A while ago I was listening to a podcast called "Balanced Bites" (a paleo podcast) and the guest on their show was Sara Gottfried (Harvard-educated gynecologist who treats the root causes of health problems & Yoga teacher). She is well known for showing women how to adjust their hormones NATURALLY. I was so excited to hear what she had to say on the show. I was taking notes like mad. She just recently came out with a book called "The Hormone Cure" and was giving tips from her book. I loved all of her tips so much that I knew I had to buy her book immediately! So I asked for her book for my birthday. It was definitely my most anticipated gift because I couldn't wait to get started! I knew I would love it because all of her tips MADE SENSE and plus they were SIMPLE too!
In the beginning of her book she has a checklist of symptoms for different hormones that may be off balance. I knew I was dealing with a lot but I was blown away when all categories had 6-8 checkmarks for each category. In other words my hormones are out of WACK! I kinda knew that already but the survey was a TERRIBLE eye-opener.
The biggest one that stood out above the other hormones was HIGH CORTISOL! I already knew why my cortisol was so high---Working out so much! I had this epiphany about 2 weeks ago--- I was working out TOO HARD! I had tried looking into so many things to help calm my mind---nothing worked UNTIL I took my workouts down a notch. I was flabbergasted when I knew in my GUT that that was the source of most of my problems. I LOVE my workouts so I thought they were helping me with my stress but they were doing the absolute opposite---they were RAISING MY CORTISOL. Here's how I knew my cortisol was too high:
- Losing sleep, waking up around 2am and couldn't fall back asleep
- Quick to irritability
- Feeling wired yet tired (at night)
- Sugar cravings
- Skin conditions
I was feeling all of these symptoms + some. These are some of the symptoms in the questionnaire to identify if you have high cortisol. After 2 weeks of doing ABSOLUTE ZERO intensive training, my sleep has gotten better, I am less irritable, I'm not feeling so wired at night. My anxiety has calmed down.
Now, I know that I can implement my workouts back into my regular routine...BUT SLOWLY. Looking back, I never took a week off from training. Even Olympians take time off from training. But I wasn't. I was stressing my body out way too much. So the difference is I needed to take more breaks.
So my goal is to really slow down because I've noticed AMAZING benefits already. For approximately a month I will mainly be focusing on YOGA and WALKING to help lower my cortisol back to normal levels. I will revisit my checklist to see that I only have 2 or less symptoms to know that I can implement 1-2 intermediate workouts and see how I feel. Who knows?--It may take some time to lower my cortisol and that's ok.
And honestly I obviously have myself to blame. I constantly have this "NEED for SPEED." I am constantly rushing myself all the time. I like to be a fast worker. Here's the areas that I rush myself with:
- Rushing to get ready in the morning; showering, putting on make-up, even putting clothes on. Can't we just enjoy being nakey for a little :)
- I eat too fast: I need to enjoy my food more
- Driving to work: I wouldn't say I'm always to late, But I am always driving kinda fast to work. That gets my heartbeat going--cause I'm preventing myself from being late.
- Rushing from one class to another at work. I work all over the school
- Rushing to the grocery store and pick the foods that I need
- Rushing to get Dinner Ready
- AND I'm a CRAZY-FAST WALKER!
I could go into a lot more detail on all the things I "LIKE" to rush in. Anyway this is another area I need to calm down in. But the more I thought about it, we are TRAINED from elementary-age to work fast, get assignments/ projects done. Everything has a deadline. And if we want to be noticed we need to be competitive. That competitive side in us causes that Fight or Flight part of us to take over. I was training my Fight or Flight to take action every second of my day. I needed to train my brain to slow down and LIVE in the moment and take everything in. I am not kidding---after a couple days I have noticed a huge change in just making an attempt to calm down. Even just slowing down my movements because I'm constantly going-going-going. So that's my goal too, To let myself slow down and BREATHE more.
I can't wait to share more from this FABULOUS book, THE HORMONE CURE, by Sara Gottfried. Women from all ages can learn from this book. In fact, quoted from THE HORMONE CURE,
"A common myth about hormones is that you don't need to worry about them until menopause The truth is, many hormone levels, such as estrogen and testosterone start to drift downward when you're in your twenties. Some hormones, such as cortisol, may spike too high and pull other hormones offline."
This may be the most beneficial information I've taken from this book!