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Stress and Cortisol

Did you know that both stress and cortisol and cortisol and belly fat go hand in hand? Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, is released when you experience emotional, mental, or physical stress. This hormone aids in the body’s flight or fight response, giving you the energy needed to deal with stress. In the short term, this burst of extra energy can be helpful. However, high cortisol levels are extremely disruptive to the body and can result in numerous health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, depression, and anxiety. Elevated cortisol levels can even slow down weight loss or lead to weight gain.

If you have experienced any of these problems following a particularly difficult time in your life, or if you want to avoid them because of stress you’re experiencing now, you will need to take steps to help stabilize your cortisol levels. With spring finally here, cortisol gives us a whole new reason to slow down and smell the flowers. If you’re ready to start combating your cortisol and smell a few flowers along the way, following these tips can help make life less stressful and may even speed up your weight loss success.

1.   Cut the caffeine.Caffeine taps your adrenal glands to release cortisol, which can be helpful before a big presentation to sharpen your focus. But when you mix it with stress, your cortisol levels jump higher and remain higher longer.

2.   Sleep.To avoid elevated cortisol brought on by the stress of fatigue, you must get seven to nine hours of sleep every day.

3.   Watch your diet.Incorporate eggs, lean meat, oily fish such as salmon and tuna, citrus fruits, berries, fortified cereals, and dark leafy greens into your meals, creating a diet high in fiber and lean protein. Eating five small meals a day will also lower your cortisol, relieving your body of hunger stress and helping with the food cravings associated with high levels of cortisol.

4.   Curb the carbs.Significantly decrease your starch and carbohydrate consumption, and eliminate sugar. It will be very difficult to do this initially as cortisol increases your desire for sweet foods and carbohydrates. Satiate yourself at those times with fresh fruits.

5.   Exercise. Regular exercise three to five times a week is extremely important in regulating the body’s cortisol levels. When you exercise, your body will produce more natural dopamine and endorphins that can combat depression, lethargy, and anxiety. You will also shed the pounds and bloat brought on by elevated cortisol

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