Are you stressed on a daily basis? Are you gaining weight or having a hard time losing excess weight? You may not realize it, but these two problems are connected. Earlier this month we explained the basics of Why Stress Leads to Weight Gain. Now that we understand the source of the problem, it’s important to figure out how to fix the problem, reduce stress levels, lower cortisol levels, and work towards reversing it’s effects.
In this article we’ll give you some tips on how to reduce cortisol levels for weight loss, and start looking and feeling like yourself again. Our endocrinologists explain 5 habits that you can add to your daily routine to reduce stress levels; lowering your cortisol levels and improving your weight loss efforts.
Reduce Stress and Lower Cortisol Levels with These 5 Daily Habits
1. Take a Walk or Some Light Exercise
Our bodies are built to move. Unfortunately, most of us are now mostly stationary throughout the entire day. We don’t have far to travel for food. We don’t have to exert much energy to get to and from work, or anywhere else we have to go. Many of us work in office settings where we sit in a chair and get very little exercise throughout the day.
Add this up, along with increased stress and higher cortisol levels that store extra energy even when very little energy is being exerted, and it’s the perfect formula for fast weight gain.
Getting the body moving throughout the day with low impact, low stress exercises is a great way to keep your cortisol levels, and extra pounds, in check. The movement helps with blood circulation and burns some of the excess energy currently being stored as fat, while also lowering your overall cortisol levels.
2. Eat A Healthy Breakfast
Starting your day off with the right foods can play a major role in how your body operates throughout the day. Your body is fasting while you sleep, but it’s also fulfilling some metabolic needs like cell growth and repair. This is why cortisol levels are often the highest when you wake up.
Providing the body with a filling, nutritious breakfast will give it the nutrients it needs to lower cortisol levels, while also giving it the proper energy it needs to fuel itself throughout the entire day.
3. Eliminate Caffeine
Most people believe they need caffeine in the morning and through out the day to increase and maintain their energy levels throughout the day. Unfortunately, caffeine increases stress hormones, including cortisol and insulin, which leads to inflammation and other side effects that keep your body from working optimally.
As mentioned in step 2, if you provide your body with the fuel it needs – a great breakfast – it will create the enough energy to get you through the day, eliminating the “need” for caffeine as a daily energy source, as well as unnecessary stress hormones and inflammation in the body.
A large amount of chronic stress can come from constantly worrying about what has happened (the past), and worrying about what will happen (the future).
Recent studies have shown that meditation can actually lower cortisol levels by helping you focus on the present, what’s happening right now, rather than the things that have happened or might happen. By focusing on the present, you’re going to feel more in control and reduce unnecessary worrying about things that you can’t change or have to wait to change.
Yoga also helps you be more present. In our Weigh Less for Way Less complete weight loss program, we educate our members on the benefits and effects of Yoga, therapeutic massage, and other adjunct services that help lower stress and reduce cortisol levels.
5. Get 8 Hours of Sleep
Our bodies and minds need time to rest, and getting the proper amount of sleep has proven to reduce cortisol levels.
If you’re only getting 4, or even 6 hours of sleep, your body’s stress response is being affected, resulting in increased cortisol levels and eventual weight gain. Sleep deprivation puts unnecessary stress on the mind and body, while also depriving it from being able to recover from past stress and inflammation. If you’re going to put your body through excessive amounts of stress on a daily basis, it’s in your best interest to give it the proper amount of recovery time so it can do it’s best to repair and prepare for the next day.
Change Your Life By Changing Your Daily Habits
If you’re serious about losing weight then we highly recommend you pay more attention to your daily habits. Start by being more aware of your daily stress and cortisol levels which have a direct impact on how your body and stores and uses energy.
If you follow the 5 tips above we’re confident you’ll begin to see a drastic decrease in stress levels. If you’re interested taking your weight loss efforts to the next level, we recommend you request an appointment with one of our endocrinologists who can help you create a personalized approach to weight loss or contact us to get more information our Weigh Less for Way Less program.
We look forward to helping you look and feel like yourself again.