Have you put on weight around the tummy even if you ate nothing but air? Or struggle to shed any kilos even though you eat right and work out regularly? It’s highly likely you are suffering from adrenal fatigue. The bad guy? Cortisol, the stress hormone produced by your body. It is well documented that stress and weight gain go hand in hand.
What is Cortisol?
Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, which sit atop each of your kidneys. It is best known for helping fuel your body’s “fight or flight” response. When produced at healthy levels, this hormone does wonder things like reducing the effects of inflammation and stops your body from feeling stiff or in pain. It also helps your body to burn fat for fuel, which spells good news for getting a leaner body. The most beneficial role cortisol plays is keeping you awake during the day and constantly aware of our surroundings, so you can carry out your daily activities at full steam.
When does Cortisol become a culprit of unexplained weight gain?
When cortisol levels became higher than optimal levels, it sends signals to your body to consume higher calorie food, breaks down protein to use for energy and store fuel in fat cells. The result? Not only do you start to lose muscles, but your tummy also starts to grow fatter, despite all the HIIT workouts that you have religiously done. This is why your tummy and thighs suddenly when you have a really stressed week, or, you can lose weight when you are stressed out.
How do you deal with too much Cortisol?
Balancing your hormones such as cortisol involves plenty of sleep, enough rest and regular exercise
Reduce the intensity or duration of your workout when you are tired
Your adrenal glands release cortisol when you workout and the higher the intensity or duration, the more cortisol is released. This increased in cortisol, combined with the cortisol released from your stressful day, breaks down your muscle, which makes you look less toned and fatter after exercising. Do not guilt trip yourself if you are feeling too tired to engage in a high-intensity workout. Neither should you stop exercising. Instead, go for brisk walks, stretch and light exercises on the days that you feel stressed and tired by your workday.
Reducing stress does wonders in reducing cortisol produced by your body, and it improves your overall health. Apps like Calm and Headspace helps you to practice mindfulness in the comfort of your own home. Taking a walk in nature and a moment to smell the plants. This momentary disconnection from technology sends signals to your nervous system to relax. You can also meditate 20 minutes a day. Meditation allows your body to relax while staying alert and plays a big role in deep internal healing as well as stress release.
Get enough sleep
This is the most important to restore your cortisol to healthy levels. No amount of exercise, mindfulness or supplements can help if you are not getting 8 hours of quality sleep and rest. While it is challenging to clock in this number of hours of sleep a day, you can adopt sleep strategies that allow you to get quality sleep and make up for sleep debt accrued along the week. Sleeping in on weekends helps to pay off sleep debt. If you do not have the luxury to sleep in, take power naps on the weekends to recharge. Sleeping 1 hour before midnight will help you fall asleep better and wake up feeling more refreshed.
Supplements and minerals that support quality sleep
If you have trouble falling asleep at night, introducing magnesium to your nutrition can help you relax and combat insomnia naturally. Add more magnesium-rich foods just as almonds, spinach and dark chocolate to your snack and meals. If food sourced magnesium is not sufficient for you, consider taking magnesium supplements.
Additionally, try these to tackle that weight gain
Taking steps to reduce cortisol is the best long term strategy to tackle cortisol influenced weight gain. You can look leaner, more toned and less puffy with some products that you can apply directly on your body.
Herbal supplement cream for unexplained weight gain
Try Meditrina Ageless Herbal Cream as a natural, botanical alternative to progesterone cream and hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Apply it once or twice a day on your lower back (where your adrenal glands are) and lower abdomen as part of your daily wellness routine. Geranium oil supports better quality, less disturbed sleep and the combination of the ingredients help to boost higher energy levels. Another popular way of usage is to use it as a massage cream, replacing commonly used massage oils or creams which do not have therapeutic effects.
Fat burning lotions and water-retention reducing oils
Improve your body’s metabolism of excess fats around the tummy and thighs with bSoul Hydra Active Mud. Fuscus Extract, a type of seaweed, metabolizes fats, while Methyl Nicotinate improves micro-circulation. Cortisol can increase water retention in your body, make you look puffy and add numbers to the weighing scale. Increase microcirculation and reduce water retention with 2 drops of bSoul Sublime Cell Oil a day. Like any of the body products we recommended, Sublime Cell Oil can be used during a body massage or applied after a bath.