Did you know that if you are stressed, busy and not taking enough time to relax and wind down that this can be impacting your ability to lose unwanted fat as quickly as you like?
The stress of modern day life coupled with a lack of quality sleep and poor nutrition is a driving factor to people either gaining excess body fat, or having trouble losing it, especially around the midsection.
Cortisol is the hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands and is released in response to any stress. Stress comes in many forms, including work, family, kids, emotional and environmental. When I ask people about their stress levels they respond by sitting bolt up and saying, “I have no stress” so before you do the same, just know that stress manifests itself physically and psychologically and you can become accustomed to a heightened state of stress without realising it.
Whilst cortisol is essential to our daily function, if we have a constant stream of stress, it leaves our bodies unable to cope. When we experience excessive periods of stress, your body kicks into its natural “fight or flight” response. To deal with a stressful situation your body must provide you with the energy you will need to either stand and fight, or run. Now you have raised cortisol levels which elevates your blood sugar to give you the energy to respond. If you had a physical need for that freshly supplied energy, like a caveman fighting off a lion or an intruder, it would be useful, but the problem nowadays is that you don’t. So where does all that energy go?
The hormone that kicks in when blood sugar is elevated is insulin, also known as the “fat storage” hormone. When insulin goes into action to deliver the energy, it has no requirements, as most people are sat down all day, so the energy gets stored as fat predominantly around the belly region.
So to lower body fat around your midsection, you must first address your stress.
Top Stress Busting Tips
- Identify your main stresses and work on reducing the impact it has on your daily life
- Learn how to cut back and take time out for yourself. Look at your diary and plan some time every day for you where possible, if not daily at least a few times a week
- Clean up your diet and start to add the right nutrients to support your mind and body rather that living on food with no nutritional value. Poor food quality saps essential nutrients from your body that you need to function optimally. Poor nutrition starves your body which is a huge stressor.
- Soak in a bath of Epsom salts 40 minutes prior to bed to help relax the body
- Use calming herbs such valerian and chamomile tea
- Be active daily
- Reassess your beliefs – Take a look at what is important to you, your attitudes and how you currently react to stressful situations.
- Spend time with those people/friends who have similar values to you.
- Make sure you get 7 – 8 hours of deep restful sleep per night by eliminating distractions such as phones, TV and keep the room dark