You may have heard of the old phrase, ‘Eat Less and Move More’. If you are following this dietary protocol, then you have probably flatlined when it has come to dropping the kilos. What if we said that this could be one of the reasons that you aren’t losing weight? So what is the answer then?
What if we told you that by doing less you could actually get better results? We work with clients in clinic and online to tackle the underlying causes of their symptoms, including weight gain, and this strategy is a crucial part of the often very complex puzzle. One piece of the weight loss puzzle especially for us women is how your hormones can affect your ability to lose weight especially around the middle. Say hello to the hormone cortisol!
What exactly is Cortisol?
Cortisol is produced in the adrenal glands which sit on top of our kidneys. It’s a bit like our in-built alarm system. When we perceive a “stress’ whether this be mental, physical or emotional our brain sends signals to release cortisol to deal with the stress. Cortisol gets a bad rap, but it plays a very important role in our body:
It manages how your body uses carbohydrates, fats, and proteins
Regulates blood pressure
Increases blood sugars
Controls our sleep/wake cycles
Boosts energy levels short term so you can deal with stressful situations
However, like most things in life you can have too much of a good thing. It all comes down to balance and this is definitely the case with cortisol. High levels of cortisol play havoc when you are trying to lose weight.
If we go back to the Eat Less Move More theory where we go on fad diets, skip meals, or go on huge aerobic exercise binges we release cortisol. Preserving life is one of cortisol’s main jobs. So unfortunately, something has to give and that is more often than not our digestion, immune function, sex hormone production and much more. When our body is sending out constant alarm signals, this hormone tells our bodies to store fat, especially around the stomach, to provide instant fuel for “fight or flight” when we need it.
If the cortisol alarm is constantly going off it can be a real struggle to lose weight and keep it off. So, what is the answer then?
Mix up your exercise routine. Instead of going cardio crazy add in some yoga or pilates or simply just swap a run for a walk.
Focus on good quality protein and healthy fats with each meal. This will keep you not only satiated but avoid those blood sugar crashes and energy slumps.
Set an alarm for 10 minutes each day and focus on you. It is important to schedule the time, otherwise trust us you won’t do it. Guided meditation apps like Headspace and Calm are great.
Wherever you can, for example, travelling to work, doing the washing up (or even on the toilet!) try and practice deep breathing. Just 1 minute of deep breathing 3 to 4 times a day can really help lower cortisol levels.
Take it from us, really taking care of yourself and listening to what you and your body needs and wants can help reduce those cortisol levels and keep them in balance. It really can be the difference between having weight loss success or not.
Getting to the Root Cause of Weight Gain
Weight loss is one of our specialist clinical areas. There are many complex reasons why you may be struggling to lose weight, from high cortisol and hormone imbalances to thyroid problems, insomnia and nutrient deficiencies. Sometimes you might be getting your macronutrient balance wrong. In other cases, you’re not eating enough and doing the wrong sorts of exercise.
We love helping people on how to lose weight long term and eat well for life.
If you’d like to work with us on a one to one basis, you can apply HERE . So you can really get the most from us we only work with 10 people at any one time so space are limited. If you can’t wait, then you can go solo with our online weight loss program ‘Don't Weight for the New You' where you will get all the tools you need for successful long term weight loss and weight management.