Falling Apart, To Rebuild Stronger
Are you unable to fall asleep at night, besides being tired? Have uterine fibroids, or unexplained cravings for fatty and high protein foods? Perhaps even feel like you’re running on high risk towards breast cancer…!? Some of these things hit home for me recently. Following several years of feeling “not quite 100%” I started to wonder if these things were symptoms of a greater, less desirable cause. Something I could take action on! I wanted to find out.
Never be afraid to fall apart because it is an opportunity to rebuild yourself the way you wish you had been all along.
What I Did To Find Answers
First stop for me is always the traditional medicine doctor. She was very helpful, with ultrasounds and blood tests plus even referral to a specialist. I appreciated that greatly. But still, I felt like something was missing and I started to read about adrenal fatigue, especially since I was fuelled by caffeine most waking hours of the day!
I’d read somewhere that conventional medicine can’t detect problems in adrenal hormones through blood tests unless it is crazy severe, like for diseases associated with autoimmune problems. You can ask the lab to include your adrenals when they do your blood test. Mine came back normal because it’s almost impossible to detect.
What Is Adrenal Fatigue?
Your body copes with every physical and mental stress that we go through by having our adrenal glands release cortisol. Cortisol is jam-packed with stress regulating functions and it’s all for the purpose of returning us to the normal physiological state. In prolonged stressed conditions, however, a time comes when the adrenals simply can’t keep up and produce enough amounts of the hormone. This is the stage when you’re said to be having adrenal fatigue. Due to less hormonal production, symptoms occur that affects all of the body.
What The Doctor Says
As a board certified anti-aging physician, Michael Lam, MD, is internationally recognized for his expertise with Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. He is the author of the reference book Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, which presents the neuroendocrine basis of the condition and draws upon years of clinical experience helping countless around the world recover.
“Chronic stress is common in western society. Adrenal Fatigue occurs when the amount of stress exceeds the capacity of the body to compensate and recover.” – Dr. Michael Lam, M.D.
The Reduced Appetite Connection
It doesn’t only take external stressors to tire our adrenal glands. Much of it is what is stressing your body from the inside. If you consistently consume fewer calories than what your body needs, it may lead to adrenal fatigue as this is a state mimicking starvation. Starvation is really stressful on the body, as you can imagine!
Your metabolism and digestion will no longer be stable, and working out will be impossible because your body will lose its ability to recover. This is what happened to me, not from eating too less but from running my adrenals down so low. It was so hard because being tired all the time made me want espresso all the time. Before I knew it, my consumption was in excess. I should have taken the time to rest. Now I’m wiser… now I’m taking care of myself properly. If you do one thing for yourself, learn from my mistake. Slow down!
The Powerful Benefits Of Eating Enough
We need nutrients to function and we essentially need calories to get the energy needed to live; they keep our functions going — digestion, heartbeat, vital organs, brain activity, etc. Although The Planet Friendly Diet that our guests follow is only 1,200 calories, this is meant as a 60- day program and is mainly adapted for weight loss. There are harmful effects when you eat less than 1500 calories for more than two months or so (I don’t recommend it).
The right amount of calories differs for everyone as it relates to current weight, height and exercise goals. But in order to make sure yours are in the healthy range, eat 3 meals with snacking in between and of course stop before you’re full so you don’t consume more than needed.
Feeling Like Yourself Again
Returning the body back to its basic needs is essential during the recovery stages of adrenal fatigue and associated hormonal imbalance. It simply doesn’t have the energy to digest or metabolize complex foods. It helped me to kick off my gentle plan thinking of myself like a baby, still developing my gastric intestinal tract.
My naturopath put me on a low-carbohydrate, high fat, and moderate protein diet – I’m just a couple of weeks into eating this way and so far it has been very comfortable. Above all, it has been CALMING. I feel stable in my blood sugar throughout the day. That’s a major win for me! This plan is also in conjunction with a liver cleanse supplementation, and includes no refined sugar, coffee or alcohol. The original plan was to do this for 3 weeks, but when I went back for my follow up an appointment, tests showed that my liver had significantly improved. So I decided to continue for another 21 days.
I did cave once and have a coffee. My stomach expanded as if I were heavily pregnant and felt like I was kicked in the stomach. That was from a double shot soy cappuccino. Coffee was my major weakness and –dare I say – addiction right up until the day that I walked into the naturopath’s office. According to experts such as Dr. Lam, an excess of caffeine (especially several years of it) is one of the big no’s when it comes to healing hormonal issues associated with adrenal fatigue.
I was skeptical about reintroducing foods… so I instead took a trip to David’s Tea, my favorite tea store. They took time to show me how to mix up my own Matcha Latte with Thrilla Vanilla ohhh yes, that sure is fabulous in the morning with non-fat vanilla almond milk.
What Helped Me Start Healing
Oh golly, there are so many things that I could suggest. From embracing a holistic diet, ditching the aggressive food in your diet like gluten, wheat, sugar, dairy… to expressing and acknowledging gratitude more often.
Hands down the best online resource for adrenal fatigue is DrLam.com .They offer customized lifestyle coaching and nutritional support factoring in your history, genetics, multi-organ involvement, laboratory assessment, and constitution.
There is also a free downloadable guide here that I found to be quite useful.
Some Final Thoughts
Consult your general physician or an endocrinologist with concerns relating to symptoms. You may find it useful to get an ultrasound to see if you have fibroids. One of the causes is excess of estrogen, which goes hand-in-hand with your adrenals being burnt out. If you are feeling something and you think there may be something wrong inside your body, trust your instinct. Find your balance, believe that it will be better, and start your first steps to a better life.