Have you been stuck on the weight-loss merry-go-round, circling and circling from one diet to the next?
Have you jumped on the exercise train that seems to work for everyone else, tortured yourself for weeks, and just feel more tired and angry?
Is each and every day a struggle to keep yourself from falling asleep? Can you get through your day without tea, coffee, chocolate, or some other mid-afternoon pick-me-up?
I have been there…desperate for a solution and floundering in the darkness. No matter how much I tried to address the weight head-on, I found myself back at square one. I just wanted to get through my day without consuming 3-4 cups of coffee to function.
The missing piece to this puzzle is a little word we all know so well…STRESS!
I was trying to be everything for everyone, but I was only running myself into the ground. My worth had always been found in what I could do for other people, and that left me running full-throttle all the time. Stress is a word we are all familiar with, but did you know its effects on your body can be truly toxic?
Staying chronically stressed makes that weight impossible to lose. Stress fogs up your mind so you have trouble completing tasks. Stress robs you of rest and energy, making each day a fight just to get through. Stress literally leaches vital nutrients from your body, leaving your cells lacking what they need to keep you moving.
Resetting your stress is always going to be your first step toward reclaiming the energy you’ve lost. I’m going to share some of the non-negotiables I’ve found to help you lose the weight, reclaim your energy, and calm your body’s stress (and it’s not as hard as you may think).
The Hormone Behind It All
In a society driven by success, the biggest lie that we believe is that we can leverage stress to help us get things done.
Stress is NOT a fuel source…in fact, it can become the biggest problem that a body faces, leading us down the path to exhaustion and depletion of other vital hormones and nutrients. It disrupts your body’s functions, shutting down entire systems in favor of survival – which is what cortisol is supposed to do…but, only momentarily. When you’re chronically stressed, cortisol is the hormone that leads to all of your other issues.
When I see cortisol issues, the first place I look is the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. This powerhouse rules the roost on hormones…until it gets overworked from chronic perceived stress. This is exactly what happened to me. Perceived stress sends cortisol into full throttle mode and your other hormones are affected as a result. Hello migraines, PMS, belly fat, and insomnia…
Cortisol robs your body of happy hormones like serotonin that helps you have restful sleep and feel positive. And it also tells your body to store fat around your middle and to eat more sugary treats as fuel.
The result? You’re tired and wired, running around from task to task, snapping at people as you pound another latte and piece of chocolate to keep yourself moving. The pounds pack on, your sleep dwindles.
And then it gets worse. Your stamina plummets. You just can’t see the bright side of life. You catch every cold or virus that is circulating. You are addicted to sugar. Your thyroid suffers (even though you may not even realize it), and your life seems to spiral out of control.
The First Step
When it was time for me to address the stress that was robbing my life of the best version of me, self-care is what saved me. Before I could heal, I had to change my belief around my value as a wife, a daughter, a practitioner, a friend, and a person.
My own health had to become my priority.
Self-care isn’t always about bath soaks, pedicures, or pretty drinks (even though those things are fantastic). At its root, self-care is giving yourself permission to prioritize your own well-being above anything else you can be doing at that moment.
One of the quickest and easiest forms of self-care may surprise you: it’s taking supplements.
Think about it…it literally takes only seconds each day, but doing it gives your body what it needs to thrive. It sets you up to face your day energized, prepared, and with a clarity of focus to help you get things done.
Supplements are a non-negotiable part of stopping your stress and healing your body.
Getting cortisol levels under control is the first step to solving your body’s chaos, but even afterward when you have managed your stress, your body may still need a little extra support. The beauty of supplements is that they often impact multiple systems in your body at once. What helps with managing your stress response may also improve your reproductive or thyroid hormone levels. Some supplements that provide HPA axis support also help with sleep, energy, and metabolism.
After researching supplement after supplement, here are the ones that I recommend the most often for hormonal support to stop your body’s stress response, banish fatigue, and naturally support weight loss:
Powerful Adaptogenic Duo: Ashwagandha & Rhodiola
If your symptoms aren’t seeming to resolve on their own after you have tried to manage your stress levels, try adaptogenic herbs like Ashwagandha and Rhodiola. They dial down the HPA’s hypervigilance to allow your body to unwind naturally and get some sleep. It is all about getting your mind and body to work in harmony with your hormones, and this is where the rejuvenating properties of these two adaptogens shine. They fight symptoms of fatigue and distress so that your mood can regulate naturally. (1) In addition, they support overall sustained energy while uplifting your mind-body connection while still supporting your immune system and overall health and wellness. (2)
Here are some specific benefits of each:
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
- Takes immediate action in your endocrine system to balance your thyroid and adrenal glands
- Thwarts production of stress hormones like epinephrine and cortisol
- Supports healthy progesterone levels
- Promotes healthy circulation
- Jumpstarts your slow libido by increasing blood flow to your lady parts
- Increases memory and rejuvenates your mind by enhancing the quality of sleep
- Reduces hot flashes, depression, and anxiety for women in menopause
I recommend taking 300-500 mg per day.
- Reduces the amount of cortisol your body produces to prevent burnout
- Supports a healthy thyroid gland
- Boosts your mood and combats fatigue while keeping your brain functioning at its best
- Protects your HPA axis from becoming over-taxed
- Lessens cravings, which leads to less binge eating (so you may even find yourself dropping weight!)
I recommend taking 300-500 mg per day.
DIM (Di-Indole Methane)
This supplement gives your body a spike of cruciferous veggie power, the equivalent of eating 25 pounds of broccoli sprouts! It supports healthy sleep and a calmed stress response to balance your mood and keeps you feeling in control of your emotions.
Estrogen dominance is behind that stubborn inner-tube of belly fat, fatigue, PMS issues, and more as you enter your late 30’s and 40’s. DIM targets and reduces the amount of 2-hydroxy-estrone and 2-hydroxy-estradiol; basically, it allows for more protective estrogens while reducing the destructive ones.
I recommend taking 200 mg each day for signs of estrogen dominance.
Hundreds of our cellular reactions require optimum levels of this neglected mineral. Deficiencies can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, fertility, high blood pressure, type-II diabetes, depression, and frequently are the root of migraine headaches. (3) The HPA axis requires balanced magnesium to help your body process cortisol spikes and to protect your body from environmental threats. (4) Magnesium is also a huge help if you have sleep struggles. Taking magnesium each night before bed has made all the difference in getting the rest my body needs. And in case things have been a bit slow in the bedroom, this supplement might give your sexy time a boost as well!
Many more systems rely on magnesium, so evaluating your energy, your digestion, and your reproductive health should always include a look at these levels. It is estimated that over 50% of women are deficient in magnesium. Since there’s no risk involved with magnesium supplements, you can always try it out and see how it makes your body feel!
There are many different types of magnesium, and not all of them are formulated for maximum bioavailability, and some can cause some significant digestive upset if you take too high of a dose. Essentially Whole® Magnesium Restore is my own custom formulation of magnesium glycinate with magnesium oxide to quickly correct deficiencies in your body and give it the extra boost of this vital mineral it needs to handle stress, get enough sleep, support reproductive health, and more! Click here to get Magnesium Restore now.
In addition to the supplemental form, you can also begin Epsom salt baths with essential oils as a part of your nighttime routine which contains healthy levels of magnesium. Just be sure to hydrate well with whatever form you choose!
Activated B-Complex Vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, B12)
Vital components to your overall bodily functions, B-complex vitamins are ones that many of us lack. Adrenal support requires these essential fighters to help manage stress levels and keep your libido high. Thiamin (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Pyridoxine (B6), Folate (B9), and Cobalamin (B12) each play an essential role in your overall health, but you especially need their support during perimenopause and menopause to support your energy, hormone levels, and mood.
Since there are so many sub-par supplements on the market, you want to be confident in your source. I would hate for you to spend money on a supplement that’s not even going to deliver the nutrients it advertises! That’s why Essentially Whole® has become so important to me. Each supplement is tested for efficacy and purity so you can be confident you’re getting only the best!
Essentially Whole® Activated B Complete is a pure, methylated B-complex vitamin that will give your cells what they need to thrive. Click here to get Activated B Complete now.
Many of us might not even realize we are low in Vitamin D, but those experiencing a dip in their mood during the winter or when stuck in an office all day know firsthand the value of a dose of sunshine! It keeps your brain supported by enabling the creation of neural pathways and also helps with the production of our happy hormones serotonin and dopamine. No one wants to be depressed or fatigued, so get yourself some sunlight today – 15 to 20 minutes’ worth will do you wonders.
But even that isn’t enough for most of us. Stress depletes your body’s stores of vitamin D even faster, so supplementing is an essential step to supporting your hormones, mood, metabolism, and so much more. I recommend my custom-formulated Essentially Whole® Vitamin D Complete because it is paired with vitamins K1 and K2 for easy absorption into your body! Click here to get Vitamin D Complete now.
Used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic practices, Bacopa monnieri supports cognitive function and decreases inflammation. If you are dealing with the effects of brain fog, you may see a real boost from this supplement. Be sure to take it for at least 4-6 weeks, though, before expecting any results.
Tulsi Tea for hormones may be on your radar already, which means you already know the benefit of Holy Basil as an adaptogenic herb used for anxiety, adrenal fatigue, and thyroid support. A natural source of vitamins K and A as well as manganese, it supports bone and heart health as well as brain function.
Holy Basil also offers the body the power of eugenol, which is also found in other powerful antimicrobial herbs. It helps to support blood sugar levels naturally as well as keeping your body detoxing threats from the body and supporting your respiratory system.
Its ability to increase your mood and cognition naturally have made it the subject of many research studies, which have shown promising results for Holy Basil in supporting the body’s systems from stress as well as other threats.
An amino acid important for brain health, Phosphatidylserine (or simply PS) plays an essential role in protecting your brain cells and supporting their communication pathways. Brain fog beware when this gem of a supplement is in your repertoire!
Though produced naturally within the body, most of what we need is supplied by what we eat. Our modern diet lacks a healthy dose of PS found in foods like chicken hearts and cow’s brains, so considering supplementation may be wise, especially if you’re worried about your memory or brain function.
In addition, PS also triggers a process known as apoptosis, part of our natural cell death and rejuvenation process needed for healthy growth and development. And it always comes back to cortisol…. PS can help keep cortisol levels in the healthy range that keeps stress — both physical and mental — from wreaking havoc in your body.
One more tip: PS also helps to enhance the bioavailability of other supplements, so your body can absorb them better!
Even with all of your best intentions, stress and anxiety can creep in at the worst moment. For those times where you need an INSTANT relief, Calm & Restore is an essential tool to help you get your stress under control. Purely formulated with bio-identical GABA (the main calming neurotransmitter in your brain), Calm & Restore delivers immediate calm to your mind and body to help you regain control. Click here to get Calm & Restore now!
It’s a vicious cycle…you’re too stressed to sleep, which means you’re tired the next day, which makes you more stressed…
It makes sense: when you don’t sleep, you’re not going to have a lot of energy. When you’re not rested, you’re naturally going to crave sugar and caffeine to give you the boost of energy you need to get through your day. Zen Sleep is a convenient way to get some familiar sleep-boosters like melatonin and chamomile along with powerful ingredients to restore your body’s natural ability to wind down and sleep soundly, without side effects. Click here to get Zen Sleep now!
Lavender Essential Oil
While it may seem like the simplest of solutions, Lavender essential oil has been heavily researched and proven time and time again to help your body lower cortisol levels naturally and increase your calm. Especially right before bedtime, it can help your body to naturally thwart anxious feelings and find the calm it so desperately needs to reset and balance.
I always carry some Lavender with me to inhale while deep breathing in moments of stress, and I love spritzing my bedclothes with it so that my body knows the scent of restful sleep.
Get Back to You
The reality is that we live in a stressed-out, non-stop world. Every day is filled with triggers, and if you’re not careful, stress can take control of your body and leave you exhausted, overweight, addicted to sugar, and in a state of chaos. These supplements are a simple way for you to regain control and have solutions at your fingertips!
Supplement quality is an issue that you just need to be mindful of. I was tired of finding sub-par supplements that were full of fillers and couldn’t even guarantee they contained what they advertised. That’s why I started my Essentially Whole® supplement line: to ensure purity, to get you solutions that work, to make sure you get what you pay for. Check out my whole line of Essentially Whole® supplements here to have the best tools to support your healing moving forward.
Grab Dr. Mariza’s Top 11 Self-Care Rituals!You are the CEO of your life, so every choice you make should support who you are. If you are ready to get started, I have created the perfect Self-Care Wellness Ritual Guide with my favorite recipes. Download it and get started on your journey to a more successful you with self-care routines!