All roads lead to cortisol…well sort of. What is Cortisol?
Cortisol is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands otherwise known as the stress hormone. It is part of the fight or flight stress response. When stress levels are high cortisol is released into the blood system. In highly stressed bodies this release of cortisol never turns off.
What does Cortisol do & why do we care?
Cortisol governs hunger, cravings, digestion, blood pressure, sleep wake patterns, physical activity & stress.
High Cortisol raises blood sugar
High Cortisol increases blood pressure
High Cortisol modulates inflammation, the precursor to most
High Cortisol is the alarm that never shuts off, thus the Adrenals keep pumping it out and finally you end up in Adrenal Burnout. The feel good neurotransmitters such as Serotonin, Dopamine & norepinephrine get depleted. High cortisol stimulates your appetite and makes you crave sugary, fatty foods.
The bottom line is nothing makes you happy, your exhausted and Cortisol tends to accumulate in the belly so you end up with a fat stomach. Increased belly fat or just being over weight in general increases cortisol and makes it harder for you to lose weight.
Ok back to how to get rid of belly fat, you’ll see how most of it goes back to stress.
How to get Abs
1. Sleep. Lack of sleep leads to increased stress levels. Lack of sleep inhibits the release of Melatonin & Growth Hormone which both secrete at night. Thus cortisol can become high at night. High cortisol leads to belly fat. Lack of sleep also increases the hunger stimulator hormone Ghrelin and suppresses Leptin which tells you when your full. Try to be consistent and get seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Also try not to eat before bed. Leave a window of 3 hours. If your body is busy trying to digest food it cant release growth hormone and other repair hormones, thus you become stressed and depleted and fat. It also interferes with sleep in general.
2. Exercise. Move your body and sweat every day. Do not overtrain!! You body perceives very high intensity exercise as stress. The body perceives over training as stress…and guess what?? That triggers Cortisol. Ever notice if you train too hard you are fatigued and exhausted and weak? That’s stress to your physical body. If you have high Cortisol stay away from very high intensity training. Core training can have a positive effect on belly weight, but not traditional crunches. Things such as planks, forearm planks reverse crunches, back extensions and twists work best. Resistance training ( lifting weights) also reduces over all body fat thus decreasing belly fat. It also doesn’t raise cortisol as much as high intensity cardio or over training cardio. 1 hour or more of cardio has no benefit….but that’s a whole new
3. Diet. Duh! Low carb, high protein, moderate fat. Notice I did not say no carb. Stay around 45% calories from good low glycemic carbs such as oatmeal, quinoa, whole grains, couscous, brown rice,beans & berries. Low glycemic foods are foods that do raise your blood sugar quickly, thus keeping blood sugar levels steady and not raising glucose and cortisol. Increase your fiber intake so things move through your body and don’t get stuck in your gut fermenting and causing bloat. 35% god lean proteins such as chicken , fish ,tofu, eggs & grass fed meats. The rest is healthy fats such as flax, omega3’s, hemp, almond butter & avocado.
4. Some Dairy products such as greek yogurt have been shown to have an positive effect on belly fat. It’s due to calcium. 1200-1500 mg of calcium can decrease abdominal fat and reduce bloating especially during PMS. 2-3 servings of low fat dairy a day such as greek yogurt, yogurt & low fat cheese ( stick to goat or sheep if you can).
CLA has been shown to help reduce body fat.
Calcium 1000-1500 split doses
Probiotics reduces bloating and the bad bacteria in the gut that can lead to some belly
Fiber, if you are not having a bowel movement everyday where do you think everything goes? It accumulates in your gut, releases gases and causes bloating and water
Healthy fats such as Flax, Hemp, coconut, avocados & fatty fish high in omegas 3’s
6. Avoid sugar which spikes you blood sugar levels which again effects cortisol.
7. Reduce your intake of alcohol. You don’t have to cut it out completely but stick to moderate drinking. A few glasses a week. Remember alcohol calories tend to land in the belly, alcohol reduces your will power so you binge and too much alcohol can cause stress levels to go up the next day. Resulting in cravings for fatty, sugary foods. Alcohol also interferes with sleep, which once again raises cortisol!! You know how you wake up in the middle of the night after the alcohol wears off ( yeah I know you do! )
8. Get your hormones checked. Some hormonal imbalances such as Thyroid, can add to increased body fat. This can easily be done with a blood check from a familiar doctor.
9. Relax! Meditation & yoga have been proven to reduce stress levels which lowers cortisol and over all stress of body & mind. Even 10 minutes a day can help.
10. Practice healthy relationships & do not become complacent!!! Being in loving healthy supportive relationships reduces stress and increases the feel good hormones Dopamine & Serotonin. Get rid of relationships that no longer bring you joy. This includes friends and co-workers & as well as love partners. Be in happy healthy, relationships these motivate people to take care of themselves. Do not let everything go just because you are either alone or in secure relationships. It’s not an excuse to to
Get on the road to a healthy life!
Ever wonder how fit people stay fit? There are a few things that we do, like rules, as much as we can. Here are a 10 Fit Girl ( or guy! )secrets. See if you can work some of them into your life!!
1. We put our health first. Getting to bed on time, waking up early to work out or leaving the office to head to the gym. Me time.
2. Don’t skip breakfast. if your not hungry when you wake up just grab a piece of fruit or protein bar to rev up your metabolism. It doesn’t have to be a full on meal but take in 150-200 calories.
3. Keep healthy snacks with you. I always have Quest Bars, an apple or almonds in my bag.
4. Don’t eat until your full. Eat slowly and don’t be afraid to leave food on your plate.
5. Move your body everyday. Exercise in some form every day.
6. We don’t eat late at night or after we’ve eaten dinner. The body needs to repair over night and it can’t do that if it’s busy digesting food. Also food eaten late at night tends to be fattening and sleeping on it will only cause you to gain weight. 12 hours fasting over night.
7. We drink in moderation! Nuff said we just don’t drink a lot.
8. Don’t drink your calories. A calorie is a calorie and often people don’t count the things they drink. Drink mostly water and flavor with lemon. Refer again to rule number 7!
9. We get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can increase your cortisol which cam lead to belly fat.
10. We plan ahead. Meals and workouts. We have a routine 90% of the time.
Which of these can you integrate into your life?
I live in the mecca of health & fitness and believe me in LA if it will make you healthy & skinny we will snort it, drink it, eat it & bathe in it. I Love trying new classes & new products, so when I saw this I was like really??? Here’s the scoop. Activated charcoal is a big trend right now, because it is marketed as a detoxifier. It pulls toxins from the body and therfore has a cleansing effect. I am all about a good cleanse!!! It’s also put in facial masks to pull toxins & oils from the skin. We’ve all done that! We see it in all the magazines & now in our juices.
Truth. Activated Charcoal does pull toxins from the body. It is used medically to stop poisoning. What it does is traps chemicals and toxins like a magnet. It is also found in gas medications to prevent flatulence ( farting)!
Truth. Charcoal cannot distinguish between good chemicals and bad chemicals, thus it will pull everything from the body!! Including good nutrients, vitamins & minerals. Therefore medical experts warn against it…Also a huge counter indication for use is ALCOHOL! You can’t drink & take this stuff. It can also cause constipation ( great)
Enjoy the juices in moderation, but they probably won’t do what you think they will. The amount in these juices is minimal and might remove a few toxins, not harm the body & have a placebo effect. People just feel healthier. In high doses ( some people starting taking pills) you are pulling beneficial nutrients & from your system. Make an informed decision!
P.S. The Juice Served Here Charcoal Lemonade is actually tasty I did sample it for testing purposes. smile emoticon