It is now known that stress can actually stop you losing weight especially around your middle. Stress can cause your body to secrete high levels of cortisol hormone into your bloodstream, because of your body’s „flight or fight“ response to stress. Stress can be either psychological (mental and emotional) or physical.
Cortisol is secreted by the adrenal glands and is actually important for the regulation of blood pressure, the immune system and many other functions. Cortisol can be good in small amounts but high levels can lead to an increase of abdominal fat, which can lead to heart attacks, strokes and can also increase your bad cholesterol levels and decrease your good cholesterol levels.
High levels of cortisol can also decrease your bone density, leading to osteoporosis and loss of muscle tissue, which will also slow down your metabolic rate, and it can also increase your blood pressure along with other problems.
Each of you will react differently to stress; some of you will produce more cortisol to a particular stress while others will produce less. It has been found that those of you that produce more cortisol will actually eat more food as well, in particular carbohydrates.
What you need to do to combat producing too much cortisol is to learn ways to relax and also to maybe change your lifestyle.
Relaxation can be achieved in a number of ways either by exercising, mediation, yoga or breathing to start with.
Maybe one of the easiest and simplest ways is breathing. This is done by gently breathing in through the nose, gently expanding your abdomen and then gently expelling the air through your nose pulling in your abdomen at the same time. Whilst breathing out the air you need to focus on that breath. After several breaths in and out you should start to feel yourself relax. You need to practice doing this exercise a few minutes a day to start with building up to five minutes in the end. You can also practice this when you are feeling stressed or when things are getting on top of you. Just a few minutes can slow your body down and help it to feel relax.
Life style changes can be like changing your eating habits for a healthier diet, getting enough sleep, or even organizing your time more efficiently so that you do not feel so stressed. Also looking after your body will help your body to cope with stresses that you come across during your day.
So if you are exercising frequently and eating properly but still not losing any weight especially from around the middle then maybe you are suffering from high levels of cortisol caused by stress. Look at ways to solve the problem and hopefully then you should see a difference in your weight and around your middle.