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Adrenal Crisis Guide

Christine Jeffries

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ask: Have you gained weight as a result of adrenal fatigue (low cortisol levels)? How did you lose it, or manage it?

By dianne2454
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My Dr. tells me that until I heal my adrenals, my metabolism isn't functioning. I have gained a lot of weight (15-20 lbs), mostly around the middle. I used to run marathons and am fairly active, but am told that I should not do anything aerobic right now. How can I shed this unwanted weight?

Add a Comment15 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Hi betsy can u give me d details for this woman who helped u in your thyroid and adrenals??? I m freaking out with weight

July 31, 2014 - 9:21am
EmpowHER Guest

I am 37 and was diagnosed with hormonal imbalance and adrenal fatigue. I lost my dad to mesothelioma the day my daughter was 3 months old, Thanksgiving 2007. For nearly 6 years, I developed chronic stress, inability to cope, and a whirlwind of medications that didn't help. 3 years ago slowly stopped meds with dr. help. 3 months ago, Cindy Smith at Reeves-Sain wellness in Murfreesboro, TN, diagnosed my problem via saliva testing. As it turns out, all of my hormones were significantly low....like a 65 year female going through menopause. I wasn't shocked. I began progesterone, DHEA, and adrenal supplements (Dr. James Wilson's regimen). After 3 days, of tx, my mom passed unexpectedly (11/5). So, here goes the roller coaster again. I will have to say that my supplements must be working at least a little b/c I still get up, get going, and put on make-up (haha). I am just wondering if I am the only one out there my age that is experiencing this. --37 in Bell Buckle, TN

January 15, 2014 - 8:00am

HI there I have just joined up and think this is a very useful site so here goes I have been feeling ill for years now and the doc keeps saying its stress and arthritis i go to docs so often they all know my name how sad is that ha. Well now I have to go back tomorrow as my morning cortisol are high at last something shows up I am sure they think I am a hypo as a kid I was on massive doses of steroids for my asthma till I was 17 i asked the doc could that be part of the problem this doc then did this test.

October 9, 2011 - 1:49am
EmpowHER Guest

I would highly recommend reading up on the Maffetone Method by Dr. Phil Maffetone. In his book he talks about the physiological effects of both aerobic and anaerobic excercise. As an (ex)Ironman triathlete, I realize, after reading his books, how much damage I have done to my body by poor training methods. All of my intense training has caused burnout - adrenal fatigue. Training at anaerobic levels too often led me to be a carbohydrate burning machine - according to Maffetone, I did not allow my body to use fat for energy during workouts, I depended on cokes and gels. Therefore, my sugar cravings became insatiable. After a torn achilles and surgery, my weight sky-rocketed and so did my cravings.

Today I work on only my aerobic "engine" so that I don't cause undue adrenal stress. Training purely aerobically causes several physiological adaptations that anaerobic exercise cannot, appropriate fat-burning being one of them. Another benefit of pure aerobic training is fortifying of the tendons, ligaments, and muscles, and development of the necessary blood vessels to nourish those tissues during exercise. Jumping into anaerobic exercise without the proper development of the aerobic system can also cause injuries because the body has not had time to adapt. There is so much more in Maffetone's books...

There is a time and place for anaerobic exercise, but I won't be doing it any time soon. Hope this helps!

March 16, 2009 - 12:17pm
alysiak (reply to Anonymous)

Because you were such an incredible athlete (I admire anyone who can do an Ironman) and realize your previously poor training methods, you should also appreciate the concept of balance.

I caution our readers to create balance in their exercise programs. Talk to your doctor, get referred to a good physical therapist or trainer to get an exercise program designed just for you. Too many people go into an exercise program as though it's a cookie-cutter deal. NOT! We're not cookie-cut people.

August 6, 2009 - 7:41pm

Hi, Anon (Dianne?):

I can certainly identify with stress build-up over an extended period of time. I used to take DHEA, as well, for a time. But, I found that physical activity made me feel better. Besides, I forget to take my supplements.

I can also identify with the belly fat and menopause issues. Frustrating.

Do you keep a food and fitness journal? Keeping track of what you eat and your daily activity helps keep you on track, and holds you accountable for your eating habits and exercise.

What two books did you just order?

March 6, 2009 - 8:47pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to alysiak)

Hello again,

I agree - physical activity does make one feel better. I enjoy walking and when I start my day off with a nice long one, it sets the tone for the entire day.

I don't keep a journal, but plan to start. I really need to get a handle on what foods trigger me feeling sluggish vs. more energetic.

The books I ordered are Adrenal Fatigue ... the 21st Century Sndrome and the Cortisol Connection. I think they'll both provide me some more information on how cortisol impacts overall health, and I hope they give some insight into what foods to avoid, how to heal adrenals, etc.

My goal is to feel rested, look rested, and to take off this stubborn 20 lbs!

March 8, 2009 - 8:12pm
alysiak (reply to Anonymous)

Thank you for the book titles, I'll look for them. While I don't think I'm suffering from stress, I do think there are food triggers contributing to my inability to shed weight and overall feeling of sluggishness.

March 9, 2009 - 5:23pm
EmpowHER Guest

Wow! I'm amazed at the responses from each of you. I'll do my best to answer some of the questions posed. My Dr. contributes my adrenal fatigue to high levels of stress over extended periods of time - too much going on for too long (most women can identify!). I did two saliva tests - the first to confirm the diagnosis and the second about 6 months later to see where I am now. Sorry to say, no change yet. She says to be patient, it can take up to 18 months. In the meantime, she has prescribed restorative yoga and getting lots of rest in addition to supplements and a small dose of DHEA combined with testostorne. I am walking almost daily and do some yoga, but not as much as I probably should be doing.
I was working with a trainer 2x a week, but just stopped for two reasons: the trainer didn't understand enough about my condition to help, and the only time I could go was early morning which meant I had to get up even earlier. Also, my thoughts are that with the layer of fat around my belly, I'm better off walking.
I am in memopause, so some of this might be contributed to that - but with my eating habits (not perfect, but reasonable) and the exercise I do get,I am still gaining too much too fast.
I just ordered two books that may provide me some additional info.
Thanks again ladies!

March 6, 2009 - 8:39pm
Diane Porter

Dianne, I'm also interested in how old you are, whether you are perimenopausal or menopausal? It is very common for us to put on weight around our middles in that time of life, even without an adrenal problem (though it sounds as though yours can be explained by your sudden forced lack of aerobic activity).

Have you had other symptoms, like insomnia or general weakness? Low blood sugar? Depression?

What does your doctor have you doing to heal your adrenals? Is there a certain level of measurement in your blood that you are trying to reach? Does she or he give you a time frame for how long it may take?

Would you be able to do such things as resistance training?

And have you been under lots of stress lately? Can you do anything to relieve that stress? (I'm sure the inability to run right now is contributing its own kind of stress, isn't it?) Our adrenals get overused when we are constantly in a stress mode.

This seemed like an extraordinarily helpful page to me, it discusses not only causes and symptoms but also nutrition and medicine:


Count your blessings that your doctor figured out what's going on with you; apparently many women with adrenal disorders simply don't get diagnosed, and they go on for years feeling fatigued, emotionally unbalanced, and needing stimulants like caffeine to just get through the day. Here's a paragraph that might make you feel better:

"In all but the most extreme cases, we expect to see dramatic improvement within about four months. For mild to moderate adrenal fatigue the turnaround can be much faster. Remember, you may feel too tired to make changes now, but by moving forward in stages, you’ll build the strength you need to stay with it. You will love how you feel when you do!"

How long has it been since you were diagnosed?

March 4, 2009 - 10:20am
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