatigue. Well..take a deep breath, because it is true! Hormones, your endrocrine system , and how they all are communicating with each other is the KEY to uncovering some of the reasons to why you may be feeling like crap. And the good thing is, is if you are reading this post, then you can take another deep breath, because I am here to help you with your detective work:)
So, what do wired, tired, anxious, moody, and weight gain all have in common? All of these are classic signs of some very important glands you have in your body, called your adrenal glands, and how they may be depleted and asking for your help! These glands sit on top of your kidneys and are responsible for managing all the stress , of ALL kinds! (see my post "50 Shades of Stress.) They secrete a hormone called cortisol.
Cortisol is what allows us to deal with the stress in our lives. We definitely want cortisol to help us deal with deadlines, crying babies, colds and flus, and even big , happy , events like a planning a wedding. BUT...yes, of course there is a but, we CAN NOT KEEP ASKING OUR ADRENALS TO KEEP UP WITH OUR FAST PACED LIFESTYLE.
When you’re chronically stressed out, especially over many years, your adrenal glands simply can’t keep up with the demand for stress hormones, and they crash, potentially contributing to Adrenal Fatigue.
Adrenal Fatigue, or insufficiency, or dysfunction is exactly that- your adrenal glands may be fatigued and causing issues in the body. Adrenal Fatigue is characterized by experiencing many of a long list of symptoms, which you can see below. Adrenal Fatigue doesn’t happen over night- it’s something that comes about after years of health issues and stress.
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue include:
- Feeling tired and wired in the evenings, can’t get to or stay asleep and then are bone tired all day long even after drinking coffee
- Irrational anger, irritability, anxiety or are quick to cry
- Constant fatigue
- Weight gain, especially in the belly area
- Blood sugar control issues
- Low blood pressure
- Low blood sugar
- Inability to handle stress
- Low resilience
- Cravings, especially for salty foods
- Reliance on stimulants like coffee and sugar to get through the day
- Weak immune system- chronic colds, flus and other infections
- Mild depression
- Lack of motivation or “get up and go:
- Short fuse
- Brain fog or poor memory
- Inability to concentrate
- Low libido
- Severe PMS
All of these symptoms are the result of your adrenals essentially taking a back seat with your cortisol and leave your body feeling depleted, your mood off and unhappy, and your metabolism stuck feeling like you are in survival mode and will not shed the weight.
Like I said before, ALL OF YOUR HORMONES NEED TO COMMUNICATE EFFORTLESSLY in order for you to feel and look your best. Your adrenals, ladies, are at the root of making this seamless communication occur. Your hormones - estrogen, progesterone, DHEA, thyroid- that cycle through each month and each day- all rely on the adrenals to be in the best shape they can be, so they can support you to feel happy, rested, energized, and maintain the weight that feels good on you.
As well, our adrenal glands are in direct connection to our seat of our pelvic floor. All the energy associated with our pelvic floor, and womb, are effected , and contribute to, our adrenals being depleted. The adrenals are connected to the sacral chakra, which is responsible for some of the sexual organs as well as the adrenal gland, oversees immunity, emotion and vitality. It can easily be burned out from suppressing emotions or feeling at the "lack" of something in our lives. Lack of money, time, love, material desires. All of these deeper feeling are related to sacral/root center and tie directly into the support of our adrenals. For women, this is huge, because I believe many of our root desires and wounds surface for us as we move through the light and dark of cycles, each month, and throughout our life. I see it as the strong thread that runs between the wisdom our cycle holds and the teachings of self-care , as women , we have the opportunity to learn from;
So, what can you do to support your adrenals?
- REST, SLOW DOWN, REST: I really believe that because our adrenals are so linked to our hormonal well being , they are in a way here to teach us the bigger lesson of self care as women. Self care means nourishing our YIN and the more we nourish our YIN, the more balanced we feel and ultimately more connected to our feminine rhythms and nature. Looking for places in your life where you can slow down and do less is a great way to nourish your adrenals. Scan your day and see where maybe you are charging forward and replace this with a way of slowing down. Take a 10 min walk away from your computer. Take a hike instead of that 5 mile run. Set a timer on your phone to check in and see if you are rushing through your day and if so, stop, and slow down!
- SLEEP: If you find yourself feeling anxious, tired, or even feel like your pants are fitting too tight, then GET MORE SLEEP. This means MAKE THE COMMITMENT to get into bed by 10pm , shooting for 8 hours of sleep. Our adrenals , and stress, dictate our sleep cycles. If we are burning the candle all the way until bed time, your body will not have the ability to "wind down" and prepare for the sleep the way you are used to. Making a commitment for the hours after you eat (by 7pm) until 10pm as your "winding down" time, will support your body into prepping for sleep. Things like taking a bath, versus watching TV or computer time , is nourishing for your adrenals.
- EAT FAT: Yup , thats right, EAT FAT. Fat is the juice your adrenals need to operate. Fat is also the main food source that feed and start the communication of the rest of our female hormones. Without enough fat in your diet, you are lacking the raw material needed to keep your nervous system calm, so the rest of your body can function the way we want it to (sleep, metabolism, mood.) Fuel your day with YIN nourishing fats like: avocado, coconut oil, nuts (walnuts and almonds), flax seed oil and raw seed, and ghee. Not all fat is created equal, so back off canola oil (found in most prepared foods), sunflower oil, and any trans fat found in conventional , packaged foods.
- DITCH THE SUGAR: Yes, DITCH the sugar, not limit the sugar. Foods with added sugar..which are everywhere if you are not reading labels...is a major adrenal stressor and can cause mood, weight, and anxiousness. When we consume sugar, we raise our insulin, and every time this happens, our cortisol (adrenals) get involved. Eating simple sugars , raising insulin, and getting your cortisol involved, all create a recipe for hormonal disaster. Your blood sugar eventually becomes dependent on your eating sugar because the gummy bears or that chocolate cake you ate spike up your insulin really fast and then 2 seconds later it drops, leaving your body dying for some more fuel , again. If you are a sugar addict, most likely , you will grab something that has sugar in it again, maybe a coffee drink at Starbucks this time, and then you are off to the races on the sugar merry-go-round. Your adrenals will get involved in this process, time after time, until eventually you have taxed them out and all that sugar remains on your hips versus for fuel. If you are reading this and thinking you do not eat gummy bears or cake often, great!, but truth be known the amount of sugar we eat can sneak up on us in things such as "health drinks" (aka sweetened teas and caffeine drinks, most have about 24 grams a sugar in a bottle!) or overloading on simple carbs- breads, flour wraps, pastries, cookies. Get in the practice of being mindful of how much sugar you are eating throughout your day.
These are all very transformative tools and daily habits of awareness -like how much sugar you are eating- and they can all definitely make a difference if you apply them! Becoming more in sync with our hormones and feminine body only takes a little more than bringing attention to you daily habits. Once you become aware, I promise you, it get's easier and actually gives you the awards of feeling good!
I hope this serves you!