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I have a confession: It wasn’t long ago that I was addicted to all the things that I preach against – sugar, adrenaline, caffeine, dairy and alcohol. At Harvard Medical School, I was taught (and blithely internalized) the message that the ruthless and dogged pursuit of medical knowledge was noble, even if it meant denying basic needs. I gladly worked 120 hours per week for many years. I denied sleep, food, going to the bathroom and exercise. I delivered a thousand babies. I removed ovaries with minimally invasive surgery. I performed 500 hysterectomies. I saw 30 patients per day in the office for ten years. How did that really make me feel? Burned out. My adrenal glands could not keep up with the demand. I was a classic case of adrenal fatigue. I was taught to minimize what I now believe to be essential and nonnegotiable: regular sleep; access to organic, whole foods, mindfully eaten; contemplative practice; loving connection and movement.
I pushed for years, running on adrenaline and fumes, until I crashed.
Adrenal fatigue is the most common hormonal imbalance in women. Find out if you have the classic, Harvard-approved symptoms and what to do about them.
Do you want the Harvard-approved, complete list of symptoms?
- Anxiety, especially in stressful situations
- Emotional instability or excessive emotions
- Frequent screaming or yelling
- Confusion, difficulty with focus, under stress
- Poor resilience to stress - stress feels too much or unfair
- Excessive sensitivity to human suffering
- Feeling of victimhood
- Accusatory (more common in men) or quarrelsome
- Sharp, verbal retorts
- Energy: fatigue, especially under stress
- Skin: inflamed such as with rashes, eczema or psoriasis
- Autoimmune: predisposed to Hashimoto's or connective tissue disease
- Food: sugar cravings, intense hunger, salty food cravings
- They minimize their symptoms of approaching burnout, until they drop from overgiving
- They reach for fake energy in the form of caffeine, sugar and alcohol
- They soldier on in the face of overdrive, not realizing how out of alignment one or more aspects of their lives are with their beliefs