You may be aware that cortisol is the “stress hormone” but how exactly does it affect body fat levels? And what can you do to stress less for success?
Stress > Cortisol
No matter what the source of stress – emotional, physical, diet restriction or over-exercising – one physiological response is for certain. Levels of the hormone cortisol will increase. Cortisol is designed to help release energy from body stores when stressed. Cortisol sounds good for fat burning, but it often backfires due to some negative effects.
Cortisol > Cravings
When circulating cortisol reaches your brain, it stimulates another chemical neuropeptide-Y, which can trigger your appetite and cravings. If you are stressed and experience persistent food cravings, cortisol could be the culprit.
Cortisol > Abdominal fat
Research has also found a link between cortisol and greater amounts of abdominal body fat. So, being stressed could be contributing to a plateau or the inability to budge that last few centimetres.
Stress less for success
There is now a clear case for managing stress and therefore your body’s cortisol production to maximise your results.
Being more patient about your progress, allowing yourself the occasional slip-up and becoming comfortable being a healthy weight, rather than the lowest weight may be an approach that gets breakthrough results. What steps will you take to manage stress?
3 Ways to reduce stress
1. Change the stressor (the situation or person who is stressing you)
- Talk about your needs with your family
- Discuss your workload with your boss
- Work on improving relationships
2. Change the stressee (you and your reaction to the stressor)
- Exercise regularly and eat well
- Prioritise commitments & responsibilities
- Develop relaxation skills
- Dispute your negative thoughts or beliefs
- Listen to others and look for common ground or compromise
3. Take time to escape (positive ways to relax and recharge)
- Get instant relief! Do some deep breathing
- Take a break from what’s stressing you
- Try progressive muscle relaxation
- Attend an exercise class
- Go for a walk
- Have a therapeutic massage
- Learn to meditate
- Take a warm bath or shower
- Play with the kids
- Call a friend
- Go see a movie
- Listen to your favourite chill-out music
Make it happen team!