This article is part 2 to the previous one regarding the hormones that contribute to fat storage around the waist and what can be done to shift it.
Everyone has probably heard of the stress hormone called cortisol. This is our ‘fight or flight’ hormone that our ancestors relied upon thousands of years ago to provide them with the energy to run away from big, nasty dinosaurs.
While running away from a dinosaur cavemen (and women!) would release huge amounts of cortisol, which in turn increases appetite levels. Then once safe and had eaten these levels would drop down to normal.
This all worked perfectly fine back in the caveman days.
This graph below shows how our cortisol levels SHOULD IDEALLY change throughout a typical day. You will notice that it is at its highest first thing in the morning and then reduces as the day goes on until it’s at it’s lowest in the evening before going to bed.
Unfortunately it doesn’t work out like this. We get those same ‘fight or flight’ stress levels every time we are late for a meeting, stuck in a traffic jam, have a row with our spouse, get obsessed by weighing yourself everyday or have deadlines to meet at work. This then makes us feel hungry (like those cavemen) which would explain why some people eat more when they feel stressed.
In fact because cortisol levels tend to remain quite high into the evenings due to having to get dinner ready, get kids to after school clubs, get them to bed or just getting in from work late and getting caught in traffic. Generally people end up eating and drinking the wrong things to try and ‘de-stress’ – wine, takeaway, chocolate etc.
To compound the problem we generally don’t have to run for our lives at speed in order to get out of a traffic jam or have a deadline to meet! Instead we tend to be stuck behind a steering wheel or behind a desk so don’t burn off lots of energy.
So the more stressed you get the more cortisol you produce and store. As there are 4 cortisol receptors around the belly area, this is where most of it gets stored as fat.
We all understand that stress isn’t great for us mentally but this also shows how it is physically damaging as well and acts as an absolute ‘roadblock’ for anyone trying to lose weight.
Nothing that you wouldn’t have come across already:
- Plenty of exercise.
- Eat more veggies and water
- Drink less alcohol
- Cut out sugar
- Reduce wheat and gluten
….and if you get stuck in a traffic jam or don’t lose loads of weight one week, chill out! It really isn’t the end of the world.