One of the most common complaints you’ll hear from people is that they are stressed out. Whether you’re overworked, have money issues, are eating poorly, not exercising enough, or not resting enough, at some point you have probably dealt with a high level of stress.
While completely avoiding stress in your life is pretty much impossible, it’s very important to regulate your stress so that it doesn’t negatively affect you. Specifically, so that your stress doesn’t prevent you from losing fat.
If you are chronically stressed all the time, it can cause some pretty serious issues with your body, including bone loss, pain, inflammation, decreased immune system function, and increased fat storage. If that’s not enough to convince you you need to control stress, then let me give you some more details on what happens when you’re stressed out all the time.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue occurs when you’re overstressed for a long period of time, and your adrenal glands begin to function below the necessary levels required for you to feel “normal”. There are three stages of adrenal fatigue, stage 3 being the worst. The list of symptoms for adrenal fatigue read like your average american’s problems: depression, feeling tired or overwhelmed for no reason, having trouble getting up in the morning even when you go to bed at a reasonable hour, craving salty or sweet snacks, or feeling more alert after 6pm than you do all day. Those symptoms are quite common – and the truth is, adrenal fatigue is quite common. Most people are overly stressed – it’s rare that someone’s adrenals are not fatigued in some way. So, what are the stages of adrenal fatigue?
Stage 1 – Stress Overload
The most common stage, stage 1 is when your body is in “chronic stress overload”. Basically, regardless of the source of stress, your body’s reaction will always be the same. Your adrenal glands make more of the stress hormones cortisol and DHEA. Usually this lasts for a short while, and then your body has time to recover for the next stressful event. However, if you’re chronically stressed, your cortisol and DHEA levels will remain high, and your body will be locked in a state of adrenal stress. I should also mention here that high levels of cortisol help create a catabolic (muscle breakdown) environment, and tell your body to store as much fat as possible. Not as good thing for someone looking to lose belly fat. Because your body does not have an unlimited supply of cortisol and DHEA, over time, your adrenals will begin to lose their ability to produce these stress hormones, making it harder for your body to deal with stress. And this leads into…
Stage 2 – Adrenal Fatigue
Stage 2 adrenal fatigue occurs when you’ve been chronically overstressed for a long time, usually around 6-18 months. At this point, your adrenals function has been compromised and their ability to produce cortisol and DHEA has been decreased. Also, at this point, your sex drive will be diminishing as when your cortisol and DHEA levels start to drop, your levels of sex hormones (testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone) also drop as well. And trust me, that is NOT a good thing. Symptoms such as mood swings, irritability, sweet cravings, and headaches can be related to your adrenals no longer being able to deal with stress. If you continue to have stress in your life, you enter into…
Stage 3 – Adrenal Exhaustion
At this point, your adrenals are barely functioning. Chronic fatigue, depression, depressed mental function, poor memory, and mental confusion can be symptoms of stage 3 adrenal fatigue. Also, at this point, your body is even less able to produce sex hormones, and your sex drive will be significantly reduced. If you are at stage 3 or feel like you are at stage 3, I highly recommend you seek a naturopathic doctor — I would recommend speaking to Dr. Kalish over at www.DrKalish.com.
How To Deal With Stress
Okay, so now that we’ve put the fear of god in you about stress and how it can mess up not only your ability to lose fat, but your ability to build muscle, and function as a normal human being, let’s talk solutions: how do we deal with stress?
Here’s 5 big tips for reducing stress:
Probably the single biggest cause of stress is from lack of sleep. If you are not sleeping at least 7-8 hours a day then you are not giving your body enough time to recover from the day. I cannot stress the importance of sleep enough – try to go to bed by 10 at the latest and wake up at 6 – that is your body’s natural schedule and the more you can adhere to it, the better off you’ll be.
2. Don’t eat processed foods.
The less processed foods you have, the better. Processed foods will generally have unnatural chemicals and toxins inside of them that wreak havoc on your body’s digestive system. As much as you can, try to stick to organic, whole foods.
3. Do fun things!
Go outside! Play sports! Be social! One of the best ways to reduce stress is to simply have fun. If you’re not doing something fun at least for an hour a day, get on it! You only live once.
Sex is one of the absolute best ways to reduce stress. It also boost immunes function, burns calories, improves cardiovascular health, boost self -esteem, reduces pain, reduces prostate cancer risk, and help you sleep better. Oh, and it’s a lot of fun. If you’re chronically stressed, more sex might be just the right prescription for you.
5. Exercise every day.
Aside from all of the fact that exercise will help you lose fat and build muscle, it will help you, think better, feel better, and sleep better. You should be doing SOMETHING active at least 30-45 minutes every day. And honestly, if you’re looking to lose belly fat and you’re NOT exercising – you’re completely sabotaging your efforts.
That’s it! How do you deal with stress? Let us know in the comments section below.