Multiple studies over time have shown us that stress plays a significant role in belly fat, even in people who would otherwise be thin. People who suffer from mood disorders or digestive issues have high cortisol levels, and increased belly fat.
High cortisol is how stress plays a role in belly fat. High cortisol levels are dangerous to your health and appearance. Understanding is the best way to not only solve this problem, but also to preserve your good health.
What is cortisol?
Cortisol (also known as the stress hormone) is a hormone in the blood, indicating function levels of both the adrenal glands and the pituitary gland. Cortisol has many uses or functions in the body. It helps the body convert fat and sugar into energy, also it is used for stress management. Cortisol levels are naturally higher during the morning hours, and they drop throughout the day. They hit their lowest at night while you sleep.
Chronic stress and high cortisol levels result in many mood disorders including depression, mental illness, lower life expectancy, post-traumatic stress disorder, and chronic fatigue. High cortisol may also play a major role in digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome and increase appetite cravings.
High cortisol is how stress plays a role in belly fat, it also causes loss of muscle and bone density. So not only are we getting more fat from stress, but it also rapidly increases aging, makes us appear much older than we actually are.
How can I fix my high cortisol levels and lower stress?
If you want to get your stress under control, that’s great! By doing so, you can help reduce the amount of cortisol that is causing damage throughout your body. And, by reducing your cortisol level, you might notice that your belly fat is also reduced.
Here are a few of the ways that you can work on reducing stress, and the cortisol that goes along with it, so that you can get rid of embarrassing belly fat with greater ease:
- The biggest factor is getting enough sleep each night. 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep is best.
- The time you eat, how many times a day you eat, and what you eat are extremely important. Making an eating schedule has been shown effective for reducing cortisol levels. Your eating schedule should include 5 different times a day to eat, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 2 smaller snacks. Breakfast should be high in protein and the biggest meal of the day. Snacks should be no more than 100 calories, an example would be a piece of fruit. Dinner should be the lightest meal, but bigger than a snack, about 300 calories. It is best to have less carbs during dinner than any other meal since you are going to be going to bed and won’t need so much energy.
- Using relaxation techniques might also help you reduce the amount of stress that you experience on a daily basis. You might, for example, try different forms of meditation, such as mindfulness meditation or compassion meditations. Or, you might try out different breathing exercises that you can even use during stressful moments in order to maintain control and feel more balanced.
- Finding time to laugh and have fun is also a good way to reduce stress and work on bringing your cortisol level down. The key is to create a balance in your life. Sure, you need to work and there are responsibilities that you need to take care of, but that does not mean that you can’t let loose and have a great time with your friends on a regular basis. Go to a comedy club, go dancing, or have dinner with your favorite people often so that you can undo the negative effects of stress.
- Take up a hobby that you love. Try something new, learn new things, and do things that you enjoy so you can get your mind off of the things that bother you. This can also help undo the effects of stress. And, once you gain this balance in your lifestyle, you might notice that your belly fat stops growing too!
- Another way to reduce belly fat is a pretty obvious one: exercise. You already knew that, right? But, did you know that exercise can help you feel good mentally, as well as physically? Physical activity in the form of sports, yoga, cardio, strength training, boxing, etc. is a wonderful way to reduce stress and the high cortisol levels that go along with it.
- Give yourself a self-care gift. According to CNBC, a few good examples include massage balls, CBD products, aromatherapy products, and earbuds that give you access to your favorite music to unwind even while on the go.
If you want to get rid of belly fat, reducing cortisol might be the best way
Unfortunately, in recent years cortisol levels in people have been on the rise, people sleep less and worry more. Cortisol is how stress plays a role in belly fat, if you have chronic stress or digestive issues, your cortisol is probably higher than it should be. This higher cortisol is responsible for your belly fat, as well as any increased aging. To reduce body fat, don’t extreme diet or exercise, fix your cortisol.