How Stress Negatively Impacts Our Hormones, Weight Loss, and Health
You open the email… you read the blogs… you see the social media posts… why the hell does PP keep talking about things other than recipes and specific foods?! It doesn’t make any sense- you simply figure out what food you need, buy that food, cook/prep that food, eat that food, get jacked. In a perfect world, it would be that easy. People would simply listen to their dietitians, coaches, gym friends, accountants, financial managers… sorry got off track there… and they would all be jacked and rich.
The problem is, that’s not how human nature works and that’s not how most people reach their goals. The real path to success often looks like a little kid’s pirate map, with lines going every which way and random spots on there that should have never been visited.
We believe that to make nutrition work for long periods of time and to reach and then maintain high levels of health and fitness, it is important to work WITH the whole system. Not just the muscles, microbiome (GUT HEALTH LINK), the heart, the psychology by themselves, but together they form this incredibly unique thing that is you. We want to maximize every part of it and make it all work towards something… your goals.
People often become obsessed with small things that they believe will be the difference, but never take time to understand our big rocks. For us at PP it’s balance and maximizing the different parts that go into your diet.
1) Psychology – habits / mental health / mental capacity and ability
2) Biochemistry – hormonal responses due to food, stress, life, disease, etc.
3) Environment – socioeconomic / interpersonal / life stage
4) Physical – health / lifestyle / performance
If we don’t take care of each of these 4 components, what we call our Big Rocks, it will never be optimal. Yes, you can see some changes by fixing 1-2, or see big results with 2-3, but until all 4 are accounted for and set for success the client will always be missing something. Our job here as dietitians and coaches is to help people figure out each of these and then turn them into small habits and actions, that they can act on daily to move forward.
With that all being said, what does that have to do with hormones? When we take care of our biochemistry, we set-up our body to handle food better. This means the body is more likely to absorb what it needs, get rid of what it does not, and function better for overall health.
Often when people are in high stress careers there are common negative hormonal cascades that happen, and the major hormone people reference is cortisol (1). This hormone has a litany of jobs in the human body, specifically when life and stress are out of balance. Situations where it is hard to perform at a high level or reach goals like losing weight or gaining lean body mass. When cortisol is high, there are many biochemistry markers that will be out of whack, including blood lipid levels (LDL & HDL), high blood glucose levels, inconsistent insulin labs, and hyperkalemia. Other signs of having high stress hormones include high blood pressure, high levels of fatty deposits, and increased likelihood of diabetes.
So, what do we do? We look at our clients as a whole and we try to do more than just recommend they eat more antioxidants. We talk about sleep, recovery, mindfulness, and we educate our clients / athletes on each topic to help them with FAQ‘s and best practices.
Getting regular medical exams, checkups and blood panels done on a consistent basis are extremely important for one’s overall health, specifically as you get older. We have members on our staff who are qualified to read the labs, help you to understand the information and then work with you and your doctor or health care provider to determine the best nutritional measures to take in order to be successful. This can play a major role in your long term health and performance, don’t trust it to unqualified people.
Finally, we talk to our clients / athletes and allow them to figure out what their limitations and issues really are by asking the tough questions. This introspection will often lead to them having a deeper understanding of their actions and relationship with health, food, and those around them.
This knowledge empowers them to take small daily actions to reduce stress and truly make large differences and lead to big results in their entire life.
Want to learn more about how to start reducing stress, building better daily habits and have a staff of dietitians, coaches and counselors to help be your allies? Click here to speak with our staff and get more help on your journey today!