I have some great tips for you to use to counteract and prevent stress related weight gain.
Awhile back I explained how chronic long term stress leads to the release of cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that breaks down muscle to provide the body with needed glucose for energy needs. Cortisol also relocates fat cell deposits into the visceral cavities of the abdomen. Increased abdominal fat increases your heart disease risk.
Here are 7 tips to decrease cortisol production and decrease abdominal fat deposits.
Effective, instant stress reliever that tricks the body into thinking your escaping stress. Push-ups cause your blood to circulate quickly, transporting cortisol to your kidney’s and removing it from your system.
2. Eat slowly
Stress typically leads to consuming meals very quickly, which equals bigger portions to fill full, and adds to your belly fat. Being mindful and eating slowly, savoring every flavor/texture, may actually lower cortisol, decrease your calorie intake, and move fat away from the abdominal area.
3. Avoid strict calorie restricted diets.
If you’re always “on a diet”, cortisol levels may rise as much as 18 percent. The rise in cortisol causes a blood sugar spike followed by a drop. This roll coaster ride makes your brain feel deprived of sugar (it’s main source for energy) and your ability to stick with a strict diet plan falters.
4. Don’t fight the cravings.
If you need something sweet it’s okay to satisfy your sweet tooth - in moderation. It’ll cut off your cortisol response before things get out of control.
5. Limit caffeine.
The combination of caffeine and stress raises cortisol levels.
6. As always, don’t skip breakfast
Being deficient in certain vitamins, such as B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, and magnesium causes your body stress and boosts cortisol levels, along with food cravings. Breakfast is a great quick and easy way to add these nutrients to your diet everyday. Some yogurt with fresh strawberries provides vitamin C, calcium, and magnesium. Add whole grain toast with peanut butter and you’ve boosted you B vitamin intake. As an additional bonus the healthy fatty acids in peanut butter slow the production of stress hormones.
7. Get enough sleep.
Adequate sleep is the most effective way to cut stress. Getting an average of 6 ½ hours of sleep nightly may increase cortisol, appetite, and weight gain. Ideally shoot for 7-9 hours of sleep. It only takes a few nights of good sleep to balance yourself back out.
If you missed the first article - Stress, Cortisol, and Your Heart - you can read the article by clicking the link. I’d love to help you lose weight and keep it off - permanently! Sign up for The Heart of Health where I provide free heart health and weight loss tips along with the free report Stop Wasting Money - Take Control of Your Health!
Lisa Nelson RD, a registered dietitian since 1999, provides clients step-by-step guidance to lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure, so they can live life and enjoy their family for years to come. Because her own health is the foundation of her expertise, you can trust that Lisa will make it truly possible for you to see dramatic changes in your health, without unrealistic fads or impossibly difficult techniques. She can be found on Twitter @lisanelsonrd and Facebook at hearthealthmadeeasy.