Do you have personal problems and daily stress? If so, it is definitely time for you to take control of your life! Prolonged stress affects your health in every way and on every level, causing your body to gain weight and putting you at risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and even cancer. The side effects of stress should therefore not be overlooked. There is a growing body of research indicating that stress leads to the accumulation of abdominal fat and thus increases the risk of chronic disease.
So what’s the connection between cortisol, stress and belly fat
Anxiety and stress are often responsible for weight gain. Even if you eat healthy and exercise, stress can make you fat and sick. This plague affects your health in several ways. When you are stressed, your body releases cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. These hormones affect metabolism, appetite, and the ability to lose weight.
Does your job stress you out?
Cortisol regulates your energy balance by selecting the type of “fuel” (carbohydrate, protein, or fat) that is most appropriate for your body to manage stress. Under certain circumstances, it helps fat cells to develop into mature fat cells and causes the body to store fat in the abdomen.
Cortisol also triggers inflammation and compromises the immune system. At the same time, the level of insulin increases and the level of sugar in the blood decreases. These factors combined lead to weight gain and further accumulation of fat, especially in the abdominal area.
High cortisol levels are also associated with cravings for sugar and feelings of hunger.
When you’re stressed, you crave a cookie or chocolate to calm you down. This is why they are called “comfort foods”. Basically, your body needs foods that can give it a calming effect.
The stress hormone has a direct influence on the accumulation of body fat and appetite.
Compared to subcutaneous fat, visceral fat has four times more cortisol receptors. This is what explains why you accumulate fat around your waist during times of stress. Cortisol also affects the main hormones that regulate appetite, such as ghrelin, leptin, neuropeptide Y, and CRH. High levels of neuropeptide Y and CRH and low levels of leptin have been shown to increase feelings of hunger and craving for sugary foods.
How to manage your stress level
Woman Doing Pilates Controlling stress is an important part of losing belly fat. Simple lifestyle changes, like prolonging sleep and practicing yoga or meditation, can help you lose weight and prevent disease. Certain foods can help fight stress and reduce its impact. .
For example, cabbage, cauliflower, oats, nuts, and green leafy vegetables help restore hormonal balance and prevent spikes in blood sugar. Refined sugars, alcohol, white flour, gluten and trans fats can all affect the proper functioning of various hormones and affect your body’s ability to cope with stress.
Chronic stress is associated with abdominal obesity and insulin resistance.
It also accelerates biological aging and causes systemic inflammation. While you absolutely cannot avoid stress, there are ways to control it. Listening to music, reading, spending time outdoors, these are some of the best ways to deal with stress.
Regular exercise helps release beneficial chemicals, such as dopamine and endorphins.
These hormones lift your spirits and help reduce the damaging effects of stress. However, you have to be careful not to overdo it. If you train more than you need to, you are causing your body to store fat instead of losing it.
Start slowly and try to do two to three 10-minute sessions per day, without too much cardiovascular exercise.
You can, however, do walking and sit-up exercises. Yoga and Pilates are two great activities to start with, and you can easily find the workouts explained on YouTube.
Other alternative techniques for relieving stress include deep breathing, massage, and prolonged sleep.