Cortisol is our stress hormone – a major player in health and disease. Stressful situations can be good or bad. In each case a release of cortisol is triggered. Cortisol is a catabolic hormone, resulting in the breakdown of tissue: muscle, fat and even bone tissue and the simultaneous release of glucose in the blood. Such loss of tissue takes place during intense athletic activity but the tissues are restored during rest. However, in the case of persistent stress, elevated cortisol has an anabolic side effect due to the increase of circulating blood glucose and absence of rest periods. Excess glucose under conditions of constant stress is then stored as visceral fat and fat around the middle.
Good stress? or Bad stress?
While the stress of the athlete in training triggers the release of cortisol, this sort of stress is good stress. During recovery there is a chance of muscles regrowth and improvement. Of course with inappropriate levels of workout there is just as much a risk to health. However people with belly fat are not usually athletes. They suffer from bad stress. They have a stressful lifestyle which triggers a constant release of this major stress hormone. Unhealthy lifestyle often takes the form of mental stress which, when combined with unhealthy habits like comfort eating, poor sleep hygiene and no exercise, may well take us down the road of weight gain and the buildup of fat around the internal organs and over the waist.
These days it is almost insulting to say that you need will power to change things around. Forcing yourself into situations that could be more uncomfortable than the one you are already in, is likely to increase this dangerous hormone, not relax it. But luckily for every modern ill there, is usually good support. True, you have to try a few options to find the right one for you and likely spend more money than you spend on your car service. Nutritional advice combined with NLP coaching is one choice you have. Once your goals are clear and the strategies are established you will find yourself in charge of your own stress reduction programme that may include all the things that people keep telling you ‘to try’ but only made you cringe or worse made you angry and more stressed. And with less stress the chain of reaction may well reverse and the belly fat melt away. In any case, working on your body is never wasted.