1. Adrenal Glands
  2. Stress

How Adrenal Glands and Stress Causes Weight Gain

Adrenal glands govern the stress response and many other fundamental bodily functions. When the adrenals are out of balance, the body prepares for the tragedy the best way it knows how by storing calories.

Adrenal Fatigue Causes Weight Gain

Yet if we restore the adrenals to their normal, healthy function, cravings disappear, energy returns, and your body will begin to lose weight.

The hidden ways that stress drives weight gain

We usually think that "being stressed-out" is an emotional state, but the body understands stress quite physically. And one of the ways it physically handles stress is by being stingy about how it uses calories, storing them primarily in the form of fat around the abdomen.

Why we’ve evolved this way has a lot to do with the fight-or-flight response which releases adrenaline and cortisol into the blood.

This is a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, or threat. Under cortisol’s influence, we become less sensitive to leptin, the hormone that makes us feel full, and thus we tend to consume more calories.

The problem is that this sequence of events takes place whether the threat is real or psychological. Since most of our modern-day stressors don’t require fleeing or fighting, we generally don’t need all the extra calories our bodies make available.

What has also changed is that many of us exist now in a state of constant stress, operating under elevated cortisol levels over long periods of time. Laughter is the best medicine to reduce stress.

Adrenal fatigue feeds belly fat

Women with adrenal imbalance often develop a "spare tire" around the waist. This happens for several reasons. Under normal circumstances, when we haven’t eaten for a while, our blood sugar (glucose) drops and the brain sends a message to the adrenals to release cortisol.

This cortisol mobilizes glucose, amino acids, and fat to prevent low blood sugar and keep your brain and body fueled with energy in the absence of food. Cortisol maintains glucose levels in the blood, while insulin helps usher glucose into our cells.

When we have long-term stress, cortisol and insulin remain high in the blood, and the extra glucose that isn’t needed for energy gets stored in the form of fat primarily abdominal fat cells. Do you know? the types of body fat and how to get rid of it.

Scientists have discovered that fat cells have special stress-hormone receptors for cortisol, but that there also seem to be more of these cortisol receptors on the fat cells in the abdomen than anywhere else in the body!

What Can We Do?

Eat well and regularly: If you want to convince your body that it’s in no danger of starving to death, eat good food regularly. Cortisol is integral to maintaining blood sugar, so it makes sense that keeping your blood sugar as level as possible lightens the load on the adrenal glands.

Incorporate micronutrient-rich foods into your diet to support your adrenals like asparagus, avocado, cabbage, garlic, ginger and protein.

Sleep: It is recommended to strive for no fewer than 8 hours of sleep. If you are struggling with sleep, try a herb or other holistic alternatives that promote sleep.

Exercise wisely: If you already exercise regularly and feel good, keep it up. But for those who are feeling exhausted all the time, try easing up on the intensity for a few months while your adrenals are healing.

Breathe: Three to four deep breaths through your nose can slow your heart rate and calm the whole body down. Find time throughout your day to just breathe, especially when you feel stressed.

For many of us, the stress in our lives is directly connected to our weight. Our bodies are wise. When stress is the predominant state, our bodies will protect us by holding onto extra pounds. Yin yoga poses are also helpful for body relaxation. Healing the adrenals will assist our bodies in losing unwanted weight.