I’ve had several meetings in the past 2 weeks about health and weight problems that were stress induced. For those of you who wonder how stress could possibly make you sick or heavy, here’s a couple of reasons out of the many (you’d need text books to cover everything.)
Our adrenal glands, which sit right on top of the kidneys, make dozens of hormones. HORMONES RULE US. PERIOD. When we feel stress from anything ( an argument, over exercising, traffic, kids, a project, illness/infections, work stress, dieting.. etc) our adrenal glands squirt some “fight or flight” hormones into our blood. There’s several, but I’m going to lump them all under the one called “CORTISOL”.
Follow me here: even though most stressful situations do NOT involve having to physically run/kill/chase/escape from a physical danger, the response from our body is as if that was the case. Cortisol/adrenaline prepares us for a physical exertion. ( It’s a very primal response. ) How? So many ways.. this is just a couple.
1) When “stress” is felt, sugar is immediately dumped into the blood stream. Sugar is FAST energy and fat is SLOW energy, right? If the body is preparing for a threat, it wants FAST energy. Where does the sugar come from? First, the liver shoots out it’s teaspoon or so of stored sugar, then, if the stress continues, the muscle cells will be easily converted to glucose/sugar (that’s called “muscle wasting”) and then fat cells will give up their fatty acids and they’ll be converted to sugar. ************* What if you don’t actually need all that SUGAR/GLUCOSE because your emergency didn’t involve anything physical? YouGottaProblem. Excess sugar is ALWAYS CONVERTED TO TRIGLYCERIDES AND STORED IN THE MIDSECTION. ALWAYS. That’s why stress causes heart disease, because the cortisol dumps sugar in the blood that’s not needed, so it becomes dangerous belly fat. ( The many dangers of belly fat are a whole nother lecture, seriously.)
2) Cortisol in the blood immediately causes the heart rate to increase, the blood pressure to increase, and it causes your cells to DUMP their Magnesium (remember, this is the short list). Studies are showing that most of us are Magnesium deficient, which is bad, because Mag has many, many jobs to do in our body. One of them is to relax our muscles. When Cortisol is present though, we’re in an “anti-relaxed state”; dumping Magnesium allows our muscles to contract quickly. Again, so we can run/kill/chase/escape. Stay in a stressed state, and the Magnesium deficit just grows.
3) Cortisol shuts down stomach acid, which means it shuts down digestion. Digestion’s NOT a priority in a “fight or flight” situation. Stay stressed, and you become nutrient deficient. Nutrients run and build our body; consequences are inevitable.
4) Cortisol halts Sex Hormone production, because the same “ingredients” (aka nutrients) are used to make the fight / flight hormones and the sex hormones. There’s only just so many of those ingredients, and Reproduction is NOT a priority in a “fight or flight” situation. The body will ALWAYS choose to make fight or flight hormones over sex hormones. Hormones run and build our body: consequences are inevitable.
I could go on and on and on. There’s not one single part of us that isn’t negatively affected by TOO MUCH cortisol. That said, we need cortisol! It gets us up in the morning, and it’s supposed to be our bodies “anti-inflammatory” response to injury. Unfortunately, when the cortisol valve doesn’t shut off, the opposite response happens: INFLAMMATION. The cause of everything bad:(
If this post is ringing bells in your head because “this sounds like you”, email me. Your health, your weight, your moods, your energy, greatly depend on having healthy adrenal glands and normal levels of cortisol. When damage has been done, you need to undo it, as soon as possible!
Oh, you know what else causes stress/cortisol/inflammation? Too much sugar, flour, and toxins. Seriously. Yet another reason to eat Real Whole Foods.