"Cortisol is an indirect fat-making hormone; when it releases excess glucose into the blood, this causes abnormally high insulin levels to convert the sugar into fat around the abdominal organs." Dr. Eric Berg.
Chronic low grade cortisol secretion = weight gain. Simple as that and yet so complicated.
I have so many women struggling to lose weight in spite of healthy balanced diets and exercise. These cases are rarely uncomplicated but managing stress and reversing the effects of too much cortisol is the first step and this makes a big difference in your attempts to lose weight.
Here are 5 tips to manage chronic stress and nourish your adrenal glands.
1. Moderate exercise. High intensity exercise can overburden already tired adrenal glands, while mild to moderate exercise allows for endorphin release which can help turn off the HPA (hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis).
2. Breathing exercises are a wonderful way to trick your body into calming down during a stressful time. When we are stressed out we tend to hyperventilate with shallow breathing. Slow, methodical, rhythmic breaths sends a message to your brain that it can stop secreting loads of cortisol because you cannot be running away from a threat if you are breathing normally.
3. Heal the gut. Chronic low grade inflammation emitted from an unhealthy leaky gut will cause constant low grade cortisol (the anti-inflammation hormone) from your adrenals.
4. Meditation is a wonderful way to nourish over taxed adrenal glands and balance cortisol levels. Studies have shown that 20 minutes meditation per day can help reverse the negative health effects of too much cortisol
5. Rest and recover. This is so important. To switch off, rest and recover. This is also so difficult. Our modern lives allows for emails on our phone, intrusion of social media, easy access to everyone via many routes. Try to really switch off when you get home. Put your phone away and switch off your emails. Avoid social media, checking your phone before bed or first thing in the morning. Be where you are, in the moment, be present. Do not divide your attention between home, work, errands, school and everything else. Be where you are, focus on what you are doing and do not let the different spheres that need your attention overlap.
Dr. Chantell Groenewald
M. Tech Hom UJ
Dr. Marike de Klerk