I felt like shit and I didn’t know why.
Even though I had all the indicators: crap sleep, mood swings, weight gain, brain fog, fatigue and all the reasons for it: writing a book, in the middle of an intense FDN training, one million 1:1 clients, and was crushing my soul at Orangetheory, it never occurred to me that I was suffering from high cortisol.
I knew all about cortisol: a naturally occurring steroid hormone that regulates pretty much all our internal systems and too much or too little can cause an immediate health spiral…
And I knew exactly what would cause it to spike, how it felt (ever been on a steroid pack or Prednisone?!?), and how to get myself back in balance, but I ignored the symptoms.
The worst part was the weight gain. I was killing myself 4-5 days a week at Orangetheory, so there was NO reason why I was gaining weight. Except one: High freaking cortisol.
Elevated cortisol hinders your weight loss goals in three specific ways:
- It’s a steroid hormone so you get the same symptoms you would on a prescribed steroid, like water retention and wonky metabolism.
- If cortisol is up, you can become insulin resistant leading to increased blood sugar, weight gain, even Type II diabetes. And you might wake up with the nightsweats, like I did… often. (Three different doctors told me I was fine!)
- High cortisol is a stressor on your system which causes stress eating.
Once I knew the underlying issues, I got to work reversing the damage. I quit Orangetheory and reduced my activity. I did everything I could to reduce stress, ate more protein to balance my blood sugar, and integrated adaptogens, like ashwaganda, into my daily supplement regimen.
Have you ever suffered from high cortisol or could you be suffering from it now? Do my symptoms sound familiar to you?