Overeating and inactivity are two of the most obvious reason why we fail to lose weight, but its important to look at stress and the role that plays. According to Dr Shawn Talbott, author of the ” Cortisol connection ” stress is the key reason why diets fail. Cortisol is a hormone from the steroid group known as glucocorticoids. It is produced by the adrenal glands and is the primary stress hormone in the body , playing a key role in regulating metabolism, as well as the fight or flight response.
Chronic or long-term stress increases levels of cortisol which plays a role in several reactions which leads to weight gain. It increases your cravings and appetite for unhealthy foods as well as contributing to fatigue and reducing testosterone in both men and women which leads to muscle loss. Cortisol inside fat cells can make fat loss tricky as an enzyme in these cells called HSD can trigger the fat cells to store more fat and grow. This is particularly so in the deep visceral fat cells, typically found in abdominal or belly fat which tend to contain more HSD.
Cortisol levels are best reduced by managing stress effectively by implementing the following :
Improved sleep both in hours and quality
Meditation, stillness, spending some time in nature every day ( green or blue space )
Moderate exercise ( walking, low-intensity, dancing, cycling , pilates, yoga, tai chi ) Vigorous exercise routines may actually produce more cortisol in the body, adding potentially extra stress to someone who is already stressed out.
Avoid sugar which triggers inflammation and further unbalances hormones and blood sugar levels. Switch to whole foods and an anti – inflammatory diet.
Consider taking adaptagenic herbs , superfoods and use essential oils for relaxation