Adrenal Fatigue Weight Loss

How adrenal fatigue causes weight gain-Cindy’s happy ending story

By Kim Crawford, M.D. Last updated: May 8, 2019
adrenal fatigue causes weight gain

Case Study: Cindy

Real Results, real effort. But first, real discouragement. Adrenal fatigue causes weight gain for many people just like Cindy. See how she and you can beat all the gremlins and come out dancing.  adrenal fatigue causes weight gain

A true story of an Annual AWS Consult services member:

This is a “Case study” on a Member named “Cindy” who needed to lose weight to the tune of 100 lbs. Success story! Spoiler alert! Cindy was desperate. She had tried countless “worthless” commercial weight loss programs. She also tried fasting with nothing but water for a week once and gained weight in the process. If you’re thinking of fasting, which we didn’t have Cindy do, read how intermittent fasting is done the right way. She was desperate because she had such severe arthritis the weight was making her have all sorts of pain. Note pain can and does interfere with energy and sleep. So, in Cindy’s case, she had it all; too much weight, loss of energy, and poor sleep.

Cindy entered the program after a consult with me:

Cindy had energy and sleep issues as her primary physical complaints other than the inability to lose weight. She clearly needed foods, supplements, and vitamins for energy and a change in her sleep environment. That was totally obvious in the first 5 minutes of conversation. She then mentioned she had severe rheumatoid arthritis and thought the medications were making her look old and her skin look dull too. Not a fun way to feel for anyone, especially us women, right?

I assured her that I would guide her to take the right steps in how she could look younger within one month of working with me. I pointed out it is always a matter of inside care plus great skin care. One thing that was obvious to me was she FIRST needed help with adrenal fatigue. She was definitely in adrenal fatigue. Evaluate YOUR energy on a scale of 1-10 to see if YOU need help with energy or sleep. Do you want a better night sleep for yourself? That is often the first question. Then, the second question is do you want more energy? There is an unbelievable amount of undiagnosed adrenal fatigue “out there.” It depletes energy, interferes with sleep and definitely nukes any weight loss efforts. In fact, adrenal fatigue causes weight gain in the vast majority of cases.

Adrenal stress or full adrenal fatigue

These are the two main reasons why patients or AWS clients say I have no energy! This condition is very commonly missed by non-Anti-Aging doctors because, quite frankly, they are not educated about the phenomenon. They commonly refer to the symptoms as a “burn-out,” but the problem is they don’t know how to effectively treat it.
Symptoms include the feeling of not having had deep and restful sleep. (Energy is 4-7 when you awake, and levels of fatigue vary during the day, less than 8 at all times, sometimes re-bounding late in the day and sometimes just going down, down, down!)

People who have this suffer from poor sleep quality commonly including several wake-ups during the night. It is usually brought on by preceding or currently occurring physical or emotional stress. Cindy’s energy level was a 3-4 all day long pretty much! UGH! Imagine that? MAYBE you can?

She was convinced and rightly so that the weight she had put on (quite a few pounds from “eating for energy”)  was causing her arthritis to flare, causing pain day and night. Cindy had pretty classic adrenal fatigue symptoms causing lots of problems. This included her inability for success on any of the weight loss diets she had tried. However, upon review, she had tried some “lousy ones,” and the video below explains just what I mean by that. Permanent weight loss is NOT the goal of commercial, large weight loss companies because they want to hook you into coming back-forever. Sad but true.

The Skinny on Weight Loss Programs:

Here are some sneaky ways some commercial weight loss plans snag you and keep you from lasting weight loss outlined in my why diet plans fail article. If you don’t read it now, bookmark and come back to it! You’ll be shocked. Here is a quick but rather startling video.

Now back to discussing Cindy’s problem all stemming from her adrenal fatigue. Sometimes people self-medicate with extra caffeine and/or energy drinks which will just worsen this condition. Remember, if you need energy, stimulants make things worse! Of course, Cindy was sitting all day with a cup of coffee on a hot pad and kept refilling her cup.
AF often causes mild depression due to the lack of quality sleep, and as a result, many doctors erroneously treat this condition with anti-depressants. It is treated effectively with what is called adrenal support which includes behavioral and supplemental therapies. It’s 100% curable. 100%!

Since stress is often a component, we always discuss “stress” and indeed Cindy’s stress levels were up. Her boss was a “mess.” He was a nice guy. A doctor too. However, he was always in a financial mess she had to then straighten out. In addition, she was care-taking her elderly parents.

First Steps to Improvement:

To begin, I encouraged Cindy to check out all of the stress management techniques on the website. In addition,it was obvious that an increase in GABA was in order. To explain, this is the brain chemical that is raised by drugs like valium, but I give it naturally of course.

PharmaGABA is great. The dose is two chewables placed under the tongue, and if more is needed, that’s fine. (Don’t overdo-the sorbitol can cause loose stools). Cindy loved hers not just as a stress reliever but as a “suckable” tasty lozenge! As her stress abated so did her pain and she became less “desperate” about her situation even before the pounds started coming off!
Now let’s get to the topic of sleep. It makes sense that if you don’t sleep well, you won’t have adequate energy, right? Cindy’s regular doctor actually wanted to put her on anti-depressants and sleeping pills. However, something inside of her told her to listen to her social media friends who achieved better health and successful weight loss with me. So, she said NO. She purchased a consult and then joined AgeWellSolutions as an annual consultation member instead.

Even on our first phone call together I could hear the fatigue in her voice. I assured her that I had helped MANY others achieve their health goals and would “hold her hand” to do the same for her. (Not to mention the arthritis, sleep and energy issues!)

And of course, I assured her that I had a plethora of successful weight loss solutions and would tailor one to fit her needs.

Improving Cindy’s Sleep:

This is a whole other topic in and of itself. Here is where we had Cindy start. She began by reading my sleep articles which include topics such as sleep environment and effective natural sleep aids. She enjoyed her free ebook “Sleep like a baby at any age” found in the footer.

Now let’s talk about WHY Cindy kept gaining weight, especially peri menopause belly fat:

Cindy filled out her food-mood diary, and it was evident she was eating when she was low energy which was all the time! She also had lots of belly fat due to high cortisol levels which we see all the time when someone has adrenal fatigue. Low progesterone- something common in all women over 35, was also contributing. For this, I added pregnenolone, while she was waiting to see an M.D. who could prescribe bio-identical progesterone.

When I balanced her energy and got her sleeping she didn’t have the need to eat “out of the need for more energy.”  In addition, I placed her on supplements to amp up her dopamine which is a brain chemical associated with “fatigue eating” when it’s low. I first want to share what was useful for Cindy in case you need this: SAMe– 800 mg 2x per day and L-tyrosine-2 caps 2x per day.

It turned out, like many people with adrenal fatigue, she had mild depression (who wouldn’t). So, I used some “happy brain chemicals” so she wouldn’t eat when she was a bit depressed, either. Here’s the rationale behind all of that: Brain chemistry, why you eat and how we fix it.

Diet and Dietary Supplements:

Of course, I made sure I fixed all metabolic issues hindering Cindy’s weight loss which included getting her on an anti-inflammatory diet plan which alternated with my healthy version of the Atkin’s diet. And I included the important elements of an adrenal fatigue diet of course. Regarding the basic make-up of her diet; you need to eat real food, not fast foods, processed foods, and sugary foods. It’s back to basics with foods and you start losing weight without cutting one single calorie, too.

Cindy needed to become more aware of all the healthy foods for weight loss that existed. I also added metabolism boosting supplements to Cindy’s regimen. It’s a no-brainer that loss of lots of muscle leads to a slower metabolism. I also felt that her SIRT1 pathway might need some boosting so I added some supplements from the sirtfood diet plan. Cindy didn’t really need a natural appetite suppressant but many others do. For her- the ketosis from the eating plan did the trick just fine.

The GI Tract

The next step was to fix Cindy’s GI tract. Did you know that if you have not had a good detox, prebiotics, then a proper probiotics regimen you will hinder weight loss? Yep and this is a surprise to a lot of people, but even Dr.Oz talked about it!

Here is how we fix the GI tract to optimize weight loss:

FIRST, clear toxic bacteria and yeast (candida) with the detox system we offer or a similar one you like-but no “phony” detox-real nano-silver and zeolite.

SECOND, set up an environment in your colon where good bacteria can take over the bad bacteria. Often, people take probiotics which can never “set up shop” without the prebiotics given FIRST.  By the way, there is no amount of yogurt or kefir which will replace good probiotics.

This “GI- tract mess” is usually caused by antibiotics and/or anti-inflammatory medications which don’t differentiate between “good” and “bad” bacteria. If you have been on antibiotics ever, you need this. Obviously, Cindy had been on a lot of anti-inflammatory drugs for arthritis. She needed a GOOD detox.

Our favorite Prebiotic is one that tastes so YUMMY and doesn’t cause a bit of tummy upset like other prebiotics. Also, here is one more super FUN thing! It is a tasty daily treat you can eat, AND you’re not “cheating”! It is 140 calories, stevia sweetened, “‘non-processed” (low heat) and tastes like a MOUNDS bar! But, if you prefer, you can just take a capsule. Or you can eat fermented foods, instead.

THIRD: We added great probiotics. Also note, in case you have R.A., and your doctor is not up to date, you need to know that prebiotics and then probiotics help RA (and all auto-immune diseases) big time.

Then, we started Cindy on an exercise program that was quick, easy and included a gym-in-a-bag. This is great if you are always on a time-clock or if you have joint issues- two for two with Cindy on that one!

And – just because adrenal fatigue causes weight gain :

I also added a couple of extra things to Cindy’s regimen since she had lost so much metabolically active muscle mass due to her arthritis pain and inactivity. For instance, I had her use branched chain amino acid foods like eggs, chicken, and salmon as primary proteins for her eating plan as these proteins spur weight loss a bit better than others. I also had her take some bodybuilding supplements because of her loss of muscle mass.

Specifically, the supplement that amps energy and adds muscle called acetyl-l-carnitine was a must. Note that she had been given many “bursts” of prednisione for her arthritis, which accelerated her loss of muscle mass.  In addition, I made sure to fix her sluggish metabolism and her leptin-ghrelin issues which everyone who is overweight has.

To Sum It Up:

It’s now 6 months later and she’s down about 57 lbs. (She has added a good 10 pounds of shapely, lean muscle). She looks amazing. I always am cautious about rapid weight loss in someone over 40 because we want to minimize “hanging skin” and the older you are the less the skin will snap back. Now Cindy has normal energy levels, is sleeping great, looks fabulous and has met someone “really nice.” Cindy has taken up dancing as a hobby and so has her “sweetie.” I hope they both live happily ever after!



  1. Nice discount on the adrenal fatigue kit-hope I’ll have results like cindy.

  2. Niklas-
    I was just coming back to thank Dr.Kim for her advice here-I did the free 15 minute phone call and got the answers I needed. So LOL I’ll answer YOU. According to Dr.Kim, most ppl with AF get sleep interruption as symptom 1. Then energy falls as symptoms two. Then there is other stuff but that is the two main things that make us feel tired all day and MOST of us (ME!!) eat to get energy back and then we gain weight, then we are also too tired to work out. Then it all becomes a vicious cycle. So I did get the AF kit and it sure did help me. I learned that my SIRT1 pathway was too low and added some supplements for that too. So now I’m finally at goal weight. If your symptoms are like mine, you should get the kit. If not, you should get a free consult from this great doctor! From Jack.

    • LOL – so Jack, you want a job or something? Glad you are feeling better! Best, Dr.Kim

  3. SO if I am reading right, if I have adrenal fatigue I am more likely to gain weight and should get an adrenal fatigue kit?

  4. Bookmarked!!, I love your blog!

FREE email consultation with Dr. Kim included with every purchase & FREE shipping on all orders over $150