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“I am exercising but not losing weight!” 

“I swear, I have sworn off dessert for weeks and haven’t lost a single pound!”

There is nothing worse than feeling like no matter what you do, your body is just going to do whatever it wants to do. And if high-intensity workouts and cutting down on sweets aren’t making a difference, you might be shaking your fist at fate. 

Should you just accept that newfound (and highly unwelcome) belly fat? 

Resign yourself to the number on your scale (and the way it keeps slowly creeping up)?

Have you ever thought about your adrenal glands? 

We know, that sounds like a strange question. And if you are like most people, you probably haven’t given your adrenal glands a second thought. But if you’ve been experiencing chronic stress, those tiny little glands might be to blame for a lot more than you think. 

Your adrenals are two tiny glands that rest just above your kidneys. But while they might be small, they have a big job to do. That includes pumping out some of those big-name hormones you hear about. We’re talking adrenaline, testosterone, and one problematic hormone in particular – cortisol. 

When they are functioning well, your adrenals do a lot to help you out. But when they derail, they can wreak all sorts of havoc. We’re talking fluctuations in blood pressure and blood sugar levels, body aches, digestive issues, and even loss of body hair. 

And let’s not forget the problem at hand: bizarre (and utterly frustrating) inconsistencies in your weight.

Adrenal Fatigue Weight Gain Symptoms (And How To Fight Back) 

You never lose weight no matter how “healthy” you eat. 

To trace how adrenal fatigue can get in the way of losing weight, we have to look at their function. When you are experiencing high stress levels, your adrenal glands produce cortisol. 

If you have struggled with “stubborn belly fat” (as that old infomercial used to put it), then you probably already know that cortisol can be a powerful contender in any weight loss war. 

Cortisol has gotten a bit of a bad rap over the years. But the truth is, cortisol serves an important function. It is part of that whole “fight or flight” stress response to dangerous situations. It is part of your body’s natural reflex system – the system that literally keeps you alive in emergencies. It’s simply your adrenals trying to do their job as they struggle to keep up with all of that stress. 

But odds are that whatever you are stressing out about–while far from pleasant–

is hardly a life-threatening emergency, even if your body sometimes has a hard time telling the difference. 

When your adrenals are constantly responding to unrelenting stress levels, things can get unbalanced. And this imbalance can lead to weight gain (or even weight loss!). It is worth pointing out, as this article from Women’s Health discusses, that adrenals going into overdrive (rather than fatigue) can be to blame for weight gain. Either way, imbalance is imbalance, and stress is at the heart of both issues. 

By now, you might be thinking, “So now what? I have to quit my job to lose weight?”

But here’s the thing… it isn’t just briefing for your next big meeting that can cause stress on your body. Eating foods that aren’t good for you can only exacerbate the problem. And healthy foods are far from “one-size-fits-all.” That so-called “perfect balanced diet” for one person might not be the same for you. 

So if you are finding that you’re eating traditionally healthy foods and still gaining weight, it might be time to take another look. Those sugary fruits that are so chock-full of Vitamin C might be good for other people – but wreaking havoc on you.

The only way to figure out how to eat right for your body is to determine what is good or bad, for YOU. Identifying your specific food sensitivities and eating to accommodate them can be one way of reducing stress on your body–no need to quit your day job. 

You exercise but don’t see any difference. 

If you are trying to lose weight, gaining even a single pound can put you in a really bad mood. This is understandable, especially if you’ve spent the better part of the last week doing high-intensity workouts. 

But while it might seem like exhausting your body to the max will help you lose weight, there is one problem with this: intense exercise can add stress to your already overworked body. And this can exacerbate adrenal fatigue weight gain, and other adrenal-related conditions. It’s a vicious cycle.

So how do you fix it? Well, the answer isn’t to stop exercising. The answer might be to adjust the way you exercise. 

While there are 1,000 ways to work out, the key here is that you should feel replenished and revitalized, not completely exhausted, when you’re done.

So find a workout that takes it a bit easier on your body and reduces your stress levels. Choose activities that you enjoy, not ones you feel are a horrible chore in your quest to lose weight. Yoga or another mindful practice that includes breathing exercises can be a fantastic choice. 

See if this makes a difference in your overall goals. 

You feel tired A LOT. 

If you are dealing with adrenal fatigue, you might be feeling tired a LOT. And worse, you might be feeling fatigued at the most inconvenient times of the day. 

Dieting can contribute to this fatigue, especially for those dealing with adrenal fatigue. If you are skipping certain meals in an attempt to reduce your overall caloric intake, your energy levels might be paying the price. 

Instead of skipping meals, it might be better to try eating your breakfast (like your mother taught you).

Then, eat small, healthy, well-balanced meals throughout the day. This will empower your system to continually get the nutrients it needs, and your energy levels will rise to the occasion. 

You crave salty foods.  

Salt is essential for life. So it is no wonder that when our adrenal glands fail to produce enough aldosterone (the hormone that helps figure out what to do with salt), things tend to go wonky. The result? We get salt cravings. This is because our bodies are trying to make up for the lack of aldosterone by retaining salt (and can sometimes be the cause of that ubiquitous bloated belly).
So while salt might not be something you associate with wellness, when it comes to adrenal fatigue weight gain, it might not be a bad thing to give in to your salt cravings and see if things improve. Increasing salt (within reason!) might help restore your hormones to healthy levels.

The key here is to choose salts that help nourish your body. Salts full of minerals. Himalayan and other specialty salts can be fantastic options. Try swapping these out for your regular table salt for a bit, and see if you notice an improvement. 

Fighting Back Against Adrenal Fatigue Weight Gain

Our bodies are complicated machines, and like anything else, they need proper maintenance to keep them running smoothly. And we know it might be cliche to compare your body to a car engine or other smoothly running machine, but there is a truth in the metaphor. When you let things go, problems tend to compound upon themselves. And mental health and stress management are no different. 

The best thing you can do to fight adrenal fatigue might seem obvious, but it is simple…. 

Make choices that lead to happiness every day. Make those choices with intention. 

Live well. Eat Well. 

And please, please, please… never let the way you eat become a prison sentence. 

If you live in Miami or the surrounding area, we’d love to help you eat delicious food that improves your day-to-day life. There are so many ways to adjust your relationship with food for the better–and to do it in a way that, frankly, just tastes better.

If you live in another region of the U.S., we encourage you to find a local chef that will truly care about your needs and help you sort out a meal plan that works for YOU. They can be hard to find, but the distinction is important. 

Because what works for thousands of other people, simply isn’t what’s best for you. Good luck on your food journey, wherever it takes you. 

It is time to enjoy eating again without worrying if that next bite is going to topple your diet or just plain make you feel bad. Enjoy eating again with The Pickled Beet’s personal chef services. Complete this food questionnaire to set up your free consultation and get started! Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals and the information we have provided is solely for educational purposes and is not intended to be medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Consult a healthcare professional to address any concerns or questions you may have regarding your diet or overall health. The Pickled Beet is not liable for any risks or issues associated with acting upon the information we have provided.