Do you feel like you have tried just about everything to shift your weight, but nothing's happening?
You might be experiencing feelings of frustrations after several attempts at healthy eating, exercising, meal replacement shakes, supplements etc... but you are quickly derailed off course as the weight simply isn't shifting and your motivation plummets downward?
It's not always your fault, and perhaps your hormones might be out of whack.
Understanding the role that our hormones play in our body is one thing, knowing how to control them for fat loss is another.
With so many individual variables in place, even self control can't always guarantee fat loss and sometimes hormones will do what they want regardless of your efforts.
But understanding firstly how your hormones work in conjunction with your current eating and lifestyle, can be the first step you need, to help you better understand how your choices may be affecting how you look and feel.
Over consumption of calories and lack of exercise are the two primary reasons you’re gaining weight. One contributing factor that goes unnoticed is high cortisol, which is mostly derived from chronic stress.
So What Is Cortisol. And what does that have to do with weight loss?
Cortisol is a hormone from the steroid family called glucocorticoids. It is the main stress hormone within your body and is created by the adrenal glands, which reside above the kidneys. On the plus side, it is a vital factor in metabolism, helping to establish the source of energy protein, carbohydrate, or fat for your body to use. Additionally, it is a contributing factor in your body’s fight or flight response, which is important for your longevity.
What are the effects of high cortisol levels? If you are regularly stressed out, the levels of cortisol in your body can increase substantially. There are several symptoms of high cortisol such as mood swings, food cravings, brain fog, interrupted sleep, high anxiety, and more. High levels of cortisol might have a negative influence on your body. Usually it leads to diminished bone density, imbalanced blood sugar, high blood pressure, and breakdown of muscles.
Raised cortisol levels also lead to visceral abdominal fat disposition, otherwise known as belly fat. It’s one of the most unwelcome high cortisol symptoms you’ll endure. Cortisol also leads to an increase in insulin resistance, and as such, greater disposition of fat.
Further, stress has been associated with overeating, which also results in fat gain. How do you maintain healthy levels of cortisol?
In our very fast paced lives that induce us to high stress, finding ways to reduce cortisol might seem like more work than we are already doing. However, it might be worth your time to keep on reading from here to understand natural ways to tackle this beast if weightloss keeps you awake at night.
Our bodies are like a sponge, and over time, we accumulate stress, like your mum saves hoards of junk in the spare room. The following variables that you can control will help you to shed some of that long term stress that is stuck in your body which could eventually lead to more serious issues.
I think the best place to start with is your diet. If your diet is full of processed and high sugary foods usually found in your local servo or in a packet that you can throw in the oven or a microwave, chances are you aren't making enough time to eat nutrient dense foods. Think fruits such as bananas and berries, veggies such as sweet potatoes or anything green, proteins such as meats, fish, and eggs, or grains such as rice and quinoa. Yes when it comes down to food, it really is this simple. So make the damn time to prepare the food you put into your gob.
Before I took my eating habits and fitness lifestyle seriously, I felt constantly bloated, tired, anxious and even depressed with my head struggling to rise above my own negative view on the world. Don't underestimate the value and power that good food and regular exercise has on your overall zest for life.
A great stress management tool I love is regular massage, which is a great way for me to unwind from a busy week or month to some relaxing asian inspired music, in a chilled dark environment very different from the busy gym I work in, and that shuts out the noise of the outside traffic and thoughts in my head.
I like to go for a 90 min massage at least 1-2 times a month, and after it I am so relaxed, to the point that I look like that I've been hit by a freight train or got myself into a bitch fight with mascara down to my knees. Albeit my shoulders are no longer hard as rocks. :)
My role as a coach means I deal with people's emotions and set back's all day long. If my clients had their shit all figured out, they may not necessarily render the use of my services, with that said I go to stupid lengths to keep things informative, fun and an ever growing experience for them.
Providing a haven for others means I put an immense amount pressure on myself, and so having regular stress outlets in place such as massage is paramount to the success of my business.
It helps me to "lose the shit" without "losing my shit"
The second most undervalued commodity to reducing stress is having better quality sleeps.
You may be struggling to sleep with racy thoughts, an inability to wind down, or you're too consumed on social media or netflix that keeps you awake way past your bedtime.
I mention these things because these are some of the real life situations that I have had to alter in order to reduce my stress levels. Sometimes you can feel like a mouse running on a wheel that never ends and this half of the year I promised myself I would break the evil cycle of late nights, too much caffeine and an over obsession of social media gratification.
Being a solo entrepreneur, I thrive on structure, but I also run on adrenaline some weeks, yet I have found a way to get around it that is practical and that allowed me to set this non-negotiable in place.
The first thing is setting an alarm on my mobile at 10pm that says "Go To Sleep" every single night including the weekends. Monday to Friday this rule is paramount as I wake up at 4am most mornings and if I hit the pillow past 10pm I am over tired or more stressed the following day. More stress = getting angry at innocent drivers in traffic or swearing at my laptop when things aren't going my way.
So far it seems to be working, and since I took a break from work and had one week off last week, I was able to reset a lot of my stressful symptoms and now feel a lot more calmer and relaxed and in a positive flow of mind. But if I don't constantly manage it from here on with better sleep or managed caffeine intake, or that regular massage, then I am going to quickly fall into that same stressful pattern that I was in only two-three weeks ago.
Secondly I try to not look at my phone after 9pm and spend time with my partner and my cat on the couch watching TV which allows me to escape reality for an hour or so. It's all too easy to chase that dopamine hit from the likes and comments on social media, but truth is, it's also a very fabricated view on reality, at least with TV I can be somewhat social with the person I love with the last bit of time left in my day.
Performing low intensity workouts such as long walks out in the open with fresh air helps to reduce stress. Have you ever had an elevated heart rate, have a head full of thoughts, but quickly noticed a lot of your "stress" start to settle half way through your walk?? Your heart rate begins to feel a little more "normal" and you feel a renewed sense of vigour? Walking outside is almost like a moving version of meditation, you can be at one with your imagination, reflect on your day, set some new goals, breathe, or just empty your mind, listen to your favourite tunes and also show a little gratitude to your life despite the stress you may feel.
Pilates or yoga may also be a great way to release any pent up stress, stretch out your muscles and help with better blood flow.
If you're anything like me though, you prefer a high intensity workout such as weights, or even boxing. For me, if I am feeling moody, annoyed or irritated, the best release is to hit the gym and lift some iron, to which I can literally feel the tension leave my body as I am breathing properly through each repetition, surrounded by people all with the same goal, to feel fitter, faster, or stronger.
Cortisol is not unhealthy. Rather, it’s an essential hormone that is required for a healthy lifestyle. There are several hormones within our bodies, and when regulated properly, they can maintain our health. The secret is to be in control of those hormones so they never inhibit your weight loss goals.
Stress is inevitable, there is not a week where I don't feel some level of stress. But so long as I am aware of it, and now hopefully YOU, on how to manage it, we can both avoid unhealthy feelings towards ourselves and maintain a healthy body weight, and ultimately enjoy life a hell of a lot more.
For more information on coaching or how to eat better for your goals, please shoot us an email - email@example.com
1. What Is Cortisol - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuCmATx4Sqc
2. 6 Ways To Lower Cortisol - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66ujydlh40A&t=3s