“I don’t think I’m normal, but I think I’m a little less crazy than I thought I was.”
JOHN: Hello, and welcome to A Healthy Conversation. Before we get started, you went to the psychologist yesterday and they said that you were borderline crazy or just a little bit crazy?
DONNA: Okay wait. Just wait a minute. Wait a minute, this is going out like around the world, so let’s qualify this. Last night over dinner I told John – and if you’re a friend of mine on Facebook, you probably saw this already, that we have a family psychologist that we’ve been going to for–.
JOHN: Good guy.
DONNA: Yeah, great guy. And so, I went to him because quite honestly, I had a fear that – I didn’t tell John I waited until I had gone – I had a fear that I might be bipolar.
JOHN: I had a fear about that too. Just kidding.
DONNA: You’re not helping. You’re not helping. Anyway, because I’ve been under, as we’ve shared with you, an enormous amount of stress lately and I was feeling very, very down. Yet when things would go well, I have a best seller, I was feeling really good. So, I went to him, and I said, “I just want to make sure I don’t have issues, because if I do, we need to deal with them.” And he goes, “Donna, when you get to a place when there isn’t any stress, when you come to the lake house” he goes, “do you feel down?” I said, “No, I feel fine.” He goes, “Okay, when you had the best seller did you feel good?” I go, “Yeah.” He goes, “Then you’re normal.” I go, “Really? Normal?”
JOHN: As normal as you can get.
DONNA: Right? That’s what I put on Facebook. I was like, “I don’t think I’m normal, but I think I’m a little less crazy than I thought I was.”
JOHN: Oh, go on with it.
DONNA: Okay. So, we’re sharing that with you and maybe because that helps you too, normal is just a setting on a washing machine I heard. It goes wishy washy, wishy washy and then it stops, so nobody wants normal right?
DONNA: Especially you because you’re just energized by being married to someone—
JOHN: I’ve been used to being around abnormal for a long time.
DONNA: Okay. So, all joking aside, we’ve been taking about how you need sleep, and you need relaxation because if you don’t get it, some of the side effects are weight – unexplained weight gain, right? Some of the side effects are complete fatigue, depression, gastrointestinal disorders, night sweats, hot flashes. Okay, so I really started digging into this.
JOHN: Lots of cortisol you’ve been talking about with these stress levels.
DONNA: Yep, yep. I mean just researching like crazy. And really I did, I took a little sabbatical for almost a week. Came down here to the lake house, John wasn’t even with me, which is rare, I don’t do a lot of “by myself time”. And, I had no night sweats, I slept through the night peacefully, no hot flashes, nothing, which totally told us, that was completely tied to stress.
JOHN: Or maybe you’re allergic to me, I think we talked about that too.
Stress, Cortisol and Adrenal Phases
DONNA: Okay, well we haven’t ruled that one out, we’re working on that. So anyway, here’s what I found, which is fascinating, fascinating with regard to cortisol. There are really three phases; the first phase and we all know the Fight-or-Flight Syndrome, which is how God made this body. That, when you know, the bear was rushing after us back in the prehistoric era, right? Then the adrenals—
JOHN: Kicked in.
DONNA: Were told by the HPA axis, okay, hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis, that brain said, “Hey adrenals, pump up the cortisol, she’s got a bear chasing her.”
JOHN: Got to get out of here.
DONNA: That’s right, got to hurry. So, running, running, running, cortisol producing, everything’s, good, right? The thing is, when that threat would go away, the brain would then say, “Stop the cortisol.”
JOHN: Calm down again.
DONNA: In our day and age, we’re constantly under that kind of stress. We shouldn’t be, but we are, it’s the lifestyle that we live. So here’s what happens, when the cortisol doesn’t shut down, it’s producing, producing, producing, producing and it’s at a very high level, but there are no real issues so nobody’s going to the doctor to see if their cortisol high.
JOHN: Feel good.
DONNA: They just feel good. They’re going, “I only need five hours of sleep at night, I can do a million different tasks, I can’t be beaten and I’m ready to take over the world” and you just feel like you can handle everything. Your cortisol is at a peak at that point, but you don’t know it. So none of us are checking it out when the cortisol is high. However, cortisol can only be produced for so long and it’s going to stop, it’s going to start dropping. And at that point, when it starts dropping, that’s when everything’s out of balance. That’s when the hormones are affected, progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, that’s when thyroid —
JOHN: Adrenal fatigue.
DONNA: Adrenal fatigue, is exactly what I’m talking about. And that’s when you start having all of these side effects; unexplained weight gain, excessive fatigue, depression, digestive disorder, night sweats, mood swings, hot flashes – those are the symptoms that the cortisol’s out of balance. It’s not high, it’s now out of balance, and this is really where you want to get it in check. All of these symptoms are going to tell you you’ve got an issue. That’s phase two.
Phase three is if you don’t get those symptoms in check, cortisol will bottom out. Then you are completely exhausted, kind of permanently, totally depressed, kind of permanently. Now again it can be reversed, you can work on adrenal fatigue, but it takes some time.
(For a PRIVATE Master Class to find out if your adrenals are failing you go to www.aremyadrenalsfailing.com)
So I’m sharing all of this cortisol information because it has everything to do with weight. It has everything to do with feeling good. I think what we want you to do, if figure out where are you. If you’re feeling like you can kind of just do everything, I’ve got to tell you your cortisol is probably high, but you won’t go check it out because you feel good.
JOHN: Just don’t know any better.
DONNA: That’s right. When it’s out of balance is when you’re not going to feel good and that’s when you really need to go check it out. Now pay attention to this last thing I’m going to share. I went and had all of my labs done, because again, I just knew something was wrong and I wanted to check it out, right? My labs came back and said I was completely healthy, everything was good. Cortisol was good, everything was good. Now that I’ve done this research, I am now realizing, well of course cortisol wouldn’t high, I’m past that. I got to the point where I was extremely fatigued and feeling down sometimes. What I found out in my research is see it’s at that point of out of balance, it’s falling. This is a perfect time for me to get a grip on it. You’d probably like it if I got a grip, right?
JOHN: I’d love it if you got a grip that would be great.
DONNA: Okay, so we are happy to have been your entertainment committee today on A Healthy Conversation. And like you didn’t figure it out already, you’re aren’t in the Krech Kitchen, you’re at Krech Cottage and we’ll be shooting a lot of our episodes from here, because this is where we will be spending a lot of time during this season. So until we talk to you next time, it’s good to be a little bit crazy, I think. Right?
JOHN: Yeah, keep life interesting.
DONNA: Yeah, keeps life interesting. We’ll talk to you next time.