The quest for the perfect body is an endless and tireless journey, especially for women.
Society puts a lot of pressure on how a woman should look, even if she is raising three children, working, maintaining a home, and trying to retain some form of a romantic relationship with her husband.
There is one thing that the road to a better you is sure to bring- long before you see the scale budge- and that is stress.
And what does stress always accompany? A rise in the stress hormone cortisol.
So why haven’t scientists developed a magical cortisol-be-gone pill that takes away the one thing standing in between you and that little black dress you still have hanging in your closet since college?
Because it’s not quite that easy. Although, cortisol causes you to hang on to those unwanted pounds, it also is an essential hormone from bodily function.
Medicine Net uncovers all the pesky hormone does for your body in an easy to understand way:
“Normally, cortisol is secreted by the adrenal glands in a pattern called a diurnal variation, meaning that levels of cortisol in the bloodstream vary depending upon the time of day (normally, cortisol levels are highest in the early morning and lowest around midnight). Cortisol is important for the maintenance of blood pressure as well as the provision of energy for the body. Cortisol stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism for fast energy, and stimulates insulin release and maintenance of blood sugar levels.”
When cortisol is elevated from stress it triggers an increase in appetite causing food cravings.
So there is nothing wrong with you when you grab a piece of chocolate every time your toddler refuses to nap, and chooses to color the walls with their boogers instead.
Another way which the body copes with the excess cortisol is that testosterone levels decrease which lead to less muscle mass.
Definitely not the effect you are looking for after beginning your new year fitness regimen – I mean, I already bought this summer’s bathing suit to fit my future body!
Cortisol has not been deemed the “stress hormone” for no reason. Times of physical and psychological stress cause it to be released in the body, thus a cascade of physiological events that are hard to pack back up.
Disruption in normal cortisol function is what packs on that stubborn weight. And you will never guess where the stress weight likes to accumulate?
Studies have shown, according to Medicine Net, stress weight deposits around the abdominal area.
The absolute toughest place for most women to lose weight!
This “toxic fat” is correlated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes.
What are we to do? Move to the woods and chuck our cell phones in the lake? It would probably help, but there is an easier way that allows you to binge on Pinterest after the kids go to bed.
Reduce stress by eliminating negative aspects of your life, as Better Change Project has previously reported, and take time to focus on your needs.
You may be surprised to know that it’s not just stress that can cause mayhem on your cortisol levels.
Ask your doctor about your risk of Cushing’s syndrome, or genetic factors that effect hormones.
Don’t be discouraged by the number on the scale, and continue your exercise and clean eating routine.
Choose just one aspect of de-stressing your life a day and before you know it your cortisol levels will level and you will only have that ice cream in the freezer taunting you.
Please let us know in the comments section if you have struggled with cortisol imbalance, and if you have found success in treating it.