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How Stress Can Derail Your Weight Loss Efforts And What To Do About It

Everyone has a sad story, so I'm going to tell you about mine.  

It was November, 1994. I had been on the Meltdown weight loss program for two years and had miraculously lost four inches off each thigh, my natural fat storage deposit area. For the first time in my life, I looked terrific in a bathing suit. Watch out, Shalom and Kate! 

And then the #$@%Y& hit the fan. 

Do you remember when Houston was flooded by torrential rains? That day in November, when Houston got deluged, Dallas got nine inches of rain in five minutes. I own a 1933 gingerbread house that I rent. The house had flooded before, so I had already installed a costly drainage system. 

However, no drainage system could handle that volume of water. So, the house flooded again. But this time, water was ankle deep. The tenants called me immediately. I called the insurance company only to learn floods are not included in a Texas homeowner's policy. So the $13,000 worth of repairs were going to have to come out of my own pocket. Trust me, this was not a good day. 

I proudly fix things instantaneously, but this time, I had a harder time rounding up $13K. The two tenants were unhappy with my progress. They made unreasonable demands. Then, one threatened to burn down the house if I didn't do what she asked. I called the Fire Marshall, who promptly paid her a visit, since that kind of threat turns out to be a third degree felony. During my next visit, the woman smacked me in the mouth to punish me for calling the Fire Marshall. The impact loosened two teeth and sent some others through the inside of my cheek. I needed emergency dental surgery. 

And then the IRS called. Time for an audit, they said. Ninety days later they said we'll take 10% of your net worth or one of your rent houses. You get to pick! 

Oh, did I mention the boy toy dumped me right before Christmas? 

Needless to say, I was under a great deal of stress during those 90 days. I worked out. I followed my Tissue Mineral Analysis eating plan religiously. I thought I was doing OK. Yet I gained seven pounds! 

Can stress affect your weight loss efforts? 

You bet. Stress is the body's physical, mental and chemical reaction to circumstances that frighten, confuse, irritate or endanger us. Supreme stress makes biochemical changes that demand a response if we are going to return to the health. It can permanently alter our bodies -- and our brains. 

Unfortunately for us weight conscious folk, stress activates a primitive area of the brain that also controls eating and metabolic rates. This sector of the brain is called the hypothalamus, a grape-sized area located in the spot where the spine enters the skull. The hypothalamus releases hormones that trigger the pituitary gland into action. The pituitary gland, in turn, tells the adrenal glands, sitting atop your kidneys, to get going. 

It is the adrenal glands that cause all the trouble in the weight loss department. Stress can cause the adrenal glands to produce too little of a hormone called cortisol. The result: obesity and osteoporosis. And those glands can also put out too much of two other chemicals: adrenaline and noradrenaline. These can cause the body to develop a calcium utilization problem: the bloodstream takes calcium out of the bones, where it is needed, and mistakenly deposits it in the soft tissues. This improper use of calcium slows the metabolism, making it impossible to lose weight no matter how much you work out or cut calories.  

In my case, my calcium reading went through the roof. When I started the program, my calcium reading was 148. (Normal is 32 to 56.) My calcium was in the mid-40's when disaster struck and I considered changing my name to Job. My Tissue Mineral Analysis in January, 1995 (a lab test which charts 37 different heavy metals and trace elements) showed a calcium reading of 248, 100 points more than I'd ever been. Thanks, adrenal glands. 

For the record, the report showed a biochemical profile completely different from any of my previous reports. This supreme stress had significantly altered my biochemical make up. 

Since I had followed my customized eating plan (also a part of the TMA) exactly during my trials, my metabolic type didn't change. But many of my customers actually switch from a slow to a fast metabolizer. The hallmark of a fast metabolizer is overactive adrenal glands. Slow metabolizers, of course, have poky adrenal glands. When the adrenal glands go haywire in a slow metabolizer, it's common for them to go AC/DC in the metabolism department. 

For example, one client became a fast metabolizer when her mother was diagnosed with inoperable cancer the week after her husband lost his job. In another case, the client's adrenal glands went wild when his wife left him for another....woman. (That would certainly do it!) 

Slow metabolizers eat one way; fast metabolizers eat another way. There's no way to look in the mirror and know what metabolic type you are today. Your current eating habits may be hurting your ability to deal with that stress. 

So what should you do when this kind of extreme stress occurs? First, have a Tissue Mineral Analysis at your earliest opportunity. The report will tell you exactly what to eat and what foods to avoid as well as what vitamins to take and when. There is no time more critical (except pregnancy) than now to optimize your nutritional needs. Putting the best fuel into your body during times of alarm stress is one of the kindest things you can do to your physical plant. 

This is true even if you've already had a TMA. Because everything changes in the aftermath of the attack. What you did yesterday can be harmful based on what happened today. In my case, two years of hard work was washed away in the flood. But you pick up and start again. 

Once you're eating optimally, you will have the physical strength to gain control over the situation. I evicted the assaulting tenants, rebuilt the house, had oral surgery (which helped my periodontist buy a new Mercedes), and paid off the IRS. (Didn't replace the boy toy, though. Any volunteers?) Then things became deliciously boring. 

However, it took six months for the adrenaline coursing through my veins to dissipate. One morning in June, 1995, those seven pounds just vanished. Now, both me and my gingerbread house look better than ever! 

P.S. I hope nothing horrible ever happens to you. But if it does, I'm here to help.

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