"I know itís been said before, by Matt Stone and well meaning grandparents everywhere, but it bears repeating. We ought to eat three square meals a day. Not a protein shake as you run out the door in the morning, not drinking coffee instead of having lunch, not bingeing when you get home from work. Three substantial, balanced meals with all the food groups represented. When you donít have enough fuel, your body thinks there is a problem so it goes into stress mode, plain and simple. There was a good reason for my grandmotherís look of horror when Iíd inform her at 4pm that I hadnít eaten all day. Sure, I rolled my eyes at her old fashioned sensibilities, but which one of us exhausted our adrenals by their mid 20ís? Not her, boy howdy."
Now, I'm not knocking Intermittet fasting. I do it myself on occasion, but always in between big, satisfying meals, not between coffee and protein bars.
I was about to post about Adrenal Fatigue and decided to search the threads first! I guess this link doesn't work anymore, but has anyone had any experience with Adrenal Fatigue? A couple of weeks ago, I posted in my journal about feeling tired all the time and basically having every symptom of Adrenal Fatigue (once I read about them). I have read mixed opinions about it. Some say that Adrenal Fatigue isn't even real, while others swear that it is.
Matt Stone turned out to be a whackadoodle, but sometimes he says smart things in addition to the crazy things.
I don't have any opinion about whether it's real, but I did enjoy this post from Go Kaleo where she compares symptoms of "adrenal fatigue" with symptoms of starvation. Yes, the article repeats twice on the same page. I thought I was having some real deja vu for a second.
Do you feel that the way you eat and exercise contributes to feeling tired all the time? Or do you eat plenty, sleep well, manage stress, recover properly from workouts, and it seems to be independent of that?
Well, here's the thing...I always feel tired, no matter what. When I ate 1,200 calories a day, when I'm eating too much, when I was eating low carb...all of those times I felt the same way, which was exhausted! I sleep pretty well for the most part, but occasionally I have nights where I have trouble getting to sleep or tossing and turning. I don't really handle stress that well. I take an antidepressant for anxiety disorder, actually. It seems to help some but I still struggle. That's understandable though since I know a pill can't fix everything! I feel okay after my workouts...I hardly ever feel sore which is really weird because I push myself. I haven't ever noticed a change in the way I feel when comparing the times I exercise or times when I don't. I still feel equally exhausted. As a matter of fact, it takes a lot of will power just to get a workout in because I usually don't feel like it.
I'm just so sick and tired of feeling like crap all the time.
I guess that makes it more likely to be something medical. Although, now that I think about it, eating 1,200 calories per day, eating low carb, and overeating all three made me feel exhausted, sluggish, moody, and horrible. In every case, I was ignoring my physical and emotional needs, which led to a feeling of general ickiness. That's the scientific term.
I'd be curious if anyone else has experienced those kinds of fatigue and exhaustion symptoms and what helped. I know I have friends and family members who experienced it as a result of depression or thyroid problems, not the way they ate or exercised.
I have actually been diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue - about 3-4 years ago. Regardless of the controversy surrounding whether AF is a genuine condition, the blood tests do not lie and I basically had a flat lining 24hr cortisol pattern - where is should peak in the morning and taper off in the PM.
AF is caused by chronic and long-term stressors impacting on the body. The first stages are an excess of cortisol and adrenalin and then the end stages are where the body can no longer produce the necessary amounts of cortisol at the right times - a bit like an empty fuel tank - and this results in the symptoms of incredible fatigue but usually insomnia at night - a whole host of things.
I did so much to heal this condition and believe I am so much better now than I was. Tara if you want to PM me I am more than happy to talk about it! Hope you feel better soon. :)
Hi Sarah! Sure no probs. Well I wish it was some simple, straightforward answer. My health issues were/are complex and I had a lot more going on than just AF.... So I was doing a whole lot of things to treat a range of issues. I am also not an expert or a medical person so I just speak from experience.
But probably what I can say is this:
make sure you find a functional medicine doctor or one that is willing to acknowledge that adrenal issues are a real thing but can also see them as part of a greater issue or as a symptom of a greater issue.
you need to change your life! I made drastic changes to my life to eliminate acute and chronic stressors. Stress can come in all forms - and as Skwigg has highlighted, even being underfed/ eating too 'clean' and over exercising can be major stressors on the body.
Eats - again, you need to be well nourished to heal the adrenals. I found that I was so sensitive to any stimulants and also to carbs, grains and sugars but this is a symptom of AF. Over time, this has improved and I no longer experience the shakes or the hypoglycemia. Very strict and low carb/paleo diets can make things worse! They downregulate hormones and affect thyroid function. A traditional, Western Price style diet is ideal but you have to include carbs!
Salt - AF causes you to crave salt. The amount of salt I used to put on food and use in my cooking was insane - like a whole teaspoon in a bowl of oats. Get a good quality salt and use as much as you want. Don't fight the salt cravings because your body needs it
Acupuncture - as often as you can afford to go
Gentle exercise only
As much sleep as possible
Supplements - I have taken so many things but supps can really help. A good quality adaptogen/ nervous system support blend is very helpful - see a naturopath. I also used St John's Wort at one stage when my anxiety was really bad (but you really need to consult your doctor before taking SJW because it has many interactions with medications etc.) I also found natural sleep remedies to be helpful with insomnia.
Hey, y'all! Thanks for the responses and sorry I've been MIA the past couple of days! Jess, thanks for posting that. I don't know if that could be my problem, or maybe it could be Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? Not sure, but I know something definitely isn't right. I think I'll be proactive and start doing some of the things you mentioned. It can't hurt, right?
The Go Kaleo article is great because there are a lot of people self-imposing "adrenal fatigue" symptoms due to their diet, but excessive calorie restriction is by far the only cause of those kind of symptoms.
My suggestion for anybody dealing with unexplained fatigue issues would be to make sure you're advocating for yourself as much as you can with your primary care physician. I think it's easy to feel like you're being a "baby" for complaining about being tired, but excessive fatigue/sleepiness can really rob your quality of life and it's your doctor's responsibility to help you with that...once they understand the situation at hand.
Depending on what's going on and what areas your primary care doc is comfortable with, it might be as simple as dealing wth them and finding out what the cause is ("Yay! Blood test tells all!"). It might also mean going to an endocrinologist, sleep specialist, neurologist, and/or psychiatrist.
I used to think I had adrenal fatigue and was going to have to save up thousands of dollars to get help with it. Turns out I have depression, sleep apnea, and primary hypersomnelence and just needed to start being proactive with getting help from doctors in my network. It took a long time to sort all of these out and get the appropriate treatment plan, so hindsight being 20/20...I really wish I went straight to my doctor sooner.