HEALTH WITH JESSICA

Stress and adrenal fatigue

Chances are if you’re part of this fast paced, over stuffed, over stimulated, over stressed culture you have experienced adrenal fatigue.  This is an issue plenty of people deal with, however there is very little knowledge about it in mainstream medicine and therefore our society in general. Typically, doctors don’t recognize a problem until the adrenal issues have gone to an extreme level and thyroid issues ensue.  This is not to point at doctors, it is simply outside of the realm of the modern medical perspective at this point in time. I will add though…awareness seems to be slowly occurring and I remain hopeful.

So what exactly is adrenal fatigue?  Our adrenal glands are small walnut sized glands located above the kidneys.  They create corticosteroids like cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline that then communicate specific messages to our brains that release certain hormones in response. I am going to keep it simple for the moment and focus on “CORTISOL”.adrenal glands

Our bodies are amazing and designed to work in very intricate ways with impressive communication skills. Cortisol may be a familiar word to some as it is linked to stress and weight gain.

Here is what happens: stress comes in different forms, physical, emotional, mental.  What is stressful to me may not be to you and vice versa.  We all have different tolerance levels of stress as well as different ways in which we deal with (or avoid) stress. However, when stress becomes chronic, our bodies become overwhelmed.

If I am dealing with a high level of stress for a prolonged period of time, rather than stress hormones spiking and then returning to normal, they will remain at an elevated level.  Specifically focusing on cortisol today…if I have an overload of cortisol I will likely experience things such as headaches and backaches, cravings for junk foods (salty and sweet…refined stuff), sleep will be an issue perhaps having a hard time falling or staying asleep and then feeling tired even if I do get an adequate amount of sleep.  A big one for a lot of people is weight gain and difficulty losing weight. Cortisol tends to make us hold on to body fat especially around the belly (aren’t we lucky?).  Then it gets overzealous and won’t let go.  Some people will experience depression and/or anxiety as well as gastrointestinal issues.  Infections and allergies are also more prevalent with high levels of cortisol.  And one more…it can kill your sex drive.

Anyone relate to any of this stuff in conjunction with some stress you’ve been dealing with?  Yup.  We all do at least at some point in life…especially in our crazy, fast paced society that has too much, is too busy and far too distracted.

If these type of stress responses continue for long, because we are not able to change the level of stress in our lives or haven’t figured out how, then our adrenal glands get worn down.  **newsflash**  We are not meant to have chronic stress in our lives. After a while our adrenal glands say…”well, I’ve put in my hours.  This ‘overtime’ was not in my job description…I’m out”. They end up slacking off, but it’s because they aren’t equipped for the overload.

When adrenal glands become fatigued, the symptoms are like those I mentioned above.  The symptoms often become more pronounced and you will likely have a more difficult time “shaking” whatever you feel you are dealing with.

I went to a naturopath several years ago because of this heavy fatigue I was experiencing that I didn’t understand.  I eat healthy and balanced and exercise regularly…but the doctor sat and talked to me about my life in general.  He even talked about past stress (yes, some childhood questions came up).  He essentially brought to light how spread thin I was and how my body just needed rest (not just the sleep kind of rest) and more balance in all areas.  I do struggle with this and have learned to be aware of it and manage it far better than ever before. This whole issue with our adrenal glands can really be a good thing…IF we listen!!  It can motivate you to seek balance in your life.  And balance, as we know, is one of my favorite things. <3

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My hope is to help individuals to start recognizing the havoc that is being reaped on their bodies BEFORE it gets to such a critical level that medication and other things are necessary just to regain some form of “normal”.

ATTENTION:  once we reach critical levels with our health in general, we risk never being able to return to “normal” without the aid of modern medicine…which can often lead to other issues.  It is super important to address problems and symptoms when they are manageable!

Our issues are an opportunity to create healthy change!!!

As I finish this I am noticing it is nearing midnight.  Oops.  I am a work in progress 😉

Good night sweet friends…
XOXO,
JESS

 

 

 

Together We’re Better

Why should you join a 30 Day Challenge Group??  What are the benefits?  Why be part of a group?

This is team work!  It’s a proven fact that accountability leads to greater success with weight loss AND weight loss maintenance.

WHY??  Think about it.  Have you ever planned to work out with a friend and then not wanted to? You still do it, don’t you?  You might have pushed snooze on your alarm and rolled over to saw a few more logs, or changed out of your work clothes and into your lounge clothes instead of gym close, or opted for an afternoon movie rather than an afternoon hike if it weren’t for the annoying fact that you already told your buddy that you’d meet him at the gym or on the trail. Have you ever had that moment?  I’m betting you have.  Or you and your friend make a pact that you’re going to “be good” with your diet this week and you decide to “check in” with each other. So…when you go to grab that delicious looking glazed donut, you think twice!  In fact, you see your friend’s face sitting there staring as you painfully debate with yourself whether or not to indulge.  Ya familiar with these moments?

The cool thing is, this stuff works!  Having people you know are doing what you’re doing AND will be asking about your progress is HUGE motivation.

www.healthwithjessica.com

Another big thing is CULTURE.  When you are trying to change things about your lifestyle (exercise and nutrition are no small things to try to adjust when you are real about it) it takes creating a different culture than the one you are used to living in.  What is your current culture like?  Is it centered around food and drinks (specialty coffee drinks, cocktails, beer)?  Is every social occasion one based on high calorie consumption (I’ve noticed we’re pretty bad about this at church!)?  Do you relax at night in front of the TV with a tub of ice cream and a spoon or a big bag of chips that you blaze through in no time?

In order to change things concerning your habits it takes changing the momentum of your life in lots of little ways, from lots of different areas.  It’s a matter of convincing yourself and becoming super comfortable with this new way of doing stuff.  What does this look like?  Ohhh I dunno…things like eating sitting at the table instead of zoning out in front of the TV with whatever you keep grabbing out of the kitchen.  Posting things that inspire you on social media.  Hanging out more with people who do all those things you want to be doing in your life (getting outside instead of seeing who can down the most beers, cooking healthy meals for get-togethers, running local races…for example!).  Researching things that get you excited about your new habits.  Investing in small thing that make your new way of life fun and things that are just plain helpful (fit bit, new shoes that support your specific activities, apps that help track your activities and motivate you).

It’s only obvious by now that a group you can be a part of virtually is an amazing way to create this culture and build accountability into your life.  Not only that, but joining forces and helping encourage other people, helps keep YOU on track!  When I am rooting other people on trying to inspire someone else I, in turn, inspire myself.  Kinda cool how that happens. 😉

If you’re interested in joining my new 30 day challenge group starting April 4th, let me know!  Send me an email: jessica@healthwithjessica.com!  We’d love to have you along for the ride!!

XOXO,
Jess

 

Well…it’s 2016! What are you making room for this year?

I’m not a resolution girl.  I find that I am continually creating new goals throughout the year.  However, I think reflecting is something we all do at the New Year, even if we don’t do so purposely.  It just happens.  It’s natural, as we close one chapter, to sort of evaluate as we enter into a fresh year.  That’s how it feels to me, anyway!

Do you ever step back, though, and realize you’ve been
stuck on the same goal, perhaps not just this past year, but year after year after year?

Something that kind of smacked me in the face the other day (in a good way) was the idea that I have fallen in love with certain habits in my life and they aren’t hard anymore.  I love them so much they have become second nature.  I love identifying myself as a fit healthy person and I LOVE how I feel when I pursue things in my life that are in line with those ideals.  IMG_5139

I know this stuff doesn’t happen overnight…trust me!  What we can do right now though, is shift our perspectives.  Rather than dreading letting go of something or dreading the work we know it will take…let’s focus on what we are gaining, what we are making room for in our lives.

Letting go of crappy food in my life makes room for the energizing, health promoting food that will make me feel GOOD.  Letting go of laziness and putting forth even 30 minutes of my time every day to move my body will make room for feeling strong and vibrant.  Letting go of time wasters in my life will make room for more purposeful things that will bring me closer to my goals, my dreams… letting go of a relationship that is going in the wrong direction or steering me away from what I value in my life might be hard…but as I pry my little fingers off things like this, I will actually have room for something good, that is in line with where I really want my life to go.

See where I’m going with this?  It applies to everything; work, worrying, sleep, comfort zones, etc…

I challenge you, as we start #1 of 365 days in 2016, to get in touch with the feeling you are chasing when you make a goal.  Hold onto that feeling and run towards it!  Don’t think about the cozy things you leave behind (that aren’t helping you move forward anyway….be real about that), or the pain of any effort you might have to put forth…think about how dang AMAZING you will feel as you get closer to embracing that goal and of all the little amazing things that will happen along the way because you are moving in the right direction!

Happy New Year, my friends! I pray God’s abundant love around you every single second of every single day as you step out in faith this year and go for your dreams!

xoxo,
Jess

 

Scurrying

 

 

 

This morning I woke up when I wanted to.  No alarm for the first time in quite awhile.  I purposely have no plans today. It’s 11:01 am and I’m still in my pj’s.  LOVING THIS.  How perfect that my devotional started with this on this very morning:

“Living in dependence on Me is a glorious adventure.  Most people scurry around busily trying to accomplish things through their own strength and ability.  Some succeed enormously; others fail miserably.  But both groups miss what life is meant to be: living and working in collaboration with Me.”
~Jesus Calling by Sarah Young~

 

 

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Wow.  A message perhaps I was meant to hear?  Do you recognize when that happens to you?  You are hearing messages from multiple places in your life?  You read it, you hear it from other people, it’s on your heart…  Gee, maybe those are things we ought to pay attention to!  It’s super hard for me to let go of the wheel in my own life.  But, I will say I notice how things fall in place better and peace takes up more room than anxiousness and worry when I actually do that.

Here’s to consciously giving God control and trusting that His plans are far better than any I could dream up for myself!

Happy Weekend, friends!

With Love,
Jess

“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith,
as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7 NKJV

 

 

Seeking Balance

According to dictionary.com this is the definition of wellness:

1. the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort.
ACE Fitness expands on this by stating, “health and wellness does not mean ‘being without illness.’ Rather, health includes wellness — a sense of well-being and having a positive quality of life.”
We are multi-dimensional beings.  To want to change one thing impacting my health means changing several things that I might not even be aware of.  The opposite is true as well.  When one thing suffers in my life, multiple other things are impacted.
So, what is my point?  I’m pretty sure most of us are aware of these truths to some degree.  The problem is, recognizing something does nothing for us until we put it into practice.  Where are you with your stress level?  Where are you with your faith?  Where are you with your relationships?  Are you in pilot mode?  Are you numbing out on things so you can’t even answer these questions for yourself?
I encourage you to take a time-out.  “But when?  I have no time!”  It’s about making the time.  If we are off kilter with the things that matter most, our foundation is then off kilter and our entire lives are off balance.  The problem is, we often don’t take notice until a crisis happens.  We are set up, in our modern day society, to go 100 miles an hour, multi-task as much as possible, and “BUSY” seems to be a “value” we strive for.  None of this is healthy, nor does it match any definition of health and wellness.
Give yourself permission to take a minute and breathe, regroup, listen and reflect.  If not for you, then for those you love.  It has a ripple effect!
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“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” 3 John 1:2 (NIV)

In love, 

Jess
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