HAVE you got fat around the middle that’s been there for years and just won’t shift?
Maybe you’ve been on countless diets and lost weight in various other parts of the body but the tummy fat won’t go. Here’s what you need to know: Getting rid of the fat around your middle is not simply about your diet or lack of exercise. It’s much more to do with the stress hormones in your body, especially cortisol.
I thought I’d explain why this is. Because once you understand the cause of fat around the middle, it’s much easier to do something about it.
When your brain thinks your life’s under threat it becomes stressed and releases the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. This fight or flight survival mechanism dates back to caveman days.
The hormones released instantly create a number of physical changes. Your heart beats faster, you breathe faster, and your entire body becomes tense and ready to take action. Fight or flight is clever and very, very efficient and it provides everything your body needs to react to the stress of dangerous situations.
Once the danger’s out of the way the adrenal glands stop pumping out hormones and your body returns to normal. The problem with modern life is that many of us live under constant stress – it comes from deadlines, traffic jams, managing homes, children and elderly parents.
The body can’t distinguish between day-to-day stress and exceptional life-threatening stress so it reacts in exactly the same way it’s always done, which is fight or flight.
Let’s look at what happens when you’re stressed. The adrenaline helps you to be alert and focused while cortisol increases the levels of fat and sugar in the blood stream to form glucose, which provides instant energy.
However unless you do something physical, which is what your body is programmed to expect, then all that extra glucose has nowhere to go. It simply becomes fat which is stored round your middle so it’s close to your vital organs, such as the liver, for the next time it’s needed.
Fat around the middle – the refuelling problem
After a stressful event adrenaline levels return to normal and the body becomes calm. But the level of cortisol often remains higher, maybe for a few days, because your brain thinks you should refuel your body. So cortisol increases your appetite.
Now you can see why people who are under constant stress often feel hungry all the time. The body is getting them to stock up on the fuel it thinks could be needed again.
What’s most useful to it is carbohydrate and fat. And those are the last things you need to consume if you’re trying to lose weight. In the modern world, when we spend so much time sitting at desks, in cars or in front of the TV, refuelling just isn’t necessary.
Now you know what’s going on, the question is: what can you do about it?
Find time each day to relax. Just 10 minutes of “me time” can make a big difference. If you’re on my Slimpod Gold programme, make full use of the Chillpod download which has undergone clinical trials and is unlike any other relaxation download.
The other thing you can do is exercise. This is proven to release feelgood hormones that counter stress.
Leave a comment below and tell me how stress affects you and what you’re going to do to relax more.