Why Stress Is Making You Fat, Frazzled, and Frustrated

May 23, 2014

Stop the Stress Fat Cycle Once and For All.

Quick, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you hypothyroid?
  • Constantly fighting belly fat and blood sugar highs and lows?
  • Infections, allergies, and sensitivities to environmental triggers got you down?
  • Crave caffeine, sugar, and/or salt for quick energy?
  • Tired all day and wired before bed?
  • Overwhelmed by stress and easily irritable?
  • Trouble sleeping through the night?
  • Suffering from “night owl” syndrome or getting a second wind after 10 PM?
  • Dark circles or bags under your eyes?

It’s beginning to sound like you may be one of the 8 out of 10 women who is suffering from adrenal fatigue or burnout.

Low adrenal function is an increasingly common diagnosis. When your fight or flight stress glands are simply overworked and too tired to perform properly, you experience a myriad of symptoms—including the inability to lose weight. The condition goes hand in hand with low thyroid function as both the adrenals and thyroid are intimately related energy producing glands.

Restore Energy Naturally

The adrenals are two small walnut-size glands that sit on top of the kidneys and produce the body’s regulatory stress hormones—cortisol and DHEA. These powerful hormones regulate belly fat deposition and the aging process.

Cortisol activates fat-storing enzymes when it comes into contact with any fat cell. Abdominal fat cells are designed to serve as a fast energy source in times of stress. These central fat cells also happen to have four times more cortisol receptors than anywhere else in your body. Consequently, cortisol is drawn to the central abdominal fat cells, ultimately increasing fat storage in that area. Thus, every time you are stressed, cortisol encourages your body to stockpile fat around your midsection to be used in case of emergency.

The solution to this problem of course is to stress less—which is easier said than done.

Six Solutions

Follow these six solutions to nurture and rebuild your adrenal glands for sustained energy and fat burning power:

1. Reduce Your Stress Levels – Set aside time to relax each day. Escape with a good book, work in the garden, start an exercise routine, or take a walk.

2. Power Up with Protein – Keep metabolic fires burning by consuming 20 grams of protein with each meal. Protein boosts metabolism by up to 25% for about 12 hours while simultaneously keeping blood sugar/insulin levels steady. Choose from organic, hormone-free protein sources like eggs, lean beef, lamb, poultry, fish, seafood, tofu and tempeh. Or, for an excellent protein boost on-the-go, sip a smoothie made with clean protein powder like Fat Flush Whey Protein or Fat Flush Body Protein, which both contain 20 grams of protein per serving.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep – The hours before midnight are the most beneficial time for adrenal rejuvenation, so be in bed by 10 pm, and try for 7 hours or more. Waking up intermittently is a sure sign of cortisol surges which can be helped by enjoying a protein snack before bed.

4. Take Essential Minerals –
Sodium: Low levels of sodium are common in cases of adrenal burnout. I find that taking ¼ to 1 teaspoon of good quality salt (Celtic or Himalayan pink salt) daily helps to balance cortisol levels. Salt is especially important if low blood pressure is an issue.
Potassium: Under prolonged stress, potassium can easily be depleted, resulting in blood sugar abnormalities. I recommend taking 99 mg potassium chloride daily.

5. Rebuild Adrenal Function – Take a supplement like UNI KEY’s Adrenal Formula that contains adrenal glandular tissue that acts like a stem cell enhancer.  These tissue extracts are derived from the healthiest New Zealand bovine sources and carry a DNA/RNA blueprint that promotes cell healing and repair. Adrenal Formula also contains important revitalizing nutrients including vitamin C, pantothenic acid, zinc, vitamin B6, vitamin A and tyrosine, which are also so helpful for the thyroid. Start with 1 caplet three times daily at 7 am, 11 am and 3 pm. If blood pressure is 90/60 or below, consider upping the dosage to 2 caplets at each of those “adrenal times”.

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Zee

    Hi,thanks for the article. Would taking DHEA alone help anything at all? And what does this have in relationship with women who suffer from PCOS and have imbalanced hormonal levels?

    • Ann Louise

      Hi Zee! You ask a very important and loaded question. PCOS has often been called “the most common, but least well-understood, hormonal imbalance effecting women.” Most women who suffer from PCOS have high levels of DHEA in their bloodstream already, so unless you test with the Adrenal Stress Panel or a blood test for DHEA-S, you may be harming yourself and potentially raising other androgenic hormones as well. In this case, testing would be a necessity!

  2. Karen

    What kind if tests can I ask my dr to do? I take meds for high blood pressure, I’m prediabetic, my thyroid I’d fine but weight is coming on. I’m sure stress is contributed to that. But my liver is storing fat. Cauldron that affect metabolism. In any case I added 15 Pds in 5 mos. not sure why.

  3. Ann Louise

    Hi Karen: A cortisol blood test – or more ideally the Adrenal Stress Panel which tests cortisol levels throughout the day and can oftentimes be covered by insurance with an accompanying doctor’s prescription – is what you should request.

    The Fat Flush Plan diet may help you to reset your metabolism, balance blood sugar and cleanse/defat your liver!!

  4. Karen

    Hi AL:
    I take 5mg melatonin and a 300mg calcium with some magnesium before bed. I just started taking Aswanghada during the day, and find I desire less cofee and have more energy . Would 1 brazil nut before bed be enough of a protein snack to stop the night time cortisol surges that wake me up ?
    thanks in advance for you help.

    • Ann Louise

      Hello Karen: Thanks again for another post. Brazil nuts – although a wonderful source of selenium and Vitamin E – will not provide enough protein before bed to prevent cortisol surges. A high protein (20 grams) smoothie would be the best choice followed by two tablespoons of almond butter.

  5. karen anne

    I think there are two Karen’s here. I asked the question on the 24 May and thank you for your reply!. Yes, I want to get on the FF Plan and was years ago. Problem is I have high uric acid now (not sure why cause I rarely eat beef or drink wine) and the cran juice might be too much. what do you think?
    Also was thinking of starting with the smoothie plan and am unclear if that requires the cran juice. thanks a million!

    • Team ALG

      You can be successful with either plan by substituting 1 Tbs of apple cider vinegar in one quart of water for the cran-water. Make sure to get your morning hot lemon water as this will help alkalize your body!


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