Lose Weight and Balance Cortisol: The Adrenal Reset Diet with Dr. Alan Christianson

In this episode of The Functional Medicine Radio Show, Dr. Carri’s special guest Dr. Alan Christianson talks about how to lose weight and balance cortisol with simple diet and lifestyle changes.

Dr. Christianson is an Arizona-based Naturopathic Physician who helps people overcome adrenal and thyroid disorders and achieve lasting fat loss. He authored the New York Times bestselling books: “The Adrenal Reset Diet” and “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease”. Dr. Christianson is the founding physician behind Integrative Health.

Main Questions Asked:

  • What is the underlying cause of weight gain?
  • What do you mean by ‘survival mode’?
  • What are the most common internal stressors?
  • How do we get ourselves out of survival mode?
  • What is the diet you recommend to help keep the cortisol rhythm intact?
  • What are some symptoms if we’ve eaten too many carbs?
  • What are some symptoms of we need to eat more carbs?
  • What are other easy ways people can regain their adrenal rhythm?
  • You explain the clinical trial on your diet in your book. Can you describe the results?
  • How much do our genes control our body weight?
  • What are three easy and actionable things we can start doing today to help our cortisol rhythm?

Key Points made by Dr. Christianson:

  • The body has a capacity to prepare for danger. This ‘survival mode’ causes us to store more weight more easily.
  • Survival mode causes more fat to be stored around our organs to prepare us just in case we go through a period of food shortage.
  • There are many invisible triggers for survival mode – artificial light, pollutants, processed foods, and how we schedule our lives.
  • Pollutants (even sound pollution) and processed foods (including fructose and high fructose corn syrup) are the most common internal food stressors.
  • Cortisol is the main stress hormone and it also manages blood sugar.
  • The foods we eat have a big impact on our cortisol rhythm.
  • Avoid wheat, dairy, eggs, processed foods, and sugar – this is nothing ‘new’.
  • It’s what ‘to do’ that’s new – think of carbs as a tool. The timing of your carbs makes all the difference…have more of them later in the day…and less of them earlier in the day.
  • A diet too high in carbs causes erratic blood sugar. These people are hungry all the time and never really full or satisfied.
  • A diet too low in carbs causes insomnia or poor sleep.
  • It’s best to eat carbs later in the day for better sleep.
  • Diet alone can help adrenal rhythm, plus there are other adrenal strategies depending on the patients cortisol needs.
  • There are three different patterns of cortisol imbalance – too high, too low, and backwards.
  • The clinical trial for the 30 day diet showed it helped to correct all three patterns of cortisol imbalance.
  • Research on identical twins proved weight has no genetic component.
  • Start today: Take a deep breath. Belly breathing helps balance cortisol.
  • Start today: Get bright light first thing in the morning. Go outside for half an hour within an hour of waking up, or use a light box that is 10,000 LUX or stronger. Bright light helps balance cortisol.
  • Start today: Journaling. Get your emotions and thoughts down on a piece of paper and reflect on it. This can help balance cortisol.

Resources Mentioned:

Adrenal Quiz

Dr. Christianson’s website

Meditation vibration bracelet

Dr. C’s book – The Adrenal Reset Diet

Book – Reclaim Your Energy and Feel Normal Again

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