Researchers have found that women who stored their excess fat in the abdominal area had higher cortisol levels and reported more lifestyle stress than women who stored fat primarily in the hips. High cortisol levels can increase food intake and promote weight gain, especially in women. First, let’s talk about what it actually is.
So, what is cortisol anyway?
Cortisol is a hormone in the body produced by the adrenal glands. It’s known as the “stress hormone” because it’s released when the body senses stress. It’s actually a really important one for survival and is involved in the flight or fight response of your body during acute stress moments.
If you often operate in a stressful state, the hormone is dramatically elevated and can lead to overeating and middle weight gain. This could be caused by actual stress in your life or perceived stress. Also, it could be internal body stress like an injury or external stress like a challenging day at work. According to the scientific research on abdominal weight and stress, women are especially impacted by stress moments because their bodies have a greater reaction to the cortisol release.
How this can be fixed
Get on the Protein Train
Consuming an adequate amount of protein is extremely important. Dietary protein provides essential amino acids that your body can’t make on its own and must be consumed every day in order to maintain muscle, bone and skin health. In addition, protein influences the release of hormones that control appetite and food intake.
What’s more, participants’ hunger ratings decreased by 25% more after the high-protein meal compared to the normal-protein meal.
In another study, women who consumed a diet containing 30% protein experienced an increase in GLP-1 and greater feelings of fullness than when they ate a diet containing 10% protein. To optimize hormone health, experts recommend consuming a minimum of 20–30 grams of protein per meal.
Start Moving Different
Physical activity can strongly influence hormonal health. A major benefit of exercise is its ability to reduce insulin levels and increase insulin sensitivity. It’s important to switch up your physical activity so that your body doesn’t get use it and adjust, thus making it a routine. Change it up and stay consistent.
Insulin is a hormone that has several functions. One is allowing cells to take up sugar and amino acids from the bloodstream, which are then used for energy and maintaining muscle.
However, a little insulin goes a long way. Too much can be