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We see it all the time, people who push themselves in the gym relentlessly, but the numbers on the scales won’t budge. Despite their hectic lives, dedication to fitness and huge self discipline, some of them consistently fail to lose weight. The reason? STRESS!

Do you need some down time?

People don’t realise that almost all we do in our daily lives places stress on our body, whether that be working out hard at the gym, getting the tube to work or staying up late to meet that deadline. All of this causes the body to produce the stress hormone cortisol. Normally this is fine provided there are also periods of rest. If however people have no down time, levels of cortisol remain high, and that will affect your weight negatively.

Cortisol and the effects on your body

As well as causing fat gain, especially around the stomach, chronically elevated cortisol levels also lead to muscle loss, a less effective immune system and slower recovery from injury; studies show that cortisol can even inhibit thyroid function. This lowers the metabolism, and can prevent weight loss and lead to weight gain.

The main reason some people gather more fat around their middle than others, is specifically because of cortisol. Our bodies have evolved to produce short bursts of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol when we are in danger, to give our body energy in the form of high levels of blood sugar. However, our bodies can’t distinguish between late trains or missed appointments and being chased by wild animals. This keeps the stress hormone producing cortisol, so the extra energy is deposited as fat around our middle. In addition, cortisol in the blood increases your appetite, particularly for carbohydrates, fat and sugar, which makes you lay down even more fat.

De-stress and lose more! Here’s how……

  • 10-15 minutes of pilates, yoga or stretching before bed.
  • Use a foam roller once a week to iron out tight fascia & muscle knots.
  • Get enough sleep, you need more in winter because the darkness effects your sleep hormones.
  • Keep a gratitude diary. Every night, write down three things that have gone well and that you are grateful for. Focusing on positive events and feelings has been clinically proved to reduce stress and elevate mood.
  • Eat plenty of healthy fats, such as fish oil, to keep cortisol in check.

If you would like to know what your cortisol levels are like contact one of the Cre8 Fitness team to have your BioSignature test.