Guest Post by Nina Lynn: Are Every Day Stressors Making You Fat?
Nina Lynn is a wellness and lifestyle coach who specializes in helping women navigate the turbulent waters of menopause. Nina has a Masters Degree in Holistic Nutrition. She is a certified Self-Empowerment Technology Practitioner and Food and Spirit Practitioner. You can find out more about Nina and her powerful work at Zen of Menopause.
Note from Catherine Carrigan: Many clients come to me wanting a medical intuitive reading to understand why they can’t lose weight. They work out. They eat clean. But they don’t have this major factor under control: stress! In fact, if you’ve got extra fat around your midsection that’s a tell-tale sign you’ve got stress fat because your body lays down fat around your belly button when your cortisol if out of control. Please allow my good friend Nina Lynn to explain to you why your high-stress lifestyle may be interfering with your ability to achieve your ideal size.
The typical American is chronically stressed in ways that they may not realize. What does it take to trigger your adrenal glands to secrete cortisol, the stress hormone, into your system?
Say you set the alarm for 6:00 am, (because you can’t wake up without it), that’s your first hit of stress. Next you stumble to the kitchen and make a cup of coffee, that’s your second hit. Then you get into your car and proceed to battle traffic to get to work, POW, more cortisol. Once at work, your boss is on your case about a report he wanted yesterday that you are frantically finishing up. All of the frustrations, arguments or rushing around at work add to your load of cortisol. Lunch of McDonalds latest delight eaten at your desk adds nutritional stress to the picture. Let’s not forget the Red Bull to keep you going at 3:00 pm, which triggers a flood of cortisol. The drive home adds to your stress, as does whatever “situation” awaits you at home. The final overdose of cortisol comes as you stay awake under artificial light, (not sunlight), until midnight.
All of that cortisol in your system keeps you from burning fat for energy and also sets you up for metabolic syndrome and diabetes because cortisol causes an increase in blood sugar and therefore insulin to carry the excess sugar out of the blood and into your cells for usable energy.
Once your cells are full, which happens very quickly, the excess glucose gets stored as fat. Meanwhile, the more your overworked pancreas pumps out insulin, the more your cells become insulin resistant.
As your blood sugar lowers from the insulin, your body begins to crave more sugar to come back to a stable level. Not only that, but cortisol also suppresses leptin, the hormone that signals your brain that you are full, so now you are eating sugary processed carbohydrates because every cell in your body is screaming for them, and you have no shut off valve.
As the cycle of stress, low blood sugar, then binging on sugary carbohydrates continues you get fatter and fatter, typically around the middle.
But it gets worse. The visceral fat around your middle actually produces more cortisol, and the cycle continues. As if you needed one more reason to manage your stress, now you can add avoiding a fat belly.