Hello, I’m Doctor Jannine Krause and today I’m going to talk about Cortisol and how it’s important to get your cortisol in check as part of your owners manual creation. What’s the big deal with cortisol? Well, cortisol is a natural hormone in the body. It’s not the devil until of course we provoke it a little bit by having these responses to stress. Cortisol naturally is there to help wake us up and to put us to sleep. It gently rises overnight and peaks at 8 am, and then ski slopes down and about that 3 to 4 O’Clock time frame it starts to really drop and then it levels off and then comes back up and wakes us up again. And so I like to think of cortisol in its normal state it just puts us to bed and wakes us back up, however, in someone who is stressed it can reek havoc. It can wake us up in the middle of the night. It can wake us up at 3 am and not allow us to go back to sleep. It can also cause issues in the middle of the day. And so it might be the cause for anyone that has that between 2, 3, 4 O’Clock slump during their day. That can often be a really steep drop in cortisol levels, and that can cause alot of issues with mood, hunger and can even cause you to overeat when you get home or hit up that snack bar at work or go by the candy jar up at the front desk at work. It’s amazing what cortisol can do to us for lack of a better term it sometimes for me is known as the crazy hormone. Cortisol is also connected to increasing in belly fat with stress, and so another big issue in terms of getting your cortisol in check. Now what do I mean when I say get your cortisol in check? Well it means making sure that we can create patterns for our body to be able to keep that good slope up to that 8 am and then the nice gentle slope down. So basically, getting cortisol back in its normal rhythm, being released in its normal rhythm. One of the big things you can do to help with cortisol release is making sure that your keeping yourself hydrated. Why? Because if your not well hydrated, your body sees that as a stressor, and so what it does is it releases more cortisol. We create more body fat the more cortisol we have and the more dehydrated we are. And so one big thing to think of when your thinking about trying to get in that little extra amount of water during the day. Now another big thing to think about with cortisol is that it is directly connected to what we eat. A lot of people will wake up in the morning and have a sweet breakfast, and I don’t mean sweet like awesome, I mean sweet like a bar or a scone or a doughnut. Lots of sugar, lots of carbs. Any sugar, any carbs its going to rise cortisol a little bit. Your almost better off skipping breakfast. I know, I know I said it. You might be better off if you’re going to just grab for something just super sweet like those Cocoa Puffs for breakfast because anything that is super sweet spikes your blood sugar and cortisol follows along with it and then after that you get a big drop in energy and a big drop in cortisol afterwards. And so a lot of people who are grabbing the sugary snacks or they’re going by Starbucks and grabbing the venti blah blah blah Frappuccino something or other with all kinds of fancy stuff in it. Carmel, latte you name it, lots of calories, lots of sugar. That’s putting your cortisol way up here. Then you spend all day forgetting about drinking water, oh my gosh! Lots of belly fat storage, but also you set yourself up for this roller coaster all day long of ups and downs of your blood sugar. Another big thing that I’ve found causing issues for folks is that we’ve been told diet wise to balance our blood sugar we need to eat every two to three hours or every three to four hours. And I’m guilty of even telling folks that for a very long time because it seemed like it worked, However, the caveat is that it depends on what someones eating. You can’t just eat every two to three hours a little bit of sugar item. That makes cortisol do this. You’ve got to balance it. And so for breakfast theres got to be a good amount of protein with some good fat and I will have resources on my website showing you how to balance these foods out. Now that protein plus the carbohydrate that balances but just a little good fat balances it even better. Carbohydrate on its own, cortisol goes way the heck up here. You don’t want to do that. So first thing in the morning I actually recommend making sure you have a very good amount of protein with a good amount of carb and a good amount of the good fat and you’ll see some resources on the website. Then lunchtime same thing. Dinner time making sure you have some good carbohydrates at dinner. Don’t do the trick where it says 2pm, 3pm, no more carbs. I’m even guilty of telling people that and guess what? For years I was waking up at 4, 5 in the morning and I couldn’t figure out what the heck was going on. As soon as I started to add in a little bit of carbohydrate and I’m not talking about copious amounts of ice cream or you know a whole bunch of like 3 cups of rice, I’m talking about a half a cup, quarter to a half a cup of something at night just to help to keep those cortisol levels in check overnight so they don’t rise to fast. I’ve seen it with a lot of patients what we do is we check their blood sugars first thing in the morning. Blood sugars will drop if we have a little bit of carbohydrate in the evening. It even works for diabetics it even works for my folks who are pre diabetic. The big thing is just looking at what type of carbohydrate. I’m not talking about eating something that is like Laffy Taffy. That goes in that’s like mainlining sugar. I’m talking about something that is whole grain, something that digests a little bit slower. And so, nevertheless, looking at cortisol and how it affects your body is a huge thing. The other side of this is how you react to stress. Are your stress levels causing your cortisol to do the roller coaster throughout the day. Are you getting spikes in your blood sugar. Maybe you get stressed and you go and run out to the vending machine at work to go get some chips. Or go get a candy bar. Your stressed, cortisol goes up here. Let’s face it. I’m raising my hand right now. I totally have stress ate and that is also a negative factor for creating the roller coaster with cortisol. So, some of the big things to do here to get your stress under control. how do you do that? breathing. It’s free and it’s great to just take a moment and relax. You can take a big breath in, 5 count in, 5 count out. Do that 5 times and that will help you to reset your nervous system. And so literally an inhale counting in to 5 and exhale counting out. Feels kind of weird to do that but I’m telling you do that 5 times, do it 10 times. See how you feel afterwards. It’s literally telling your brain up here, bears not chasing me it’s all good. That bear is far far away. That will help to balance your cortisol levels. It’ll help to put you in check. It’s a great trick to do to if you are a stress eater and get nervous and the food starts to go in. Do that breathing. It’ll help you out to get that cortisol under wraps. The other thing that I recommend. Is taking breaks and doing absolutely nothing. For folks who are multi taskers, that might be a little odd, but really taking the time to relax, take walks. Smell the roses. That will help to get your cortisol under wraps as well. And so one of the big things to keep in mind here just to kind of wrap things back in is that protein for breakfast. No carbs by themselves. Little bit of carbs in the evening for dinner so that you can sleep through the night. Work on breathing and take time to smell the roses. That will help you to balance your cortisol and that’s a key component to check in on creating your owners manual. I’m Doctor Jannine Krause. Stay tuned for my next episode. Thanks for watching.