What is the link between belly fat and high cortisol? In this episode, I talk about belly fat caused by stress, chronic fatigue, and adrenal dysfunction.
How Elevated Cortisol Contributes to belly Fat and Weight Gain
1. Stress Increases Your Appetite and Food Cravings: When it comes to stress and food, cravings are real. When you’re under chronic stress, your appetite increases through cortisol. But unfortunately, we don’t crave a salad when we’re stressed. Sugar cravings are very common because sugar serves as a quick fuel to the system (and an instant mood boost). It’s common to also crave salty foods, another major sign of adrenal fatigue. Getting good quality sleep and implementing stress management, you will knock your cravings out and lose weight.
2. Stress Elevates Cortisol and Depletes DHEA and Growth Hormone: Another way stress impacts belly fat is through depletion of DHEA and Growth Hormone. DHEA is a precursor sex hormones, so when levels are depleted there can also be a lot of hormonal imbalance. The other thing is that fat is typically stored in the belly region when it’s related to stress, because the fat cells in your belly have 4x the number of cortisol receptors than fat cells located in other areas of your body.
What to do about it?
Off load stress on a daily basis by:
1- Take a 20 minute walk outside
2- Breathe deeply for 2 minutes at various times throughout the day
3- Stretch to relieve tension
4- Read a favorite book
5- Talk or laugh with a friend
6- Dance around your kitchen for 10 minutes with your kids
7- Write down difficult emotions in a journal
8- Enjoy a warm bath
9- Go for a jog or exercise however you like to
10- Inhale essential oils
11- Have sex