Learning how to improve cortisol balance can be key in successful weight management. In the world we live in of non-stop stimulation and stress, it’s easy to disrupt cortisol balance and create adrenal fatigue. The stress response created by deadlines, crazy schedules and never having enough time to do what needs to be done creates an outpouring of the hormone cortisol. The more demand you put on your adrenal glands to keep up, the harder it is for the adrenal glands to deliver.
Because the fight or flight response is innate and tied to our very survival, the adrenal glands get priority when it comes to hormone production which leaves the sex hormones and the thyroid hormones at a deficit.
High levels of cortisol are also a major contributor to belly fat. Cortisol increases the release of blood sugar which makes sense if you need to run away from a saber tooth tiger but isn’t very helpful when you are under deadline for a work project.
High cortisol levels help to lay down fat in the belly area which increases visceral fat, the riskier fat. The result is insulin resistance and inflammation which leads to even higher levels of cortisol not to mention an increased risk for heart disease and cancer. In addition, chronic high levels of cortisol make your body resist weight loss. Your metabolism virtually hunkers down in anticipation of hard times ahead. Literally, a vicious cycle.
Achieving cortisol balance is a high priority if you are struggling with weight loss. Here are some simple tips to help you improve cortisol balance.
8 Tips to Cortisol Harmony:
1. Eat a highly nutrient dense diet including fruits, vegetable, high quality protein, whole grains, nuts and seeds and good quality fats like olive oil and avocado.
2. Blood sugar control can be achieved by avoiding sugar and refined carbohydrates while consuming an abundance of whole foods and fiber.
3. Eat meals and snacks on a regular schedule.
4. Watch the caffeine and alcohol. Both caffeine and alcohol drive cortisol levels up.
5. Avoid foods you are sensitive to and improve your gut health.
6. Consider supplementation with vitamin C, fish oil and adaptogenic herbs like ashwaganda and rhodiola rosea.
7. Get adequate restful sleep.
8. Learn how to create more relaxation in your life. It’s all about supreme self-care. Yoga, deep breathing, spending time in nature, give your self time to spend with pets and loved ones can go a long way toward healing your adrenals.