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One on One with Caroline: Troubleshooting Adrenal Fatigue, Hormones and Skin Issues

Jun 17, 2019

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My inbox piles up with questions from you all daily, and I LOVE reading them! One of the most asked questions I receive is: “I’m so tired all the time and my passion for life and skin seem to be suffering the most. What can I do about it?”

Constanza originally reached out to me looking for some Beautycounter recommendations and as I always do first, I asked her to describe her current health situation! I like to start with what is going on INSIDE the body before we look at what products we are using ON the body!

I found myself drawn to her story and wanting to help her with her current struggles, so today we are bringing you a live coaching call! Constanza has the sweetest heart and I asked her if she would mind me sharing her story publicly and she said “If it can help others I am all for sharing my hard parts.”

Catch our live video call together >

Overview from Constanza

Tell us a bit about yourself?

Constanza: I consider myself an old soul, even though I’m still at my prime at 27—I prefer a rainy day to do some reading, crafting, and writing. The little details in life are what get me every time, so I’ve come to observe them with great pleasure!

Describe your current health situation:

Constanza: I’ve had Type 1 Diabetes since 2005 and thankfully haven’t had other complications. However, in the last year my body has gone through lots of changes due to a short-term pregnancy and abortion. After I experienced that, my skin flared up and has been very irritated and inflamed. I also have extreme fatigue (even when I sleep all night!) and have no emotional/physical motivation to do anything such as exercise or even practice healthy self-care. There was a period months ago, I simply COULD NOT sleep at all. I’d go to bed exhausted and wake up every night somewhere around midnight-3am and not be able to go back to sleep.

Describe your current skin situation and frustrations?

Constanza: I am one of the healthiest people you may meet, or at least that’s what my friends would tell you. 😉 Even before I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, I disliked sweets, pizza, heavy foods, etc. I don’t even own makeup! I have always been careful to use “sensitive skin” products to wash and moisturize my face, but honestly since 2013, it all changed and I still haven’t been able to figure out WHY! Every dermatologist has told me I have perioral dermatitis and I’ve taken antibiotics on and off for years, but the redness comes back months after I finish my round of antibiotics. In the long run, I feel like I’ve been stressing my internal organs and doing more harm than good, so I have stopped taking antibiotics this past year.

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Let’s talk about stress—can you detail what stressors (both big and small) are a part of your life today and possibly some in the past?

  • A HUGE stress was honestly not having adequate healthcare coverage to get my most basic necessity of insulin. That stress made me unable to ever focus on anything other than applying to any full time jobs with health care benefits.  That experience really scarred me.
  • I’m a social worker and I work in a non-profit that aids domestic violence and human trafficking survivors. A few months ago, I was a case manager in a pretty complicated and stressful case—it was HARD and I started experiencing vicarious trauma: unable to sleep, forgetting to eat, never feeling rested, irritable…!
  • A year ago I moved from a small town in North Carolina to Dallas, Texas. The traffic, the heat, overpopulation, the lack of trees, and to an extent, not having dear friends and my Mom around, I realize, has been a stressor as well. Luckily, I have an amazing and supportive partner who makes everything 100x better.
  • The more I think about it, I realize that it’s quite possible that a major stressor that could have been the beginning of my skin issues was my last relationship with my ex-partner. I was young (19 years old) and trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted to be; there was much emotional abuse and manipulation; I see now that I was always on edge without realizing it.
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What does a day in the life look like for you?

Constanza: The more I thought about this, I realize there are habits I really should change. I roll out of bed, splash water on my face, get dressed, get my iced latte with oat milk at my favorite coffee shop and head out to work without eating breakfast. I eat lunch around 12-1—my job is quite sedentary but I try to take small breaks and walk outside and get out of my cubicle. Whenever I get home, I’ll make dinner but if I’ve meal planned and already have something ready, I may go to a hot yoga class or take the afternoon to read a few pages from a new book. When I remember, I will meditate twice a day for 20 minutes, but I am still working on it! I am usually in bed by 9pm but cannot fall asleep until 10-10:30pm

Initial thoughts from Caroline

Positives: I am SO proud of you for asking for help and realizing right now you struggling a bit and want to live your full potential. Realizing you need help, does not make you weak, in fact it reveals your strength to admit you are struggling and ask for help.  You seem so self aware and that you truly want to change and feel your best, so keep that up! YOU are your biggest advocate!

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Overview: Clearly for you stress, both physical and emotional, is the root cause of your struggles! Nutritionally we want to focus on adrenal support and liver detox to help increase your energy, balance hormones and improve your skin. Skin health is simply a reflection of what is going on inside the body—so while it may seem like we are not tackling skin issues head-on, clear and glowing skin is going to be a result of the foundational healing.

Questions for Caroline:

Q: As a Type 1 Diabetic yourself, what have you come to learn or see as certain “triggers” towards adrenal fatigue? Are there proactive steps we can take as T1Ds to combat those symptoms before they start or get worse?

Caroline: Anyone with an auto-immune disease or blood sugar imbalances is going to be more prone towards adrenal fatigue. In fact it is something that an estimated 80% of women struggle with, most in silence because they don’t know the root cause. When you have an underlying condition like Type 1 diabetes or other auto-immune diseases, the body is constantly working overtime to keep you stable. Just knowing that your body is working harder than the “average person” is empowering because you know that you need to protect yourself more and rest more, and that doesn’t make you weak! It makes you strong for realising your limitations.

My best advice is to create consistent routines—sleep routines, eating at consistent times throughout the day, workout schedule, nightime routines, etc—that way the body has consistency and predictability. Lack of routines and a constantly changing environment is a huge stressor to the body.

Emotional conflict and stress is also HUGE and isn’t talked about much—responding to negativity takes more energy and can have a serious effect on the adrenal glands and blood sugar. In fact 1 minute of anger can suppress the immune system for 5 hours.

Everyone is different, so learn what “triggers” you! For me, yelling, bad words, rough tones and negative words is a huge trigger for me, so I stay away from people that are negative. This may mean that I avoid certain people, situations or even group events, but I personally know how much it affects me and my health so I have to avoid that at all costs.

Get my FREE Adrenal Fatigue Guide >

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Q: What are some words of advice you could pass down to any woman (who in my case, in 3-5 years time)  would like to try getting pregnant? Any tips or recommendations from your experience we could do to best prepare our bodies, specifically regarding adrenals and skin care?

Caroline: Start taking a good prenatal, even if you are 2-3 years out! You don’t need to take the full amount but preparing your body’s nutrient stores is so key.

From there I would focus on liver and adrenal support which are the top two foundations for hormone balance. Your skin health is directly tied to hormone balance too. You cannot detoxify when you are pregnant or breastfeeding and chances are most people need a bit of liver support. I am not talking about a juice detox, but true liver detox. One of my favorite detox methods is using castor oil packs—they may seem so weird, but truly are SO effective for many situations including adrenal fatigue and liver detox which both are foundations for hormone balance.

Taking supplements is also effective and needed to support th liver and adrenals! You can get my basic recommendations on my public Wellevate protocol!

If you haven’t already, do a clean sweep of your entire home—what makeup and skincare products do you use? What do you use to clean the house? These ingredients not only affect you, but also can affect your future baby in utero and beyond—toxins in common products are linked to developmental issues in the womb and early childhood, so detoxing your everyday items is a great step. If you have the basics like makeup and cleaning products down, think bigger picture like your towels, clothing and sheets!

Adrenal healing is KEY for preparing your body—consider ditching the caffeine and alcohol or only consuming it very occasionally! Pregnancy and postpartum are beautiful stages of life but also extremely stressful phases—supporting your adrenal glands now will really help support you in the future.

Get my FREE Adrenal Fatigue Guide >

Develop good, consistent routines now—this will pay off down the road! I always say start small to make a big impact. Form good eating, sleeping and self care habits. Learn to prioritize, say no and draw boundaries! These foundations are going to serve you well as you prepare for pregnancy and motherhood!

Q: Overall, I do my best to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but mostly focus on what I eat. What else (vitamins/supplements/routines) has made a positive impact on your skin, adrenal fatigue and Type 1 symptoms?

Caroline: Consistency and time—this has not been a quick fix for me, but once you get to the point of healing, it is incredible and so empowering! Food is a great starting point, but it is not the only piece of the puzzle. For me, the most important piece of the puzzle has been drawing boundaries and learning to navigate stress. I now say no far more often than I say yes, but I have learned to make my health and family my top priorities! That has translated into so  many other areas of my life and business, and its crazy because this past year business wise, I worked far less hours but made more impact and money than ever before.

As women we often think we have to “do it all” and say yes to everything, but that in reality is  just going to leave us exhausted, unproductive and depleted. We have to learn first to fill our cup so that we can serve and love others better. For me, learning to navigate stress has made the biggest impact on my health, hormones and skin!

I am also a BIG believer in supplements, in fact if you opened my kitchen pantry, you would be shocked by how many I take, especially right now as I am really focusing on healing my adrenals and thyroid postpartum. I believe supplements should be very high quality and used to support the body through a specific struggle or season—not a quick fix, cure all situation—but a very important puzzle piece.

Action Plan for Constanza:

I like to slowly add things in so we don’t overwhelm the body. The best thing you can do to promote healing is to stay consistent in the little steps! Don’t think you need to implement each of these steps all at once, focus on 2-3 each month!

  1. Implement Adrenal Healing Protocol detailed by Caroline
  2. Skincare items to start with: Deodorant, Cleansing Balm, Balancing Facial Oil, Overnight Resurfacing Peel, Everything Spray
  3. Create your Yes & No list: Journal your priorities, big picture dreams and how you envision your life, not just today but in the future. What things should you say yes to that are in line with your priorities? What do you need to say no to in order to make those true priorities a reality but also protect yourself against stress, both physical and emotional? What lights you up each day? What drains you?
  4. Add in bed time snack: This will help keep your blood sugar stable during the night and may eliminate that nighttime waking period. Ideally you want a snack rich in healthy fats and proteins, but you also may need a bit of nourishing carbohydrates. Ideas: handful of nuts, spoonful of coconut butter, whole milk yogurt with a bit of grain-free granola, raw cheese with handful of crackers. This is not a meal, just a few bites of nutrient dense foods.
  5. Journaling/meditation/therapy: Journaling or talking through past and present traumas may be super helpful for you!
  6. Castor Oil Packs: This will help with liver detox and adrenal healing all to balance hormones and improve skin!
  7. Focus on implementing good nighttime routine for healthy sleep habits: No screens past 9pm, chamomile tea, magnesium lotion, cool and peaceful environment, essential oils
  8. Eliminate caffeine: Take a few weeks or even an entire month to do this. Now that we have started to heal your adrenals, this is the next step to promote deep healing!

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