Do you feel like you are doing all of the right things yet despite that you are still struggling to lose weight? Eating nutrient dense, whole foods? Working-out? Staying Active?
Stress may be to blame!
Work deadlines. Morning Rush. Rush Hour Traffic. Meetings. Toddler Tantrums. Doctors Appointments. Grocery Shopping. Cooking. Working Out. It can often seem as if the stress of the day is never ending.
Everytime you feel physical, mental or emotional stress, your body releases a bit of cortisol. What is Cortisol? It is a hormone released by your body to give you alertness and energy. This important to us! This splash of Cortisol can be lifesaving in the event you were suddenly confronted by a bear.
The problem is that your body thinks that rush hour traffic or toddler tantrum is just a life threatening as the bear.
Everytime we feel stress with get a “hit” of Cortisol. Some of us are so stressed out that we are basically living on a Cortisol IV drip.
Cortisol is supposed to be high in the morning and low at night so you wake up with lots of energy and know when to fall asleep. Unfortunately, since we are getting little “hits” of Cortisol at all times of the day our body gets confused and we are often wide awake at night and exhausted in the morning. HELLO YOU BIG BEAUTIFUL CUP OF COFFEE. This unfortunately just exacerbates the problem.
When your body thinks it is just trying to survive the day, fat-loss is at the bottom of its priority list.
So how does Cortisol sabotage your beach goals? Well, it does this by affecting other hormones in your body.
Cortisol makes your cells less responsive to insulin. Insulin is the hormone that helps your body make use of glucose (aka carbs which become glucose).
Since Cortisol makes your body less responsive to Insulin your body tries to overcome this by producing more Insulin to try to get your body the message….eeek. This not only causes insulin resistance and could send you down the road towards type two diabetes (it is a little a more complicated than this but you got the idea)
Having high levels of insulin all the time hurts fat loss because it makes your fat cells hold on to fat like a dog holding on to a bone. It will die before it lets it go.
Ever notice how when you are mildly stressed that you are always hungry and never satisfied. You have Leptin and Ghrelin to thank for this.
Leptin is the hormone that makes you feel full and happy. Essentially Leptin keeps you from over-eating.
Ghrelin is the growling hormone. It is the hormone that makes your belly growl to let you know you are hungry.
When you are stressed Leptin production is decreased and Ghrelin is increased so you are always hungry and never full…...Well that can't be good for willpower……
Lastly, Insulin and Cortisol work opposite of each other. When your cortisol is high, your insulin is low and vise versa. Well, your body doesnt like this. Your body wants to be in homeostasis. In order to spike your insulin your body wants sugar!!!!! So you crave simple sugars to get that insulin spike and a decrease in your cortisol. This is why when you are stressed it feels good to eat that candy bar and you feel more relaxed after. Well, sugar sends a rush of insulin which causes a rapid fall in blood sugar and a subsequent rise in cortisol ……….which then causes a craving for sugar…...my god it is a cycle that never ends…….
Damn…..this stress thing is bad news.
Lastly, cortisol causes inflammation. We all want to feel strong and sleek but cortisol makes you puffy. Your fat cells throughout your body all react differently to cortisol. Unfortunately, your belly fat has more cortisol receptors then other parts of your body. So instead of rocking a flat stomach the more stressed your are the more likely you are to be sporting a spare tire. This is usually not the look the people are going for.
Since giving up and moving to Hawaii isn’t reality for most people, what you needs is some real life solutions.
Stay tuned next week with some practical tips to decrease stress and increase fat loss.
Overwhelmed. Need help sticking with a plan. Contact me at Theresa.Worley@icloud.com for a FREE consultation.