I’d like to welcome you to Day 9 of my 14 Days of Fat Loss Series! We are going to start to transition from the food and behavior portion of weight loss (which I go deeper into in my F4L Diva Slim Down) and discuss more about Functional Medicine, Functional Nutrition, and Naturopathic work.
There is often a lot to uncover when you are trying to lose weight besides the actual process of shifting your body to burn fat. Emotional eating, binge eating, food addiction, and compulsive eating are just some of the underlying issues that can be revealed when we are trying to adhere to a healthy nutrition plan. What I often find is that stress is the source or the fuel behind destructive food behaviors such as the ones I just listed. So let’s talk about stress. Cortisol is the bodies primary stress hormone. Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands which sit on top of the kidneys, and are located within your lower back. Low back pain can sometimes be linked to your adrenal glands due to stress.
When you think Cortisol you want to think about your response to anything stressful within the context of, fight, flight, or freeze. So if you are in the zoo and the tiger gets loose, your brain instructs your adrenals to release cortisol, and cortisol begins a very efficient process of providing you a huge surge of energy. It is this energy that will allow you to run as fast as you can in the case of the escaped tiger, or possibly fight the tiger off, or possibly freeze behind a bush in hope that the tiger won’t find you. So what does this have to do with losing fat?
If you have been watching my earlier videos within the series, you will be aware of the fact that sugar consumption causes weight gain. The reason sugar consumption causes weight gain is because consuming sugar will increase the amount of sugar in your blood, which will increase your fat storing hormone (insulin), which will then shift your body into fat storing instead of fat burning (for hours at a time).
The way cortisol gives you that surge of energy to escape, fight, or hide from the tiger is by releasing sugar from within your own body (specifically from your liver or possibly from your muscles). Releasing sugar from within your body into your blood stream and consuming sugar both kick-start the same FAT STORING PROCESS. Your blood sugar increases, your fat storing hormone (insulin) increases, and you have now shifted to storing fat.
“Now Tiffany, that’s all fine and well, but being chased by Tigers is not a concern of mind.” This is very true, fortunately for us, life and death scenarios such as being eaten by a tiger are rare. What is unfortunate however, is the fact that our body sees stress as stress regardless of whether it is real (Tiger), or perceived (Work Deadlines, Stuck in Traffic, etc.).
I cannot emphasize to you how important this point is. Stress makes you fat. Whether your stress is emotional, physical, physiological, hormonal, mental, or any combination thereof, your body will respond specifically with not only fat, but fat around the mid-section. In fact, the major difference between our Tiger example and what you experience on a day to day is the fact that tigers should not be causing you chronic stress.
It’s not that all stress is bad, it’s that perpetual stress is bad. Stress is supposed to come and go but for many of us, we stay stressed day in and day out for weeks to months at a time, working 40 to 60 hours a week. Perpetual stress, leads to perpetual sugar exposure, that leads to a number of other problems.
Depression, fatigue, low sex drive, trouble concentrating, and abdominal weight gain are just a few of the symptoms of a body that is stressed.
So what is a Diva to do if she falls within this category? What I will tell you first, is what not to do. If this is you, exercise that falls within the category of high intensity or long bouts of aerobic activity (i.e. running or jogging) are not the best use of your time. You are going to want to do slow, less intense, mindful exercise in order to decrease your stress. You are going to want to incorporate lifestyle skills or hacks that help you with managing stress, increasing or improving sleep, and appropriate responses to stress when it occurs.
If you feel like this speaks to you, comment on this blog post or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org as Adrenal Fatigue is something I can help you overcome naturally.