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Cortisol and weight gain go hand in hand. Cortisol from stress makes it a lot harder to lose weight and feel great!
That’s why I’m talking all about stress and how it affects cortisol, weight gain and health.
- Do you struggle with stress and weight gain?
- Do you feel overwhelmed and have stubborn fat?
- Do you feel burned out and unmotivated to exercise?
- Do you eat to cope with stress?
If so, this is for you! I’m going to explain all of the above so you know how cortisol affects your weight, health, and mind.
After you’re done taking a look, please leave me a comment and let me know if this post helped you.
It’s virtually impossible to get fit and healthy when you are struggling with high cortisol levels and stress, which is why I felt compelled to make this video and share my top cortisol reducing tips with you.
I could give you a meal plan and workouts that would work… but if you’re too stressed you’re not going to get results as quickly as you could, if you weren’t stressed out.
Every single person I know is dealing with stress and it’s impossible to eliminate stress completely from your life! It’s also impossible to look and feel your best when you’re stressed.
I mentioned this last week when I shared tips and exercises that help get rid of lower belly fat. But it’s very difficult to get results from workouts and your meal plan when you’re stressed.
That’s why I’m explaining how stress affects your weight, health, and mood in a negative way and then give you quick and easy tips to reduce stress that work quickly.
Cortisol and Weight Gain
Stress releases cortisol aka the ‘stress’ hormone. A little cortisol is a good thing but it’s also not good if you’re trying to lose your excess, unwanted body fat.
- Cortisol is a catabolic hormone. Catabolic hormones ‘break’ down. In this case, cortisol breaks down protein which is what your muscles are made of. When muscle breaks down, metabolism slows down, too which can make you gain weight and make fat more difficult to lose.
- Cortisol also changes body fat distribution and can cause stubborn belly and back fat.
- Stress can cause sugar (and carb cravings), making it harder to stick to a meal plan.
- Too much stress can cause a decrease in appetite, which reduces metabolism, making fat more stubborn.
- Stress can make it harder to absorb nutrients, increases nutrient requirements, and increases nutrient elimination… so if you don’t manage stress properly, healthy food won’t work as well in the body.
- Too much cortisol can be inflammatory, which can make you gain weight, too.
Because stress affects nutrient absorption, it can cause metabolic dysfunction, which affects health and mood even more.
To see if you’re experiencing signs of metabolic dysfunction and learn more, take my free metabolic analysis and training.
Stress and Health
When you’re exposed to too much stress over an extended period of time it can start to cause a decline in health.
- Blood sugar and insulin levels and can put you at risk for developing diabetes.
- Stress can affect memory and cognition, making it harder to remember and complete everyday tasks.
- Elevated cortisol levels can cause inflammation, a precursor to disease and cancer.
- Because stress affects nutrient absorption, it can start to causing metabolic dysfunction that can slow the metabolism and reduce immunity, leaving you vulnerable to illness and more diseases.
Physical Symptoms of too Much Cortisol
HOW TO LOWER CORTISOL LEVELS
SLEEP TO REDUCE CORTISOL
Sleep is the best way to metabolize and eliminate stress hormones. If you’re already feeling exhausted and fatigue eliminate extracurricular activities that drain you.
Tips to ensure better sleep:
- Use blue light blocking glasses – Blue light from screens can affect sleep and cause insomnia – I recommend (and have) these Blue Light Blocking Glasses
- Use Melatonin – a little goes a long way! Pistachios are also high in melatonin! Pop a small handful 3 hours before bed to help you relax. I like this brand Melatonin 12 mg Fast Dissolve Tablets, Vegetarian, Non-GMO, Gluten Free
- Avoid Alcohol – Although ‘relaxing’ alcohol makes it harder to get the regenerative sleep you need to truly reduce stress.
- Get technology out of your bedroom.
- Use a different bedroom if your partner disrupts your ability to sleep.
OXYTOCIN BREATHING REDUCES CORTISOL IN SECONDS
Oxytocin breathing releases oxytocin, which is the ‘love hormone’. Oxytocin calms the stress response and combats cortisol in the body. This technique is best when you’re stuck in a situation where you can’t leave like, work, in traffic, or at an event that’s stressing you out.
- To oxytocin breath: Inhale for 8 counts, hold for 8 and exhale for 8 counts.
- Repeat until you feel relaxed, like you just had an orgasm.
- I do this 200 times a day : )
AVOID FOOD WHEN YOU’RE STRESSED
Eating when you’re stressed can start to negatively affect your hunger hormones, namely ghrelin and leptin.
Emotional eating can make you feel hungry all the time, reduces hunger completely, and can make it harder for you to feel full, leading to excessive weight gain and issues with blood sugar levels.
Because stress affects hunger, you may also feel like you’re not hungry at all when you’re stressed. This slows the metabolism even further making it easier to gain weight.
EXERCISE TO REDUCE CORTISOL
Avoid doing overly intense workouts! When you’re stressed and exercising aggressively it can increase the fight or flight stress response and increase inflammation.
The good news is, when you’re stressed you’ve released some cortisol and it’s best to exercise to tell your body you’re ok!
- Do light, low impact cardio. Walking or the elliptical are perfect! Avoid doing more than 30 minutes of cardio.
- Try one of my weight training workouts or workout programs.
- All of my workouts are designed to help balance hormones and reduce stress – to make you feel a lot better – not worse!
SWAP IN HEALTHY CORTISOL & STRESS-REDUCING ALTERNATIVES
Avoid people, places, things, and foods that make stress worse. My VIP Resource library is stocked with tips and tools that help reduce stress. Click here to become a CC VIP and get instant access to the resource library.
SUPPLEMENTS FOR CORTISOL
Click here to see my recommendations for cortisol and stress reducing supplements on my Amazon Store.
I hope this post helped you! What did you think about it?
Let me know in the comments.
Your Coach and Biggest Cheerleader
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Christina Carlyle is a certified Holistic Nutritionist, Sports Nutrition Specialist, Personal Trainer, Health Coach, & Behavior Modification Specialist. After overcoming her own health issues, getting off 7 medications, & losing 40 pounds (& keeping it off for 10+ years) she’s dedicated to helping others get Happy, Healthy, & Fit for life, with science-backed strategies. Christina shares real deal (no BS) weight loss and wellness advice, workouts, and recipes that get results and work in the real world.