How To Stop Cortisol Weight Gain Science
Cortisol is known as the stress hormone, and for a good reason. When we experience high levels of stress, our cortisol levels skyrocket, helping us stay alert for an attack or run away from a threat.
But, itâs not just short-term stressors that cause high cortisol levels. Constant work deadlines, family obligations, or financial worries leave us feeling frazzled and in a state of fight or flight all the time â and this is when itâs a problem. Sleep deprivation and living out of sync with your body clock also hike up levels of the stress hormone. And when cortisol is often high, you can start gaining weight.
Below, weâll dive into how too much cortisol in your system leads to weight gain and what you can do to stop that from happening.
Holistic Approach To Lower Cortisol
Our team of functional medicine specialists have the knowledge and experience to help you lower your cortisol naturally while rebalancing your adrenal hormones. Our comprehensive treatment plan includes guidance for eating a healthy diet and some lifestyle modifications to lower your stress levels. These will help to help restore your health and for sustainable weight loss.
Does Cortisol Regulate Metabolism
What does cortisol do? Because most bodily cells have cortisol receptors, it affects many different functions in the body. Cortisol can help control blood sugar levels, regulate metabolism, help reduce inflammation, and assist with memory formulation.
What is a natural cortisol blocker?
Both fish oil and an Asian herbal supplement called ashwagandha have shown the ability to reduce cortisol levels, so taking these supplements alongside a healthful diet could be beneficial.
Can cortisol cause belly fat?
Cortisol exposure can increase visceral fatthe fat surrounding the organsin animals. People with diseases associated with extreme exposure to cortisol, such as severe recurrent depression and Cushings disease also have excessive amounts of visceral fat.
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Tip #: The Value Of Potatoes
How to lose weight when you have adrenal fatigue all starts with a simple potato. Its like I always say: a potato a day keeps the inches away!
Studies have shown that boiled potatoes are in a class of their own when it comes to foods which curb appetites11.
Working more of these ingredients into your diet, in quick and simple ways, can help you combat adrenal burnout for good. The resistant starch in potatoes, in particular, will also help to heal your gut lining12.
There are so many superfoods out there, but potatoes can call themselves one of the original ones. They have loads of health benefits and can help you jumpstart your adrenal fatigue weight loss. Easy to prepare, easy to enjoy and youll be reaping the benefits in no time.
When it comes to balancing out the relationship between cortisol and body fat, potatoes are a great place to start. Heres how it could look as part of your day-to-day routine
Your Diet and Potatoes for:
- Breakfast: serve a boiled potato beside your scrambled eggs.
- Lunch: another boiled potato compliments any salad.
- Dinner: enjoy a baked potato alongside a lean cut of meat.
- No matter the meal, you can easily work more potatoes into your diet.
The Perfect Meal Plan For Weight Loss
- Meal 1: 1/2 cup oats cooked with water and cinnamon 1 whole egg + 3 egg whites scrambled with spinach, peppers, onions, and coconut oil one cup coffee with almond milk.
- Meal 2: Kale, black cherry, whey protein, and almond milk smoothie one cup green tea.
- Meal 3: Spinach salad with tomatoes, peppers, avocado, oil and vinegar, and chicken breast 1/2 sweet potato one cup green tea.
- Meal 4: Apple and whey protein shake .
- Meal 5: Salmon with lemon and garlic asparagus large dark, leafy green salad with oil and vinegar one cup green tea.
- Meal 6: Scrambled egg whites .
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Exercise But Not Too Much Or Too Late
Regular exercise is a great way to reduce stress and improve your overall well-being. It can also lower your cortisol response to stress and low-intensity workouts can actually decrease cortisol levels.
However, high-intensity workouts increase cortisol levels â you are putting your body under a type of stress, after all. While this is okay every now and again, if youâre over-exercising, you may suffer the consequences of high cortisol. So, be sure to throw some yoga or gentle swims into your week instead of back-to-back HIIT classes.
As well as not over-exercising, be sure to get the timing of your exercise right. Avoid working out too close to bedtime or you run the risk of disturbing your sleep, which, of course, can lead to high cortisol and weight gain.
High Cortisol Can Lead To Overeating
Weâre probably all familiar with the feeling of stress eating. Weâre slammed at work and get the urge to reach for a bag of chips or a bar of chocolate to help us through our growing to-do list. Part of this stress-eating urge can come from your cortisol levels.
One study found when participants were exposed to stressful situations, those who had high cortisol reactions ate more calories than those who had lower cortisol reactions. Whatâs more, those with high cortisol reactions also ate significantly more sweet foods across the day. So, just by being stressed, you may be craving unhealthy foods and more food in general.
Researchers are still finding out how exactly cortisol causes overeating, but itâs thought it may impact the hormones that control your appetite, such as leptin, the hormone responsible for making you feel full.
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Members Often Lose Half To Two Pounds A Week While In The Program And Go On To Continue Losing Weight After It Is Over
Perhaps more important than pounds lost is the focus on body acceptance and self-compassion, so you can learn to love yourself no matter your size.
Heres a brief member story that illustrated why a focus on self-acceptance is so important to the weight loss journey:
To get started on your journey to weight loss and body acceptance, download my free guide Youre Done Dieting but Still Want to Heal Emotional Eating.
Cortisol Related To Depression Fatigue
Does elevated cortisol also contribute to depression and chronic fatigue syndrome ? To answer this let’s consider the theories of Drs. George Chrousos, Chief of the Pediatric and Reproductive Endocrinology Branch at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and Philip Gold, of the Clinical Neuroendocrinology Branch at the National Institute of Mental Health.
They explain the hormonal system known as the hypothalamus – pituitary adrenal axis, a complex series of events that takes place when you’re stressed. It affects a variety of stress-related conditions including depression and CFS.
The HPA axis is a feedback loop where the brain signals the release of hormones needed for the fight or flight response, affecting your
- Autonomic nervous system â
- Brain’s limbic system , the amygdala , and the hippocampus also brain regions that control body temperature, suppress appetite, and control pain â
- Glandular systems producing reproductive, growth, and thyroid hormones.â
According to Dr. Chrousos, the HPA axis varies person to person and is probably influenced by heredity. In most people it functions well, appropriately responding to a threat and switching off when the threat is over. Others however under- or over-react.
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Breaking Up With Stress How To Reduce Cortisol Levels In The Body
The first thing to pay attention to is the daily habits and aspects of your life that can keep you trapped in the cycle of stress. Chronic stress doesnt appear to have a root cause on the surface because everything irritates us in this state. Often we dont really know why were stressed we just feel strung-out, overwhelmed, crabby and exhausted.
You might like to start this process journaling in the morning and evening to discover which aspects of your life give you the most stress and anxiety. Once youve identified where the source of much of your stress is coming from, how can you make a change?
Whether its therapy, meditation, yoga, gardening, walking or working out invest in eliminating the stress in the first instance, whatever that might look like to you.
Whilst you are finding balance mentally, seek out ways to support your body with the impact of stress to help bring back some balance and control over your emotional state.
Stress Increases Cortisol And Insulin Levels
Stress actively alters our physiology when we are in a constant state of anxiety or pressure. Our fight or flight response was designed to kick in when we most needed it in a life-threatening situation, adrenalin pumps through our veins and our body prepares for intense physical exertion. When this occurs occasionally, the body is able to absorb the excess glucose. But when we are chronically stressed, our fight or flight response is switched on almost all the time, causing a multitude of issues for us physically and mentally.
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Other Symptoms Of Cortisol Imbalance
Other symptoms of imbalanced cortisol include an initial jolt of energy, that then fades to exhaustion when youve been under pressure for so long.
So, cortisol makes it harder to lose weight, adds belly fat, amplifies your food cravings, and steals your energy.
Ok thats a bummer, but soon you will see theres hope.
Get The Right Amount Of Sleep
Prioritizing your sleep may be an effective way to reduce cortisol levels. Chronic sleep issues such as obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, or shift work have been associated with higher cortisol .
One review of 28 studies in shift workers found that cortisol levels were higher in workers who slept during the day rather than at night .
Those on rotating shifts have been linked with poorer health outcomes, such as obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and worsened mental health (
Practicing good sleep hygiene can help to keep cortisol in a normal rhythm. Keeping a consistent sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine 6 hours before bed, and staying off your cell phone right before bed are effective strategies.
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Reducing Your Cortisol Levels
When you reduce your stress, your cortisol levels will also decrease.
To lower your stress, you may need to focus on your mind and body. By doing so, your brain will feel less threatened, and itll tell your adrenal gland to lower your cortisol levels.
Follow these eight tips to manage stressful symptoms:
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Cortisol Blockers And Weight Loss
Many manufacturers of cortisol blockers have made claims that their product can promote weight loss b reducing the levels of cortisol in your body. Your body releases cortisol when you are under a great deal of stress. Some evidence links the stress hormone, cortisol, to weight gain.
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Will I Experience Weight Gain If My Cortisol Is Too High
The short answer: yes.
But why? Why do extremely high cortisol levels lead to weight gain, especially in women 40+ years old?
Research shows that you become less resilient to stress as your age increases. You also learned that high cortisol levels can lead to muscle breakdown, stored midsection fat, and lower leptin levels.
Another reason why high cortisol levels can make you experience weight gain is that cortisol impacts your insulin levels and increases your desire for comfort foods and sweets.
If youve ever heard of the term stress eating, thats exactly what were talking about here. Increased cortisol causes stress eating which can lead to weight gain and poor sleep.
Overall, high cortisol levels lead to:
These factors may contribute to weight gain.
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Causes Of High Cortisol Levels
Wondering what underlying conditions could be contributing to your high cortisol levels? Cortisol tends to go up as perceived stress goes up, so anything that triggers a negative mind states things like anxiety, worry, anger or frustration contributes to high cortisol levels. Medication use, inflammation, poor sleep and a poor diet can also trigger high cortisol levels by altering hormonal balances and negatively affecting the immune system.
Corticosteroid medications like hydrocortisone, prednisone pills or other medications used to treat inflammatory-related diseases or symptoms are common causes of high cortisol levels. Aside from corticosteroids, other major factors contributing to higher than usual cortisol production include:
- recent surgery, illness, injury or whole-body infections
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Will Lowering Cortisol Help Lose Weight
There is no solid evidence that cortisol blockers lead to weight loss. When youre under stress, your body boosts production of the hormone cortisol. Chronic stress and persistently high cortisol levels may be associated with increased appetite and weight gain.
How does low cortisol affect metabolism?
Proper thyroid function helps to maintain a healthy metabolism, but both high and low cortisol levels can impair the conversion of thyroid hormone from its inactive form to its active from. This can result in a low thyroid situation, causing weight gain and symptoms of poor metabolism.
How does cortisol affect your weight?
Levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, rise during tension-filled times. This can turn your overeating into a habit. Because increased levels of the hormone also help cause higher insulin levels, your blood sugar drops and you crave sugary, fatty foods.
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Nutrition To Balance Cortisol
From a nutritional perspective, you can assist your bodys inborn mechanisms to balance hormones by focusing on blood sugar balance, anti-inflammatory food choices, and eating regularly.
Making sure youre getting *enough* food and nutrients so your body doesnt feel deprived and stressed is also key, since restriction can raise cortisol.
You may be thinking, if I eat more, how can I lose weight?
Foods & Ingredients To Look Out For
Theres no magic food to instantly lower cortisol and stress levels, but certain ingredients can and help regulate the release of cortisol. Thats because theres a link between high cortisol and intestinal permeability, says Davis.
All of us have some degree of intestinal permeability. Because the GI tract is semi-permeable, things get in and out all the time, he explains. But when cortisol is high, that degree of permeability gets higher. When that happens, bacterial breakdown products enter the bloodstream causing inflammation, insulin resistance, and stimulates the release of more cortisol.
There are a few foods and ingredients that can help slow this process down. They are:
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Principles: How To Lose Weight With High Cortisol Levels
To solve the problem how to lose weight with high cortisol levels you need a comprehensive approach. First, watch what you eat . Food should be low-calorie. In your diet should be a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits. Do not overeat stop eating when hungry. Second, move more . Do physical exercises. Walk more. Buy a ticket to the gym and constantly visit him. Fulfillment of these principles will allow you to solve the problem how to lose weight with high cortisol levels.
Lifestyle Practice To Balance Cortisol
Daily stress management practice is another key to dealing with the psychological stress that raises cortisol.
Some stress management practices that have been shown to balance cortisol include:
- Meditation and many mindfulness-based practices have been shown to lower cortisol, increase resilience and feelings of wellbeing.
- Spiritual and religious practices like prayer can also help with stress management, especially in the face of difficult life circumstances.
- Exercise actually raises cortisol in the short term, which researchers theorize helps your body become more resilient, but overtime exercise can decrease stress .
- Deep breathing can also lower cortisol, greatest benefits seem to be achieved when you practice regularly.
- Regularly engaging in things you enjoy doing, like hobbies, has also been correlated with lower total cortisol.
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