This little known condition could be WHY you’re struggling to lose weight

A stressful life isn't anything new! In fact, stress is a helpful evolutionary tool that helped our ancestors survive in a dangerous world.
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A stressful life isn’t anything new! In fact, stress is a helpful evolutionary tool that helped our ancestors survive in a dangerous world.

However, these days, an un-paid bill or a demanding job is more likely to cause stress than being chased by a predator, but the same hormones are activated to generate the ‘flight or fight’ response.

One of the hormones released while we are stressed is called adrenalin. This gives us instant energy (it is the one associated with super human strength in times of car accidents etc).

Others are corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRH) and cortisol. Initially, adrenalin and CRH suppress appetite however this doesn’t last long and soon after you can become ravenously hungry.

Add in cortisol, whose job is to help us replace the fuel that has been used in our time of stress, and it effectively raises your appetite and drives you to eat more and more. And this knock on effect of stress like this can be what’s hindering your weight loss.

The condition is called ‘adrenal fatigue’ and this could be the reason why you’re struggling to shed kilos.

This little known condition could be why you're struggling to lose weight

What is adrenal fatigue?

Adrenal fatigue is becoming a common yet controversial diagnosis and it may also be hindering your weight loss.

It’s a process in which your body releases cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. Heightened stress levels can cause imbalances in hormones like cortisol, metabolism and adrenaline.

Tired mum shower

While it’s not medically recognised, studies have shown that adrenal fatigue and cortisol play a role in weight gain.

Too many adrenal hormones can go straight to your waistline. Your body gets stuck in “high alert” mode and this may be due to constant daily pressures.

If your adrenals have become overtaxed by the excess cortisol release, they are basically exhausted or fatigued. This can then lead to an imbalance and can halter your weight loss.

Symptoms of adrenal fatigue

  • Struggling to get out of bed in the morning
  • Frequent changes in mood
  • ‘Brain fog’
  • Craving sweet or salty food
  • Overuse of caffeine
  • Issues with sleep
  • Problems with digestion
  • A weak immune system

How to stop adrenal fatigue

  • Get enough rest
  • Switch off at night – turn off electrical devices 30 minutes before bed
  • Eat a healthy diet, if you feel good inside you will feel more relaxed
  • Exercise regularly
  • Meditate and unwind
  • Cut back on coffee
  • Cut back on alcohol
  • Speak with a counsellor to get to the root of what is stressing you out

Find out how to reduce stress and learn to relax

Stressful eating


Do you rely on food such as ice cream to help you feel happier at the end of a stressful day?

Do you often find yourself eating dinner leftovers? You’re not alone. Many people reach for their favourite comfort foods when they are feeling stressed (us included).

But what you might not realise is that we tend to have a tendency to consume foods that contain lots of sugar or fat when feeling stressed, instead of healthy foods.

This is because of a hormone called cortisol, which affects our stress levels.

Mum of two Julia Meadows (pictured above) who has lost 10kg* following The Healthy Mummy’s 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge knows that stress can have a negative effect on weight loss.

“For most of us, stress is a fact of life. Unfortunately, it’s also a fact of fat. So even if you usually eat well and exercise, chronic high stress can prevent you from losing weight. 

“Also if you are stressing about progress to the point that it is taking away from your quality of life, it may be important to re-evaluate why you are losing weight in the first place. If stress is elevated to a certain point, it may start to affect your progress.”

Reducing your stress

The good news is, by reducing your stress levels, you can prevent this build-up of cortisol within your body that causes cravings for bad foods – and so reducing your stress could mean that you actually eat more healthily, which is good for weight loss and for general health.

To reduce your stress levels, try meditation or deep-breathing techniques. Both of these can help you to relax and become generally less stressed, helping you to feel calmer and less anxious during stressful moments. If you feel like you are unable to deal with your stress alone, or you have tried stress busting techniques without any results, speak to your doctor for advice.

Check out our MIND, BODY & BREATH sessions

These are designed to help reduce stress and improve mood among pregnant women and early mums, enhance your connection with self-care practices and really thrive through the transformation of motherhood.


There are three Healthy Mummy MIND.BODY.BREATH sessions for you to choose from:

  • 3 minute
  • 5 minute
  • 10 minute

All Healthy sessions begin with a MIND.BODY.BREATH warm-up, to get you settled and prepared.

We recommend you begin your Healthy Mummy guided MIND.BODY.BREATH practice by doing it twice a week.

Start slow and gradually grow your practice so that it becomes a habit. Your aim is to be able to do it daily. Set a reminder for yourself as a morning or bedtime ritual. Find a time that works for you.

Find your inner peace and relax with the awesome MIND.BODY.BREATH.Sessions we now have on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.

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