Belly Fat And Cortisol Levels…What is the correlation?

Wonder why you are working out but unable to lose that stubborn belly fat? The answer could definitely lie in the food you eat, which might not be doing you a lot of good or perhaps drinking a lot of alcohol too? These are definitely factors to check for and foods that don’t agree with you, with some people being gluten or lactose intolerant. There are also other aspects that can be factored in. 

Cortisol or the stress hormone is secreted by the adrenal that helps regulate metabolism and regulate blood sugar levels. Cortisol is secreted during exercise and these levels tend to be higher for endurance athletes. This is balanced out with cool down exercises and consuming carbohydrates for breakfast apart from more proteins to repair muscles break down during resistance training. 

What happens when stress levels are high? Cortisol levels rise and tend to be stored around the mid-section as belly fat. There may be other factors too responsible for belly fat, but right now, the focus is on the correlation between cortisol and belly fat. According to the Harvard Medical School blog, stress often disrupts sleep and you seek comfort food in the middle of the night.

Also women record higher stress levels than men…So ladies, please go for a walk, get to the gym, go for that zumba, yoga or pilates class or go running, cycling or swimming. Whatever you do, go burn off those calories and release some endorphins and dopamine. 

Here are 5 things you can do to release the stress:

  1. Exercise of course is the key, but overdoing it too, is not a good idea. Listen to the body, pack in the rest days. Remember it’s a good idea to relax the mind and body, laze around and know that rest days are infact an integral part of your workout plan. 
  2. Reduce screen time in advance and get some good sleep to beat stress and pack in a good workout the next day. 
  3. While stress eating, be aware of what you are eating like junk food, how often in the week stress eating happens, look at patterns and look for healthy substitutes when possible. 
  4. Practice deep breathing exercises which help to calm the body down. These can be done during the day or a good idea is to do this post workout to relax the body. Meditation helps to calm the mind, especially during the long runs and cycle rides.  
  5. Negative thoughts create stress and when music and help to divert the mind or going for a walk, it helps you relax the body too in the long run. 

Why these tips are important even though these might sound like general tips, is that it is about relaxing the mind and body so that the desired effects on the body are felt with all these mindful aspects.