Women’s Health

Reducing Cortisol Levels Can Help You To Lose Weight

It is now known that stress can actually stop you losing weight especially around your middle. Stress can cause your body to secrete high levels of cortisol hormone into your bloodstream, because of your body’s “flight or fight” response to stress. Stress can be either psychological (mental and emotional) or physical.

Cortisol is secreted by the adrenal glands and is actually important for the regulation of blood pressure, the immune system and many other functions. Cortisol can be good in small amounts but high levels can lead to an increase of abdominal fat, which can lead to heart attacks, strokes and can also increase your bad cholesterol levels and decrease your good cholesterol levels.

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High levels of cortisol can also decrease your bone density, leading to osteoporosis and loss of muscle tissue, which will also slow down your metabolic rate, and it can also increase your blood pressure along with other problems.

Each of you will react differently to stress; some of you will produce more cortisol to a particular stress while others will produce less. It has been found that those of you that produce more cortisol will actually eat more food as well, in particular carbohydrates.

What you need to do to combat producing too much cortisol is to learn ways to relax and also to maybe change your lifestyle.

Relaxation can be achieved in a number of ways either by exercising, mediation, yoga or breathing to start with.

Maybe one of the easiest and simplest ways is breathing. This is done by gently breathing in through the nose, gently expanding your abdomen and then gently expelling the air through your nose pulling in your abdomen at the same time. Whilst breathing out the air you need to focus on that breath. After several breaths in and out you should start to feel yourself relax. You need to practice doing this exercise a few minutes a day to start with building up to five minutes in the end. You can also practice this when you are feeling stressed or when things are getting on top of you. Just a few minutes can slow your body down and help it to feel relax.

Life style changes can be like changing your eating habits for a healthier diet, getting enough sleep, or even organizing your time more efficiently so that you do not feel so stressed. Also looking after your body will help your body to cope with stresses that you come across during your day.

So if you are exercising frequently and eating properly but still not losing any weight especially from around the middle then maybe you are suffering from high levels of cortisol caused by stress. Look at ways to solve the problem and hopefully then you should see a difference in your weight and around your middle.

Weight Training To Lose Weight

Weight gain is a lot easier as you grow older particularly as the motivation to exercise also wanes, but you can turn it around it does not matter how old you are. You should start to weave some sort of exercise into your daily life.

One type of exercise that you should consider to do is weight training, also known as strength training or resistance training. Weight training will not only help with losing weight but will also trim and tone your body. Age does not matter it has been shown that women as old as 70 who have started to weight train and have improved their body strength within a very short while.

Weight training is an important element in fighting flab; maybe it is the most important. If you do aerobic exercise you only burn fat during the exercise but with weight training you burn fat even when you have finished. The body is still burning fat for up to as much as twelve hours after finishing the exercise whilst it is building the muscles worked, so you can still be burning fat while you are resting. But that is not the end of the story.

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A body full of muscle uses far more calories than a body full of fat, so you will find that you will need to eat more to maintain your weight and your muscle. You do not need to worry that you will bulk up like a body builder, as you do not have the right makeup to do this, as a woman you will only elongate and define your muscles, and build lean muscles.

When you first start to weight train you might find that your weight will actually increase. This is because muscle is heavier than fat but as muscle is smaller so you should notice the body getting smaller even if the scales do not show an decrease in weight.

The additional benefits from weight training are:-

1. It helps to strengthen and increase the density of your bones because the act of the muscles pulling and flexing the bones helps to lay down more bone fibre.

2. Stronger muscles helps your body to be more steady and so helps to prevent falls.

3. It has also been found that it can fight the build up of abdominal fat by lifting weights at least twice a week.

Finally when weight training make sure that you change your routine around so that the body can not get use to the routine. It only takes the body about six weeks for it to learn how to work efficiently if keeping to the same routine and therefore you will stop seeing any weight or body changes.

So have fun and start weight training to lose weight and tone your body.

The Modern Woman’s Guide