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Stress: Is It Sabotaging Your Ability To Burn Fat?

Stress is not just a state of mind, it triggers chemical changes in the body that have detrimental effects on your health & your waistline.

Stress is your bodies natural defense mechanism, also known as the fight or flight response. Its goal is to protect you in life threatening situations.

Our bodies interpret all stressful situations in the same way; by releasing the stress hormone, cortisol. Maybe you re triggered by a stressful meeting or deadline at work that has your body feeling defensive. Or maybe you are in a tough afternoon commute home where your stuck in traffic, dealing with frustrating drivers, and your road rage is in full swing. Back in the days of our primal ancestors, humans were not at the top of the food chain; so it could have been a common situation that they were running away from a lion that wanted to eat them.

While we may see a tremendous distinction now between being stuck in traffic and running from a lion, our body responds the exact same way, releasing cortisol!

Stress can have detrimental consequences on our overall health and our bodies ability to burn fat. Here are 5 sneaky ways that stress is sabotaging your health-

1. Our Waistline Suffers

High levels of cortisol are shown to lead to a lower metabolism. Cortisol in your blood stream stimulates the process of breaking down macronutrients into glucose for energy (to run away from that lion). If that energy is not utilized by increased physical expenditure (running aways from that lion), then it gets stored as fat, primarily in the abdomen region.

Reaching for the bite of comfort food when your stressed is also common, usually in the form of a high fat, high sugar carbohydrate snack. The high fat/high carb combo tricks your body into minimizing the feelings of distress. I am looking at your cupcake cravings! Stress can promote emotional eating to manage the stressful feelings, which can lead to weight gain.

2.Wrecks Your Gut Health

Stress hormones including cortisol limit the production of stomach acids, which inhibits your bodies ability to digest the food you eat. This can cause stomach cramps, gas and bloating. When your body is not digesting foods properly, it's also not absorbing the nutrients from the food you eat. So much for all that meal planning!

Your gut is made up of more than 70% of our immune system. When gut health is diminished from stress hormones, our bodies have a harder time keeping us healthy. Chronic stress leads to a weakened immune system.

3. Ruins Sleep

Increased levels of cortisol in your blood stream affects your ability to unplug and rest , as humans are designed to do. Stress being the fight or flight response is the exact opposite of sleep and rest.

High and consistent levels of cortisol in your body can lead to trouble falling asleep, restless tossing and turning, and waking frequently throughout the night. The crazy thing is that a lack of sleep can also raise your cortisol levels. You just cant win in the sleep category when your body is feeling stressed. Lack of sleep also messes with other metabolism related hormones, more on this in a future article)

4. Love Life

Cortisol suppresses your bodies natural sex hormones. Low sex hormones means lower libido and getting the juices flowing, if you know what I mean.

When you experience chronic stress you also probably not feeling too good about yourself in general. Maybe you are feeling bloated, maybe you are tired, maybe you feel a little fluffy. All of these things are a recipe for not feeling good about your body. A negative body image does not help in the love life department.

Ok- take a deep breath! This all sounds pretty crappy doesn't it? But I wouldn't just let you leave here without some hacks to help you manage that stress.

1. Breathe- give your body a break and just breath. Deep breaths in and out will calm you down quickly and help your body get back to normal.

2. Laugh- a little laughter can go a long way in lowering levels of the stress hormone.

3. Get Outside- go for a walk and allow yourself to focus on the environment around you. Not only will the movement help ease the stress but being in nature is found to have a tremendous impact on your ability to cope with stress. Bonus points for soaking up some vitamin D, which is also found to help lower stress and boost your mood. It also helps increase your NEAT so you can burn more calories.

4. Unplug- with the reminders of stress all around us, all day, with our phones, computers and gadgets, it's important to unplug. Unplug from the news, the social media feeds and the emails. The constant stimulation is a big factor in the amount of stress you feel on a daily basis.

5. Remove stressful events- this one sounds easier than it is. All of these hacks help you manage stress, but the best way to manage stress it to limit the amount of stress in your life. I help my clients recognize the root causes of their stress and identify ways to eliminate or adjust those root causes.


Ready to learn more about managing and removing stress & finding more ways to relax so you can improve your metabolism? I teach women how to actually lose weight & ditch yoyo diets so they can get real, sustainable results & find freedom from food. You can be one of them! Learn how to actually lose weight & ditch yoyo diets by clicking here!


The information in this presentation is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Milan Lekay, 2019

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