Women's Health — Reducing Cortisol Levels Can Help You Lose Weight
By Diann Poole
STRESS AND WEIGHT GAIN
It's now known that stress can actually keep you from losing weight. Chronic stress can cause your body to secrete high levels of cortisol hormone into your bloodstream, which is due to your body's "flight or fight" response. Stress can be either psychological (mental and emotional) or physical. and produce high levels of cortisol.
SO WHAT IS CORTISOL?
Cortisol is a naturally-occurring steroid hormone that is secreted by the adrenal glands. It's important for regulating blood pressure, the immune system and many other functions.
Cortisol can be good in small amounts but high levels can lead to increased abdominal fat, which can lead to heart attacks, strokes, can increase your bad cholesterol levels and decrease your good cholesterol levels.
High levels of cortisol can also decrease your bone density, leading to osteoporosis and loss of muscle tissue, which will also slow down your metabolic rate. It can also increase your blood pressure.
Each of you will react differently to stress; some will produce more cortisol to a particular stress while others will produce less. It's been found that those producing more cortisol will actually eat more food as well, in particular carbohydrates.
TIPS FOR COMBACTING HIGH CORTISOL LEVELS
Learn ways to relax and change your lifestyle. Relaxation can be achieved in a number of ways either by exercising, mediation, yoga or deep breathing.
So let's look at the simplest change: Deep Breathing. This is done by gently breathing in through the nose, gently expanding your abdomen and then gently expelling the air through your nose pulling in your abdomen at the same time.
While breathing out the air, you need to focus on your breath. After several breaths in and out, you should start to feel yourself relax. You need to practice doing this exercise a few minutes a day to start, building up to five minutes.
You should practice deep breathing when feeling stressed or when things are getting to you. Just a few minutes can slow your body’s stress level down and help you feel relaxed.
Making lifestyle changes can help reduce cortisol levels too. Try eating a healthier diet, getting enough sleep, or organizing your time more efficiently so that you do not feel so stressed.
So, if you are exercising frequently and eating properly but still not losing any weight especially from around the middle then maybe you are suffering from high levels of cortisol caused by stress.
Try these suggestions and hopefully you should see a difference in your weight and around your middle.