We’ve all been brought up to believe that our body weight is simply a calories in calories out equation. Those of us who struggle with our weight are simply not trying hard enough, right?
In the modern world, this isn’t actually accurate for a large portion of the population. You see, our adrenal glands determine what our bodies do with food depending on if we are in survival mode or not. When we are healthy and thriving, our bodies burn fat and we feel energized. When we are stressed and in survival mode our bodies hold on to as much fat (specifically belly fat also known as visceral fat) as they can in order to protect us. Calories are literally taken from our muscles and diverted to our fat cells. To make matters worse, when you are in survival mode most people prefer foods that can lead to weight gain like sugar, salt and unhealthy fats. When is the last time you came home after a rough day and comforted yourself with a bowl of veggies?
Cortisol, which is released by the adrenal glands, behaves differently in the brain, liver and belly fat depending on if we are in survival mode or not. If we are thriving, you eat when you are hungry and the body is able to adjust the metabolism in order to maintain a healthy weight. In survival mode, however, cortisol causes a disruption in the adrenal rhythm which makes us slow down and store fat.
What has caused so many people’s flip to switch and the adrenals to signal to the body to move into survival mode? It can be a variety of things from physical stress, environmental stress, dietary stress and mental stress. Things like food sensitivities, fructose, processed food, pollutants and life stressors come into play.
Lifestyle changes are critical in promoting adrenal health. Eliminating processed food, fructose and food allergens is key. (Common food allergens include dairy, gluten, soy and eggs.) Though we live in a toxic world, controlling the amount of toxins also important. This isn’t easy as there are over 3 million synthetic chemicals! Most people are surprised to learn that research supports that toxic exposure is one of the key factors in the obesity epidemic. Some of these are actually categorized as obesogens, meaning they can cause obesity unrelated to overeating.
I’ve started making our cleaners, using more natural beauty products using essential oils and eliminating plastics. We filter our water using a Berkley filter so that it retains the healthy minerals will stripping out all the bad stuff. (Did you know that birth control hormones have been detected in water? Yuk.) To support your adrenal glands and thyroid, one of the most important things you can do is work to reduce your toxic load.
And let’s talk about sleep. You simply can’t lose weight without deep sleep. This has been backed by numerous studies. Adrenal stress prevents cortisol levels from sitting down all the way. Calories end up creating fat while the muscle tissue is starved. Thus begins a vicious cycle of weight gain and fatigue. Consuming carbohydrates at night lowers your nighttime cortisol production and can help to reverse the effect that processed foods have on visceral fat.
Essential Oils to Maintain Adrenal Health
In addition to cleaning up your diet, removing toxins and managing sleep and stress, I’ve found that essential oils can be very helpful in managing adrenal health.
Here is what I do to keep my Adrenals Healthy:
Three Amazing Supplements (I can’t live without these!) (email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want more information)
Metabolic Blend (3-5 a day to promote healthy cortisol levels – not to mention other benefits like appetite control)
2 drops basil on each forearm (2 times a day)
2 drops clove, 2 drops rosemary, 1 drop geranium – place over the kidney area (2 times a day) If possible cover with a warm compress for 15 minutes.