I’m concerned that I have Adrenal Fatigue - I did an online quiz and I seem to fit a lot of the symptoms. I’m an assistant trainer so I am constantly busy riding and teaching. I feel tired, but can barely sleep - then it’s nearly impossible to get up in the morning so I drink a lot of coffee. Also, I seem to always have a mild cold I can’t get rid of. How can I treat Adrenal Fatigue so I feel better and have more energy? Thanks, AF Trainer
Dear Concerned Trainer,
I understand how you must need a lot of energy to be an assistant trainer and how draining the everyday activities can be on your body. To begin, your adrenals are walnut-sized glands that sit on top of your kidneys and produce hormones that respond and help you manage stress. There has been a lot of attention lately on the term “adrenal fatigue” which refers to the various symptoms that occur in individuals who suffer a sudden, major life stress, or who experience ongoing mental, emotional, or physical stress. Your adrenal function is part of a larger interconnected system, so it is important to consider the underlying stress that is actually causing your "adrenal fatigue".
Addressing lifestyle factors now and developing stress coping strategies are the first steps to take in correcting an adrenal imbalance. I prefer to run an actual lab test that assesses hormone levels too. As I mentioned above, there can be many contributing stressors that can cause your adrenals not to function optimally. Taking a good look at your lifestyle, combined with test results can help to establish the connection that is the root cause of your adrenal fatigue.
"I think it is very important to have a healthy balanced diet, which often requires a lot of effort when you are on the road and traveling a lot. I try to follow a balanced diet which includes protein throughout the day as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. I also think it is very important to stay hydrated while being very active."
- Jaclyn Duff of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
The show season is over and after the holidays I want to do a cleanse. What is the best kind of cleanse to do for weight loss and to get rid of that holiday ‘bloat’? Thanks, “Holiday“
Every year we are faced with the dreaded holiday weight gain. Gym memberships skyrocket in January, and nutrition programs fill up too. With the oversaturation of weight loss ads and promises, it can be hard to determine which program is best for your personal needs.
My best advice is to be proactive and not completely let go during the holidays – continue riding, and since the show season has quieted down, maybe challenge yourself with a no stirrups day or an extra lesson each week. When it comes to food, don’t overindulge just because it is the holiday season. Enjoy a small portion of your favorite holiday treats, but don’t overdo it. If you do derail from your normal diet, just get back to it the next day and don’t let it be the excuse to eat poorly all holiday season.
As far as cleanses go, they can be an excellent way to jumpstart or reestablish good eating habits. I prefer that my clients do an elimination diet, where they cut out the foods that tend cause reactions. Many people discover improvements in their health by eliminating these inflammatory foods. Some lose weight and decrease that puffy, bloated feeling, while others experience an improved skin condition or better mental clarity. Again, this type of cleanse can help establish habits that support long-term health, not just a crash in weight that is regained when the program stops.
What I don’t recommend is calorie restrictive cleanses and juice cleansing. Some people swear by them, but for most clients with existing health concerns, cutting out food can create more mental and physical stress. Some vegetable juices and smoothies can add extra nutrition to a whole foods based diet, which of course can be beneficial. However, relying on juice alone (or swapping a meal for a smoothie) may temporarily help you lose weight and that holiday “bloat”, but it is not a sustainable way of eating. Be sure to consider your long-term goal when choosing a cleanse program and try to maintain your current healthy habits the best your can during the holiday season!
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Kimball Willson is the founder of The Equestrian Health Coach and offers nutritional and lifestyle coaching to riders nationwide. Learn more about her programs, schedule a Free Introduction Call, and download your copy of “3 Common Health Mistakes that are Ruining Your Ride” at www.EquestrianHealthCoach.com and www.SelfCareCleanse.com
This column is for education and entertainment, please consult your doctor before making any changes to your own health.