High cortisol levels can increase food intake and promote weight gain. Diet changes, managing stress and sleeping more can normalize cortisol production which will help with weight loss.
The Healthy Nest Philosophy
At Healthy Nest’s natural weight loss philosophy centers around finding “your best diet.” The goal is for our clients to lose one to two pounds per week. But, sometimes it doesn’t go according to plan, and weight stubbornly stays in place. Then what do we do? Well, we look to other factors such as stress and hormone imbalances. Sometimes, we find it’s the hormone cortisol that’s the culprit.
Stubborn Weight Loss Because of Hormone Imbalance
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’re always stressed, the hormone is chronically elevated which can lead to overeating and middle weight gain (think muffin top!). This could be caused by actual stress in your lives or perceived stress. Also, it could be internal body stress like a sprained ankle or external stress like a difficult 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.
Nutrition therapy is helpful here because when you have ongoing stress, you’re depleting nutrients that we need for proper body function. Your food choices can help your body balance or exaggerate the imbalance. Sugar-laden breakfasts, for example, further stress your body, while a protein-rich breakfast helps smooth over stress.
Your food and targeted supplementation will replenish needed nutrients. Also, you can soothe the stress with calming foods as well as a few important lifestyle changes.
Suspicious that you might have a cortisol imbalance? Try an experiment by subbing out cereal or other sugary breakfast in the AM for a protein-rich smoothie to start your day. That way, your mornings are not internally stressful. It helps!
Favorite Healthy Nest Nutrition Protein-Rich Smoothie Idea
Creamy Chocolate Shake
(modified from Danielle Walker)
This healthy shake tastes a bit like a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup. Yum! Simply blend all of the ingredients together and enjoy.
8 ounces of almond milk
½ cup of crushed ice
1 ripe banana
1 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
2 tbsp. almond butter
2 tbsp.. ground hemp
1 tsp. cinnamon to taste