So you’re training really hard, eating well and you’re always on the go. But you’re wondering why the weight isn’t shifting? That never-ending stress might just be what is responsible for that stubborn fat!
What is stress?
Stress is a natural response in our body designed to aid survival. Basically if a Robber walked into the room right now your heart would start pumping blood more efficiently to your arms and legs. Your brain would tell your lungs to start breathing more quickly to increase your Oxygen intake. Your Adrenaline and Cortisol would be circulating your body to give you the energy to survive.
This is called your Fight or Flight Response and it is a mechanism of survival. During Fight or Flight your digestive system and your immune system are shut down because your body temporarily shuts down what it doesn’t need to survive.
This response is normal and is designed to be a short term response. However issues start to arise when this Fight or Flight response occurs regularly on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis. Especially if left untreated!
Like Adrenalin, Cortisol is hormone that is secreted from the adrenal glands, which are two little glands that live above your kidneys. Naturally, Cortisol levels should fluctuate through the day. Cortisol levels should be at their highest level first thing in the morning and at their lowest late in the evening around midnight. When put under stress your Cortisol levels can be disrupted. It is when this disruption occurs that encourages weight gain but also influencing where the fat is deposited in your body. Studies have shown that elevated Cortisol linked with stress encourages fat to be deposited around the abdominal area. This is known as “unhealthy” fat as a higher percentage of fat in this area is linked with a higher incidence of cardio vascular disease.
How to reduce stress and Cortisol levels?
Unfortunately external stressors are not always able to be avoided, but what we can do is support your body so that you can handle stress better and prevent the negative effects of increased adrenaline and cortisol from overwhelming your body.
- Eat every 2-3 hours.
- Sleep 7-8 hours a night (solidly).
- Limit coffee to 1-2 cups daily and the last cup before 2pm.
- Limit alcohol consumption.
- Avoid processed sugars and packet food.
- Make time to un-busy your mind. Schedule a time at least once a week to have time to relax, read a book, take a bubble bath, enjoy a massage. Pick an activity that you do without your phone or email and you cannot do 2 things at once.
I specialise in Stress Sleep and Fatigue so if you would like to take action and stop stress sabotaging your fat loss book an initial consult with Kat today!