How to Balance Stress and Get Rid of Belly Fat

Stress is probably the #1 factor in keeping people from losing weight, getting rid of belly fat, and keeping it off. We live in a culture where more is better, busy is better, and you’re not good enough if you don’t keep up. We are in a constant state of worry and anxiety and our bodies can’t keep up with the pressure we put ourselves under. Our health takes a back seat because we have meetings, baseball practice, social functions, etc… Sound familiar? Let’s talk about what you can do to start balancing your stress and start losing that stubborn belly fat.

Let’s start with what stress does to our bodies. When we are under stress our adrenal glands release the hormone cortisol. When cortisol releases it elevates blood glucose so we can fight the bear or run from the tiger. If stress is acute (short-lived) cortisol comes back down, along with glucose and insulin, and our bodies return to homeostasis. But how many of us are fighting bears and running from tigers?

None of us. Instead, we are under low-grade, chronic stress all of the time. When we are in a constant state of stress it creates chronic inflammation and chronically elevated insulin levels. When insulin is chronically elevated we store excess energy in our adipocytes (fat cells) and when cortisol is elevated we store more in our belly fat (visceral fat). The fat cells in your belly have more cortisol receptor sites, so therefore more fat gets stored there. So, if you want to get rid of that unwanted belly fat and nothing else as has changed with your diet and exercise, it’s time to take a look at your stress.

How to Balance Your Stress

Have you heard the saying, “Abs are made in the kitchen?” Your diet has a big effect on your belly. Along with a clean diet, you need lower stress levels and exercise to make the most of your genetics and get the flat belly you want. So where do you start? Let’s start by identifying your biggest stressors. When you start identifying the people and things that stress you out you can start removing or working to reduce the stress they cause. You may realize in this process that there are things you can’t just remove right away.

There may be stressful relationships that need to change, a job, kids, or family situations that are more complicated and require some deeper thought and strategy to approach them. But start with small things that you can change today! Does the news or social media stress you out? Get rid of it! Are there extracurriculars you or your kids are involved in that you could say no to?

Are you someone who over-commits and says ‘yes’ to everything? Say ‘No’. Are you going to bed too late? Go to bed earlier! Do you stare at screens before bed? Cut down on electronics 2 hours before bed! Are you eating too late? Eat sooner so you aren’t going to bed on a full stomach! Are you getting enough sunshine? Get outside in the morning, even for a few minutes to produce Vitamin D, this sets your cortisol rhythm for the rest of the day! These small stressors all raise cortisol, whether you realize it or not, and add up to produce a big problem!

Your Diet

None of this is going to make a difference if we are flooding our bodies with high-inflammatory foods or drinks or if we are sitting all day. We have to look at the whole picture. Our body is a system, everyone has to show up and work together if we want to feel good and look good. This starts with what you put in your mouth! So, eat real food, cook your food, and eat at home.

Drink water, stay away from alcohol, and get up and move! Our bodies weren’t made for fast food and desk jobs. Our bodies were made for exploring, walking, lifting, and adventure. If you feel bad and look bad it’s time to start making some changes. Those changes may seem scary, but you won’t reach your goals unless you take the first step. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.

Many of the women I work with come to me and feel insane because they’ve tried diet, after diet, after diet, and get nowhere or end up where they were before they started. Stop running on the hampster wheel. I can help you customize a nutrition and fitness plan to balance your stress and get rid of that belly fat! Book a FREE call here.

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