Stress & Fat-loss?
How does stress relate to fat-loss, why it can lead to weight-gain and what can you do to minimise it?
Cortisol is a hormone that helps regulate metabolism and support the body in its response to stress. During a stressful survival moment, cortisol is released into the bloodstream to be transported around the body. This can be life saving as its affects help maintain a stable blood pressure.
Our ancestors viewed stress as being chased by a sabre tooth or trying to find food/shelter during winter months, hopefully just a brief interlude to daily life, very different from the world we live in today where stress is constantly overwhelming – bills to pay, job to hold down, pressure from the technology we use daily – keeping us in a constantly alert state!
The issue with remaining in an alert state is that our adrenals (glands that are responsible for hormone secretion) will be continually activated and over a prolonged period time could lead to burn and serious implications for the body and mental health.
What else does cortisol do? Promotes fat storage throughout the body. Fat is just an energy source for the body, and in times of stress the body is unsure when it's next energy source will be available. This is a natural survival response which has enable us humans to survive and thrive. However, if cortisol levels are chronically high it can lead to unwanted and unneeded levels of fat storage. Understanding cortisol, its effect on the body and how you may be compromised is a key tool for weight loss.
How do you reduce elevated stress and cortisol levels?
1) Taking some ‘down time’ - Reading a book/ watching a series/ taking a nap
2) Reduce your screen time before bed - limit blue light exposure before bed is a good way to decrease stress hormones and help the onset of sleep hormones for a better nights kip!
3) Get out in nature for 10 minutes every day - Let your brain hear the sounds it expects to hear. Forest bathing (chilling in nature) is a well researched way to decrease stress levels.
4) Listen to a short guided meditation video on YouTube - I do this daily and like the honest guys videos which can be found here:
Struggling with your weight loss journey? Check out my personal 1 to 1 coaching programs below starting from just £25 p/week. Full lifestyle reprogramming for less than the price of one PT session! You can also head over and book a free video call with me where I'll help you find your biggest fat-loss stumbling block!
Stay well! In health, Joe