So you’re stressed out;
Maybe because you are stuck in Lagos traffic, late to a meeting. Asuu suddenly called off the strike and you are not ready for exams. Or economic depression and the rising cost of food in Nigeria.
Your brain send out an Instruction;
Whatever it is that is getting you stressed your brain instructs your cells to prepare for survival. Your adrenaline glands then releases a hormone called cortisol in excess.
Cortisol is a stress hormone that adapts your body to fight or flee from stressful situations.
Now you have a sudden burst of energy to sit through that traffic and hustle through work
Cortisol, good stress fighter but sugar and fat lover.
Now cortisol is in charge, you need him to help you through Lagos stress. but the set of instructions cortisol gives your body is terrible for weight loss. cortisol demands the body to
- Release blood sugar, body needs energy to fight
As cortisol is released, it travels through the blood stream and converts amino acids into glucose, blood sugars are needed for active action mode during stressful situation.
- Store fat close by, we may need it.
When your cortisol levels remain high, your body thinks it is going through a hardship and that it may starve.
If we are not active under stress, the blood sugar activated by Cortisol is stored in the Mid-tummy section. because the body believes there is starvation in stress and fat in the mid section is easily accessible
- Your hungry get some food;
A surge of Stress hormone cortisol tells your body to replenish that energy, this happens even though you have not used up many calories. This makes you hungry…very hungry. And your body keeps on pumping out that cortisol as long as the stress continues.
Then we reach for sweet, salty and high fat foods because they stimulate the brain to release pleasure chemicals and reduce stress.High blood sugar caused by the stress hormone increases our sugar cravings.
It’s a rat race – (stress –high cortisol- high blood sugar – insulin to store excess sugar as fat)
If you’re consuming a diet high in sugar, flour, or grains that break down into sugar, you’re storing even more fat readily
Managing Cortisol levels when stressed;
Get the Right Amount of Sleep ; Timing, length and quality of sleep all influence cortisol. Keep a consistent sleep schedule, avoid caffeine in the evening, avoid sleep interruptions and get seven to eight hours of sleep daily to keep cortisol in a normal rhythm.
Exercise, but Not Too Much: this helps burn off the excess sugar, but overdoing it adds stress and increases Cortisol levels
Learn to Recognize Stressful Thinking Stressful thoughts are an important signal for cortisol release. By focusing on awareness of your mental and physical state, you can become an objective observer of your stressful thoughts, instead of a victim of them
Learn to Relax; For example, listening to music for 30 minutes reduced cortisol levels in 88 male and female college students compared to 30 minutes of silence or viewing a documentary
Have Fun; another way to keep cortisol down is simply to be happy Activities that increase life satisfaction also improve health and one of the ways they do this may be through controlling cortisol.
Tending to your own happiness will help keep cortisol down. Taking up a hobby, spending time outdoors and laughing can all help.
Maintain Healthy Relationships; Friends and family are a source of great happiness in life, as well as great stress. These dynamics are played out in cortisol levels. Within couples, conflict results in a short-term elevation in cortisol, followed by return to normal levels
Relationships with friends and family can lead to happiness and to stress. Spend time with those you love and learn to forgive and manage conflict for better emotional and physical health.
So there you have it; our hot tip of the week