How many of the following have you been told?
You just need to exercise more/ sleep more/ eat more kale.
What do you expect at your age?
There is nothing wrong with you.
It’s all in your head.
Those are lies!! Lies I tell you!!
It is not in your head. It is in your hormones.
And you don’t have to just live with it. Its 2018. A woman ran for president. The #MeToo movement has lanced the boil of corporate sponsored abuse. Charlize Theron made the same as her male co-star.
Okay, so we have a way to go. But you don’t have to accept the “hysteria” brush-off when it comes to your potential awesomeness.
So what is the Tired, Fat, Feel Like Crap cycle, and how did you get here?
The short answer is: survival instincts run amok. Our human super power is our ability to survive almost anything. Seriously, we are up there with cockroaches and kudzu for our ability to colonize all manner of environments. And when we got bored living on dirt and water we flung ourselves through to atmosphere to colonize a tube in constant free fall surrounded by the vacuum of space. We are amazing.
However, the same set up that can create cosmonauts can also create a chaos of stress signals that suck us into a game of endocrinological whack-a mole. We get distracted by the latest crisis, and live in a permanent state of fight or flight. And since we are fighting our email in-box and fleeing from traffic fight or flight quickly turns into stress and store.
Constant aggravation weakens our stress response When our stress response is weakened we can’t keep inflammation in check effectively. Increased inflammation is a nutritional drain. Depletion of nutrient levels further weakens our stress response. This chronically shifts blood supply away from our digestive system, causing poor absorption of proteins and other macronutrients. Poor nutrient absorption causes a decreased repair ability and more inflammation.
Welcome to the Tired Fat Feel Like Crap Cycle. Are you ready to leave yet?
THE FIXER UPPER STRATEGY FOR ESCAPING THE TIRED, FAT, FEEL LIKE CRAP CYCLE (with a little HOARDERS thrown in)
The Stress Response System homes that they show on the HGTV show Fixer Upper are just fine in the BEFORE state. You could live there and it would be fine. But the homes in the AFTER state are amazing. Living there would be awesome. Just like Chip and JoAnna Gaines, our goal is to give you the steps to elevate yourself from “fine” to “amazing.”
We start with 4 steps:
STEP 1: Flat Cat Removal
STEP 2: Demo Day
STEP 3: Stock Up on Shiplap
STEP 4: Tune Up Your Tools
STEP 1: Flat Cat Removal This is the part they never show on HGTV. The down-and-dirty removal of all the junk you have accumulated over the years; picture any home from the show Hoarders. Yep, even you have a flat cat or two buried in under piles of persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals, and inflammatory cytokines. The good news is de-hoarding your body doesn’t require a hazmat suit. You just need to commit to a short junk fast, and give yourself to chance to clean up a little. Plans that we use successfully are:
- Whole 30 (www.whole30.com)- a 30-day, paleo style, low carb diet. This is a great choice if blood sugar or weight gain has been an issue.
- 21 Day Vegan Kickstart (www,pcrm.org)- a vegan diet, that gives you a break form the inflammatory effects of animal products. This is a great choice if high cholesterol or heart disease is in the picture.
- Clean Body Cleanse – our immune reset elimination diet and detox supplement plan. This is a great choice if you have chronic allergies, skin problems, or digestive challenges. This is the only plan that superpowers detoxification.
STEP 2: Demo Day Just like you can’t have an open floor plan without tearing down the wall between the kitchen and the living room, you can’t get to awesome if you have barriers in the way. You don’t need to tear down all the walls, but I bet that you know 1-2 activities that are holding you back.
Common barriers to your awesomeness are:
- Not enough hydration: the baseline is to drink ½ your body weight in ounces of water every day. [Example calculation: 130 lbs /2 = 65; drink 65 ounces of water a day]
- Not enough sleep: most people need 7 hours of good sleep a night to be at their best.
- Not enough motion: we are built to move when we are stressed. Even 30 min of movement a day balances your stress response.
- 24 hours stress: Even a 10 min visit to the parasympathetic Rest & Restore state can work wonders. Meditation, a stroll after dinner, a quiet cup of tea, or a 15 min creative interlude are all simple ways to take your Stress Response System on vacation.
- Gluten and Casein: these wheat and diary proteins are known to be hyper-inflammatory and damaging. Even if you do not have an obvious reaction to them, they can be holding you back from your awesomeness.
- Negative news: even reading about stressful or negative events can be enough to mire you in Stress & Store misery. Adding a news fast to your Flat Cat Removal will help you cleanup faster. At the very least don’t let news be the start or end of your day. Restrict your news updates (including social media) to between 10am and 7pm.
- Over-commitment: If you response to any of the above is that you don’t have time, then you are overcommitted. You have to out your own oxygen mask on first. Take a hard look at what fill your days and decide what you NEED TO DO vs. what NEEDS TO BE DONE vs. vs. what you think you SHOULD do vs. what you WANT TO DO. Eliminate 30 min a day of SHOULDs, delegate half of the NEEDS TO BE DONEs and lavish in your WANT TOs.
STEP 3: Stock up on Shiplap Have you gotten half way into a home improvement project and realized that you were missing a critical item? So you have to shut it down until you can run to Home Depot? But you can’t go now because there is no one to stay with the kids, and you have to get to soccer practice after lunch, and tomorrow you have promised to make cupcakes for a co-workers birthday? Now your 2-hour project is a 2-week headache.
Your Stress Response Systems also relies on building materials. Keeping these vitamin and minerals at hand means your hormonal projects can be quickly completed. You don't want to let lack of shiplap get it the way of your dreams.
The Shiplap of Stress response:
- B-Vitamins: The thyroid uses B12 for hormone activation. The adrenals use B5 and B6 for hormone conversion. Riboflavin and Niacin power the mitochondria in all the glands to power hormone production.
- Vitamin C: The adrenals and the ovaries are top consumers of Vitamin C. Vitamin C also is critical for the pre-construction clean up.
- Selenium, Zinc, and Copper: These minerals are critical for thyroid and pancreatic hormone production and activation.
- Magnesium, Calcium, and Trace Minerals: These minerals are used by the adrenal glands to keep up optimal hormone levels.
- Iron: Low iron stores dramatically lower thyroid hormone activation.
- Chromium: this mineral enhances the effects of insulin and is important for healthy blood sugar balance.
STEP 4: Tune up Your Tools The 3 tools of the Stress Response are your Adrenals, Thyroid, and blood-sugar control functions of the Pancreas. When these are out of tune your Stress Response rattles and shakes instead of operating with a smooth hum.
- Overactive Adrenals ramp up blood sugar.
- High cortisol blocks thyroid hormone production.
- Low cortisol blocks thyroid hormone activation.
- High cortisol and low thyroid hormone cause increased blood sugar.
- High blood sugar triggers Insulin release form the pancreas.
- Consistent high insulin increases fat stores and blocks the release of fat for energy.
- High insulin keeps blood sugar unstable, which increases adrenal and thyroid stress further.
To understand how to turn-down this drama, you first need to understand the players. That discussion merits it's own post. Tune in next time for The Real Housewives of Stresslanta.
Spoiler alert- the Adrenal Glands are where all the drama starts. You can see how high your adrenals are keeping the ratings with our DIY Adrenal Fatigue Panel.