Tag Archives: chronic stress

Did stress push you off the healthy habits wagon? How to get back on track

stress derailed health habits

It seems the times when we most need to support ourselves with healthy habits is when we are most apt to fall off the wagon. It can happen during major life changes or stressors, such as a move, the end of a relationship, or change in job status. Although the desire to comfort ourselves with sweets, junk foods, and too many days off from the gym are powerful, in the long run slacking off just adds to the stress. Instead of beating yourself up (which just causes even more stress), honor the fact that you’re in a tough spot and take small measures to slowly work your way back into a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Once you see how even the smallest changes transform into more energy and peace of mind it will motivate you to increasingly expand what you include in your healthy habits routine.

With that in mind, here are some gentle and easy steps to keep you from getting sucked into the abyss of destructive habits during stressful times.

Go for a walk. Have you stopped working out? Then walking is a gentle, pleasurable way to reawaken your physical body while settling the mind. Exercise is a magic bullet when it comes to health, but too much exercise stresses the body and causes inflammation. If a major life stressor has you feeling weaker and more tired than normal, that may be your body’s way of telling you it needs extra rest to cope. Walking’s physical benefits are only part of the story; research shows walking, especially in a natural environment, lowers stress, anxiety, and depression while boosting energy.

Make veggie smoothies. When we’re beset by stress, healthy cooking can seem overwhelming. Frozen pizza or bowls of cereal may feel comforting at first, but their effects on your blood sugar stability and brain chemistry will soon spike stress levels. One way to outsmart comfort-food cravings is to make veggie smoothies. Simply combine a few different vegetables, such as carrots, celery, beet, some salad or leafy greens, cucumber, avocado, ginger, etc. with filtered water, a small bit of fruit for taste and, if desired, some lemon juice and salt. People with hypothyroidism should be careful not to overuse raw cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, kale, or broccoli as it can inhibit thyroid function. Also, avoid the temptation to rely on all fruit smoothies or the use of super-sweet additions such as pineapple or fruit juice. The high sugar content creates stress for the body, something you don’t need more of.

Eating lots of veggies also improves the balance of your gut bacteria, which play a profound role in mood, stress, weight, and immunity.

Don’t be a hermit. When stress is high it’s tempting to retreat under a rock, but isolation can compound your troubles. Ample research has shown the stress-lowering and health-boosting benefits of healthy socialization. Get together with friends, join meetup.com groups, take classes, go to church…being around other people boosts feel-good brain chemicals and is a reminder you’re not the only one with big life struggles.

So just how stressed out are you? An adrenal saliva test can show you

adrenal-exhaustion-chronic-stress-adrenal-saliva-test

It’s a constant refrain: We’re too stressed out. But how stressed out are we really? An adrenal saliva test can tell you whether your cortisol (the stress hormone) is too high or too low, whether your circadian rhythm (the sleep-wake cycle) is normal, and also pin point the cause of your symptoms: adrenal fatigue or high adrenal hormones.

Symptoms of adrenal fatigue

  • Fatigue
  • Slow to get going in the morning
  • Energy crash in the afternoon
  • Craving sweets, caffeine, or nicotine
  • Unstable behavior; moodiness
  • Shaky, light-headed, or irritable if meals are delayed
  • Inability to stay asleep
  • Dizziness when moving from sitting to standing

Symptoms of high adrenal hormones

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Can pregnancy cause hypothyroidism?

Question

Why did pregnancy trigger my hypothyroidism?

Answer

Natural immune shifts during pregnancy, together with a genetic tendency and other predisposing factors, can trigger hypothyroidism in some women.

Hypothyroidism is an immune disease for most

For 90 percent of Americans, hypothyroidism is caused by Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys the thyroid gland.

The immune system has two major arms of function, one that reacts immediately to an invader, and one that reacts later to produce antibodies. When one of these arms of becomes overly dominant it can trigger an autoimmune disease.

Going into pregnancy predisposed

Pregnancy and the postpartum periods naturally polarize the immune system. In the third trimester the delayed immune response is dominant. Postpartum the immediate immune reaction is stronger.

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Food allergies can prevent weight loss

Question

I learned I have intolerances and allergies to certain foods, and that I need to avoid those foods if I want to lose weight. Isn’t it just a matter of eating fewer calories?

Answer

Some people find they can’t lose weight through calorie restriction alone. When that happens several issues need to be investigated. One of the most important is food intolerances. Eating foods to which you are allergic or intolerant will prevent weight loss.

Food intolerances cause inflammation

Food intolerances and allergies create inflammation, and inflammation prevents weight loss. Every time you eat gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, corn, or some other food that may be a problem for you, you create inflammation in your body.

Leaky gut is a primary culprit

For many people today, a variety of foods trigger inflammation. This is due largely to intestinal permeability, or “leaky gut,” which allows undigested food particles to slip into the bloodstream through damaged and inflamed intestinal walls. Leaky gut is very common today due to poor diets, excessive sweets, chronic stress, and other maladies of modern life. Gluten intolerance and celiac disease are also common and cause leaky gut. Continue reading

Could I have a food intolerance?

Question

I’m told food intolerances can be affecting my health. How can this be true when I don’t have any digestive symptoms?

Answer

Sometimes it’s difficult to connect a food we eat every day with such health complaints as joint pain, brain fog, mood imbalances, congestion, skin rashes, or chronic inflammation. It’s not obvious a particular food is at fault until after you quit eating it for a period of time.

The elimination/provocation diet

A variety of lab panels can diagnose food allergies and intolerances, however sometimes the most reliable test is to go cold turkey on a group of common foods for several weeks. Continue reading

Why is menopause so hard for some women?

Question

I’m going through menopause and feel like I’m falling apart. I get severe hot flashes, mood swings that border on psychosis, and my brain isn’t working. Why?

Answer

As the ovaries begin to wind down production of the sex hormones the adrenal glands, our stress organs, are supposed to take over that job. Unfortunately by the time most women reach menopause their adrenal glands are worn out and not up to the task of taking over the production of sex hormones. Continue reading

Why can’t I lose weight?

Question

It seems all my attempts to lose weight and get rid of my belly fat fail. Is there hope for me?

Answer

Absolutely. Normal attempts at weight loss can fail if you’re battling any metabolic disorders.

When you are doing all the right things but still not losing weight you may have some health issues sabotaging your efforts.

Issues that can hinder weight loss:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Food intolerances
  • High cortisol
  • Insulin resistance
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Is life really overwhelming, or are you just stressed out?

Question

I feel totally overwhelmed by life and like I can barely cope. I can’t quit my job, give away my children, or afford a cook and a housecleaner. Is there anything I can do for my stress levels?

Answer

Sometimes you can dramatically alter a stressful life simply by addressing your own stress physiology. By supporting the body’s stress mechanisms the same daily duties seem less taxing.

Are you in adrenal overdrive or adrenal fatigue?

Americans are notoriously stressed out and frequently produce either too much or not enough of the stress hormone cortisol, both of which impact how you perceive stress.

A hectic lifestyle and lack of sleep aren’t the only things that contribute to adrenal dysfunction. Other factors include a diet high in starchy, sugary, and processed foods, leaky gut, gut infections, hormonal imbalances, and chronic inflammation.

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