Weight Loss: Chronic Stress
Coach Calls with Jon Gabriel

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Listen to Jon Gabriel Chat to Debbie About:

  • How shift work can up your stress levels
  • The effect of chronic stress on your body
  • How to regulate your stress levels

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Read The Lecture Transcripts Here

Kelly:  

Hi Debbie.

Debbie:  

Hi Kelly, hi Jon.

Jon:  

Hi Debbie. How are you?

Debbie:  

Good, thanks. How are you?

Jon:  

Good. How can I help you?

Debbie:  

I just had a question because I’m a shift worker and it’s regarding cortisol or cortisone levels which, if I understand it correctly, is released when you’re under stress; is that right?

Jon:  

Yes.

Debbie:  

So what’s happening is, I work at nighttime and then I sleep during the day. And I think, during the day cortisone is released and at night you release melatonin, so I’m forcing my body to do the opposite of the natural thing, and I was just wondering if I’m stressing out my body every week?

Jon:  

Do you have a sleep problem? Like are you getting enough sleep, is the first question I have.

Debbie:  

I would say not during — not when I have to sleep during the day, I’m not, no, because there’s a lot of noise and the phone rings and -

Jon:  

I’m not sure it matters. I mean, to a certain degree it’s going to matter whether you actually sleep during the day or night, but more importantly it matters how much actual sleep you’re getting. And if you’re not getting enough sleep, that will elevate your cortisone levels.

Debbie:  

Right.

Jon:  

When you say stress elevates your cortisone levels, I want to be clear about this, there’s different types of stress. Some types of stress like what they acute stress, like a flight or fight response, that elevates your cortisone levels for a short period of time but then your cortisone levels go down over time. That stress actually can help you get thinner. It’s a common misconception that it’s the fight or flight stress that causes your body to gain — to elevate its cortisone levels and gain weight. That’s a common misconception. Fight or flight acute stress actually makes your body more sensitive to leptin and, over time, causes you to lose weight.

But there’s a different type of stress called the chronic stress response that goes through a different pathway. That does elevate your cortisone levels. Now the type of stress that you have in your life being a shift worker, is probably the stress that’s more akin to the chronic stress response network which is the same type of stress as a famine. That’s going to elevate your cortisol levels, that’s going to cause you to gain weight. It does sound to me like it’s a problem for you more so, not so much that you’re not sleeping at night, but more so that you’re not sleeping enough. So what I would recommend — when you go to sleep do you listen to the evening visualization CD before you go to sleep?

Debbie:  

Yes, I do. Yes, every time.

Jon:  

Okay, okay. So how much sleep do you end up getting when you -

Debbie:  

If it’s during the day, I’ll probably sleep for an hour and-a-half and then I’ll wake up and then another hour and then wake up. It’s very interrupted sleep and probably around six hours.

Jon:  

Okay. Now let me ask you this. How much weight are you looking to lose?

Debbie:  

About 20 kilos.

Jon:  

Okay. You don’t know if you have sleep apnea? Doesn’t sound to me like you do.

Kelly:  

How much is that in pounds, Jon?

Jon:  

Twenty kilos is about 50 pounds, yeah, 48 pounds.

Debbie:  

I don’t know. I don’t snore, I know that.

Jon:  

I don’t think you have sleep apnea. I can tell usually from people who start breathing if you have sleep apnea. But the interrupted sleep is a problem. You might want to also listen to the CD sometime in your afternoon, I mean whenever it is that it’s — like if you’re doing a shift, for example, and you’ve been working for about eight, seven hours or something, can you take a break and just listen to the CD and possibly do some type of meditation, because that meditation will — actually they’ve found that meditation does lower your cortisone levels, does lower your stress levels. And one — they say one minute of meditation is equivalent to two minutes of sleep. So if you can meditate for a half hour it’s like getting an hour of sleep.

Kelly:  

Jon, what about melatonin levels, because you know as a singer I’ve traveled all over the world and jet lagged and all that, and it wasn’t until two years ago that I started taking melatonin, the one with vitamin D I might add, which tells your brain it’s dark out and -

Jon:  

I think it’s a mistake to take melatonin.

Kelly:  

Do you?

Jon:  

I’ll tell you why. Because there’s a precursor to melatonin, the production of melatonin, that actually makes your brain more sensitive to leptin which causes you to lose weight. But if you take melatonin, your body is going to become less sensitive to the precursor. It’s going to stop producing that precursor, and that means that your body is going to become less sensitive to leptin.

Kelly:  

I see.

Jon:  

So I do think it’s a mistake to take melatonin. If you want to keep your melatonin levels high, the best thing to do is not watch TV at night, because what they’ve found is watching TV, and Sherry I don’t know if this applies to you also, but watching TV at night lowers your melatonin levels and affects your sleeping patterns.

Kelly:  

That’s very true. It is.

Jon:  

So it’s probably a good idea, like two hours before sleep, I would say stop watching TV and if you could maybe do some sort of visualization a half hour before sleep…

Kelly:  

Would it help to make her room dark? As dark as possible?

Jon:  

Well, of course, of course it would. It’s best to make it as dark as possible. Well, again, I would recommend if you could do some sort of meditation in the afternoons that that’s going to help. That’s going to be a good substitute for sleep, also, and maybe even listening to my CDs, even the visualization CD in the afternoon, also.

Kelly:  

I will say I’ve gotten off the melatonin since the CD. I had never listened to your whole CD.

Jon:  

In general, any time you’re taking any type of hormone, it’s always going to make the cells of your body less sensitive to that hormone, and that is always going to cause a problem, because there’s two components to the communication. One is the hormone is like a messenger. It goes through your bloodstream that communicates from one part of your body to another, because how does your liver communicate with your brain? How does your brain communicate with your stomach? How does your stomach tell you that you’re full? How does your heart communicate with your kidneys? All these different things is done through hormones. Hormones are chemical messengers that travel through your body that enable different organs to communicate with each other.

But there’s two components to the communication, and it also enables your organs to communicate with all the other cells in your body. But there’s two components to communication. One is how much of the hormone is in your body and the other is how much the cells of your body are going to listen to the hormone. And it’s really interesting — it really shows how conscious your body is that there’s a higher level of organization that we’re not looking at, that when you raise the level of a hormone, the cells stop listening to it.

And it’s a little bit like, you know how when you go to a concert and the music’s real loud you become deaf, and that is the exact same thing. Your ears — the cells in your ears stop, become less sensitive to the music. Just know that any time you’re interfering, artificially, with the levels of your hormones either by suppressing them or increasing them, you’re changing how sensitive the cells are to it and maybe next week we’ll talk about leptin and how when they first discovered leptin they thought that by giving people leptin it would cause them to lose weight, and what they found was that was not the case. And the reason is because our bodies were not — people that are overweight, their body’s not sensitive.

Kelly:  

Yeah, I know that’s something that Sherry is hip on so –

Jon:  

After Sherry, maybe, what we’re going to talk about is leptin and how that controls obesity -

Kelly:  

Perfect.

Jon:  

- and how sensitive your body is to it and how to lose weight by getting your body more sensitive to leptin.

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