Effects of Cortisol + High Stress on Weight Loss

anthony-tran-378336-unsplash.jpg

This is not what you want to hear. High levels of stress produce more cortisol which results in a lack of weight loss or even more body fat. If you’ve tried everything but the scale is not budging, you may want to check your stress levels.

Let’s get into a bit of science on this so we can better understand how to tackle this problem that probably most of us have.

What is cortisol?

Cortisol is a stress hormone that is secreted from our adrenal glands (where adrenaline is released from too). It is released in our bodies when we are stressed. It helps to keep blood at vital organs. It is biologically made to help put us into fight or flight and be able to fight off a bear or run long distances away from a tiger. Good in theory but not so much anymore. Cortisol can be released when we drink coffee, when we get yelled at by our boss, when we are in heavy traffic, or when we work out intensely for long periods of time. It can be useful but too much cortisol causes issues.

What does cortisol do?

Cortisol brings blood flow to our vital organs. Ignoring our digestion and other systems that aren’t considered vital to run away from a bear. “It can increase blood sugar levels, suppress the immune system, decrease bone formation and assist on the metabolism of compounds like fat and proteins.” It can affect your quality and time of sleep as well making losing weight even harder. It causes your insulin to rise therefore making you crave sugary and fatty foods which can lead to overeating junk food. The junk food or comfort food also releases calming effects in the body helping to bring down the stress. Cortisol also weakens your immune system exposing you to more infections and sickness.

So what’s the conclusion?

Too much stress is not good for any system in our body. It wreaks havoc on our bodies, metabolism, and overall health. We need to stress less. Period.

I’ll be writing more posts soon on what to actually do now that we know that our weight gain or lack of weight loss could be effected by our chronic stress!

Let me know what posts you’d like to see related to this topic in the comments!

-A