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What is Cortisol

When you are trying to lose weight, managing chronic stress is more important than ever. Addressing stress levels is key for starting off a new diet plan on the right foot or maintaining one for long-­term success. The main culprit that can stifle your weight loss is cortisol, the stress hormone involved in the body’s “fight or flight” response.

Cortisol is produced in the adrenal glands and is naturally released into the bloodstream. Under stressful situations, cortisol goes into overdrive and floods the system with glucose and elevates the blood sugar level.

Elevated cortisol levels slow metabolism and attack muscle mass. Ongoing elevated cortisol levels result in the cells being starved for glucose, which signal your brain that you are hungry. In turn, people tend to have sugar and carbohydrate cravings that leads to overeating.

Fight the Stress (and fat)

We know that stress can be exhausting and wreak havoc on your whole body. If you are attempting to lose weight, it is a deal breaker. It is common for people to feel stressed out over the weight loss process and starting a new diet. After all, it is the beginning of a new lifestyle change!

Since some stress is inevitable, it is very important to find ways to manage stress and allow yourself the best possible chance to become healthy and lose weight.

Here are some helpful tips to empower yourself and combat stress:

1. Get a good night’s sleep! Aim for at least 8 hours a night and keep your bedtime consistent. Check out our Pinterest board for more sleeping tips.

2. Daily exercise. No surprise here ­ exercise is great for everything!

3. Yoga. Try taking a class or getting an at­home DVD or yoga app.

4. Meditation. Even five minutes a day has been shown to decrease stress levels.

5. Stretching. This is a must if you work in an office environment. Try taking a break and stretch your muscles.

6. Preparation. To-­do lists, organization, and having healthy food available will make you feel less anxious and more relaxed.

7. Calming nightly routines (reading, taking a bath with scented oils, etc).

8. Journaling. Many people find this cathartic and insert this into their daily routine.

9. Try using a device such as a Jawbone or FitBit to keep track of your sleep and exercise. If you are a visual person, these are especially great for motivation.

Did we miss anything? How do you combat stress? Let us know your tips to fight stress and lose weight!

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