Cortisol is Evil – An Update

It’s been almost two weeks since the DEXA scan that showed I gained body fat and lost lean body mass.  My hunch was that the stress hormone, cortisol, was a major cause.  What I’ve done to address the cortisol issue…

1) My incredibly awesome doctor, Dr. Nancy Conley, is a family practitioner and also a practioner of Chinese Herbal Therapy.  http://nancyconleymd.com/    She used her super cool diagnostic tool to discover that my cortisol levels are indeed too high.  She gave me some new herbs to neutralize them.

2) I’m taking a B-complex formulated for stress and a natural energy and adrenal supplement I got at Vitamin Shoppe.

3) Set up a weekly 30 min massage instead of a bi-weekly hour massage.

4) Downloaded and use meditation music designed to align brainwaves.

5) Added a rest day – Wednesday – to the workout schedule.  Wednesdays and Saturdays are rest days now.  I may still do cardio on Wednesdays, but nothing on Saturdays.  I will still sleep longer on Wednesday mornings.  That first rest day happens after I’ve lifted legs, chest, and back.  I feel pretty beat up after those three days, so that’s the best place for the extra rest day.

6) Remove unnecessary stressors.  I’m staying away from negative conversations and negative people, as much as I possibly can.  I gave myself permission to emotionally dump all the stuff I’ve been trying to reconcile in my head and could not resolve.  I dropped it all.   Accepted that there may be no solution. Moving on was easier afterwards.

7) Bed at 8 pm.  Every day.

8) Coffee is mixed to be half decaffinated.  I’m also skipping that first cup in the morning when cortisol levels are the highest they are going to be over the day.

I don’t know if any of these things are working this soon, but I felt better today.  I don’t care if its a placebo effect – as long as I’m not having anxiety with hormones pumping, I’m happy.

Also, I gained 8 pounds in the week after the scan.  There was some cheating on the diet, but I also started taking creatine again.  I’m convinced that the lean body mass reading last June was inflated by muscular water retention from the creatine I was taking at the time.  I was not taking creatine for the second scan.  Between the creatine and the increased carbs, I gained water.  About the same amount of water as the lean body mass it appears I lost.  So I’m not sure exactly how much muscle I lost at all.  Not 9 pounds, I’m sure of that.

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