How Cortisol Affects Weight And What You Need To Know
Cortisol is called the ‘stress hormone’ simply because it is secreted when there is a lot of stress on the body or mind. We are hearing more and more about cortisol’s influence on weight loss, and it is quickly becoming one of the biggest aspects to focus on when trying to lose weight. Meditation, breathing exercises, and other stress-reducing tools are being recommended to reduce cortisol. But, what secrets about how cortisol affects weight loss should know before you embark on your cortisol-reducing diet?
Cortisol Levels Are Making You Hungry
The connection between cortisol and weight is not made up. Stress causes a few different hormones to be released, including adrenaline, corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRH), and cortisol. While CRH and adrenaline levels decrease quickly, cortisol hangs around for a longer time. When cortisol levels remain elevated, your appetite increases, thanks to metabolic disturbance, and despite your will power, you will probably eat more. Moreover, cortisol levels are thought to affect how your body metabolize fat.
Furthermore, most people do not get up and get moving when they are stressed. Instead, they sit and stew in their anger or frustration, and do not expend any calories while doing so. Add that to the increased appetite, and you have a recipe for weight gain, not weight loss.
Not The Sole Answer For Weight Loss
There is so much talk about how reducing stress can help you lose weight, but the truth is that reducing cortisol alone will not have a huge influence on your weight loss efforts. Advertisements for ‘revolutionary’ products that suppress cortisol and marketers trying to push new cortisol-reducing supplements may be trying to convince you otherwise, but it is important to remember that your body works as a whole, and changing one element in it may not be enough to affect how many calories your body burns off or uses.
There are many other aspects that you still need to focus on, such as food intake, exercise, types of food you eat, and when you eat your food. In fact, paying attention to those aspects will naturally help you reduce your cortisol levels without magic pills.
“Proper diet can counterbalance the impact of stress by strengthening the immune system, stabilizing moods, and reducing blood pressure.” – Explore Integrative Medicine
Genetics also plays an important role in the ability to lose weight. Therefore, it is important not to look at reducing cortisol as the sole answer for shedding the pounds.
It May Be Worse Than You Think
You may think that stress is your only problem. Cortisol is getting a bad rap for being a direct influence in the inability to lose weight; however, researches at Oregon Health & Science University have discovered that the connection between cortisol and obesity may be even worse than first thought. They have found that it may not just be a matter of reducing your cortisol levels to help shed the weight, as there may be many other hormones involved in the weight equation, and it’s hard to say whether shutting off high levels of cortisol impacts the weight gain or loss itself.
“Hormones have far-reaching effects, and shutting off one could wreak havoc with many aspects of normal metabolism.” – Oprah.com
Therefore, lowering your cortisol levels may not be enough, and other hormones may need to be taken into consideration. This is why a healthy lifestyle and diet are so important to overall weight loss and health. By taking care of your entire body, you can affect many different hormones and processes in your body that promote balance and optimal function.