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Relax to Lose Weight. Yes. Really

By The Lucy Rose Clinic

May 21, 2020

Have you ever wondered why you can suddenly store stubborn fat around the belly, even when eating well and exercising?

Today I will tell you!

It is a story of a sometimes difficult relationship between insulin and the adrenal hormone cortisol and what happens when we put these systems under pressure, even if you aren’t aware that you are doing it!

Insulin, Cortisol & Weight Gain

Eating too much carbohydrates causes surges of insulin, depletes your precious glands, increases fat accumulation, and can lead to muscle wastage.

It often coincides with sleep issues, waking tired, struggling with motivation and binge eating.

Ready to get off that particular treadmill?

I’ll admit, there are many complexities to weight loss, and what works for one person won’t work for another. That’s why we treat all our patients as unique and individual, each with their own set of symptoms and underlaying hormonal imbalances.

Today’s article is talking about a sector of the weight loss community who have a weight issue involving cortisol and insulin.

Could it be you?

Read on and check the symptoms below to find out!


Relax to lose weight

Our central nervous system is responsible for activating our response to stress. We didn’t evolve to be switched ‘on’ all the time. Our body is designed to perform really well under pressure for a period of time, but if down time isn’t given, the system will start to malfunction and show signs of serious wear and tear.

Long-term stress and elevated cortisol has been linked to insomnia, chronic fatigue syndrome, thyroid disorders, dementia, depression, and other conditions.

Our first step is to test your cortisol levels with a 3-point saliva cortisol test. This test is much more accurate than a serum (blood) test, and tells us when and where in the day or night your adrenal glands are under or over producing hormones.

The results of this test will help tell you if your weight loss program needs MORE or LESS exercise!

How cool is that!

Once we know the function of your adrenal glands and the blood sugar system, you might discover that the exercise that you were doing to lose weight was actually what was putting it on!

Of course, I don’t recommend that you stop exercising – the body needs motion. What I am saying is that sometimes too much exercise actually unbalances the hormones for some people.

Signs that your adrenal hormones may be out of balance:

  • Feeling shaky
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Feeling stressed out
  • Irritability or impatience
  • Digestive issues
  • Skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis or allergies
  • Waking up with excessive energy
  • Feeling tired between 2-4PM
  • Find it hard to relax before bed
  • Can’t tolerate noise

Often when the adrenals are out, so is our SLEEP.

If your sleep is not wonderful, then you won’t lose weight. One of the first things we address when you see us is sleep – it is the key to healing and cellular rejuvenation.

Weight gain and STRESS

If your cortisol is elevated, the sugar in your blood will be stored as FAT!

Under stressful conditions, cortisol provides the body with glucose by using protein stores via gluconeogenesis in the liver. However, elevated cortisol over the long term consistently produces glucose from the liver stores and muscle tissue, leading to increased blood sugar levels – even if your DIET is low in carbohydrates and sugars.

Why we need to RESPECT our Pancreas

Insulin is the hormone produced by our pancreas – pictured.

It allows our body to use sugar (glucose) from your diet for energy, or to store glucose for future use. Insulin helps keeps your blood sugar level from getting too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia).

The more sugar we eat, the harder this gland has to work.

And if we are under too much chronic stress, it needs to work harder still to use up the sugars liberated by gluconeogenesis.

How to turn it around

It’s never as black and white as that though, because the body has so many things to factor in if it is showing signs of imbalance, stalled metabolism, or any other symptoms.

Functional testing aims to demystify why your body is out of balance, allowing us create a dynamic treatment plan to get you feeling great again.

When testing, we also look at the following factors;

  • Nutrient deficiencies or excesses
  • Thorough thyroid hormone testing
  • Sex hormone balance – E1, E2, E3, Progesterone, Testosterone.
  • Cardiovascular risk markers
  • Inflammatory Markers
  • Food intolerances
  • Methylation factors and detoxificaion capacity.

Armed with answers of what is happening inside your body at a biochemical level, we can really create an individualised treatment approach to help you meet your health goals!

I hope that you have learned (if you didn’t already know) that if you have a low sugar diet, but still are dealing with chronic stress, then weight loss becomes an issue.

We can help!

Feel free to book a call in with one of my specially trained naturopath practitioners to find out more about our unique approach to wellness. Click here

Book a FREE 15 minute naturopath consult to discuss your health goals. Click HERE!

Wake up tired booking link

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