Hello SOTGC community,
I am sure that many of you are interested in knowing how you can keep a trim tummy – me too (although I must say that it has taken on a whole new meaning for me now that I am 21 weeks pregnant!)
You’ve all heard time and time again that eating too much (including indulging in a few too many cocktails…sorry to be a party pooper and remind you of this on the brink of a holiday weekend) and a lack of exercise can cause you to gain weight around your middle. But did you know there is more to it than that? Here’s the skinny on preventing that dreaded pooch:
First we need to talk fat. Excess fat around your midsection is called visceral fat, and this is the most troublesome kind of fat to have, and not just because it makes it harder to do up your pants. This is not the kind of fat that causes that “roll” that you can hang on to (that’s subcutaneous fat). Visceral fat actually accumulates deep within your abdominal cavity, surrounds your organs, and causes chronic inflammation, all of which lead to conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, weakened immunity, and cancer.
The good news is that visceral fat (and subcutaneous fat too) can be very responsive to some of the tried and true approaches to weight loss, namely diet and exercise.
But what if you haven’t had much success? Did you know that you could be overlooking one big factor that may be undermining your efforts? I’m here to tell you that one of the possible culprits just might be your level of stress.
Let me explain the basics:
When you get stressed, your adrenal glands release a hormone called cortisol. This is one of the many things your body does to prepare itself for a fight or flight response. In a true life-threatening situation this is a good thing; however, most of the time your stress is not related to a life or death scenario – it’s usually just the day-to-day challenges of everyday life that can get the best of you.
This chronic type of stress that many of you endure can keep cortisol levels elevated, and this can interfere with your metabolism.
And when you add a diet that contains a lot of high-glycemic foods (those that cause more rapid spikes in your blood sugar, such as foods made from white sugar/white flour, and many others), you’ve got double-trouble…the spikes and subsequent crashes in your blood sugar levels also affect the release of cortisol.
So, if you really want to lose weight, and keep that spare tire from finding a new home around your belly, be sure that you are incorporating some stress-management practices into your daily life (some options might include a warm bath, a walk outside, yoga, or meditation).
Not only will a balanced mind help you make healthier food choices (and hopefully keep you from caving to stress-related munchies), it just might help you see that you do indeed have abs under there!