Hey Simple && Sweeties,
I know, I’m no doctor, but the health wisdom I’m about to spread may be the reason you’re living an amazingly healthy lifestyle and still not losing weight.
Cortisol WAS(/IS if I’m being honest with myself) my fat hoarding goblin.
No matter how much rabbit food I subbed for cheeseburgers, how early I’d wake up to squeeze in extra hours of cardio, how mindful I was about my steps, macros, etc, I was still at a plateau.
I recently stopped doing my crazy intensive 3 hour workouts, consuming a cow’s weight in protein, eat every 20 mins regimen because of a Wanderlust Speakeasy about The Goldilocks Approach to Everything. (def watch later && it’s available in the podcast section of iTunes for free)
In a nutshell, the Goldilocks Approach means you are constantly trying things to the extreme and then try something underwhelming which inevitably leaves you with a middle ground that will pleasantly fulfill your needs, no more no less.
Essentially, do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.
So, what the hell is Cosrtisol, and why did you just explain your workout regimen in the form of a bedtime story?
Don’t worry, I haven’t begun a long winded tangent. This will all tie in, scouts honor.
First things first, cortisol.
Cortisol is often referred to as your stress hormone. It affects this area in your brain called the amygdala that controls your response to stress. Heard of “fight or flight”? That’s the part of the brain that deals with this hormone. It determines how much a situation stresses you out and how to cope.
More cortisol=more perceived stress.
Have I lost anyone?
Think back to the last time you were already stressed out over something major. You’re so bogged down in your stress-rut that when something trivial like a fly buzzing by your head set you off in a mess of anxiety. In your “hormone sober” state, it would have been a non-issue. Well, since your body had quite a bit of cortisol, it pushed you over the edge of that logical/emotional boundary.
Hormones can be little goblins can’t they!?
Alright, so now I can just hear you guys asking, how does this tie into your Goldilocks’ workout routine?
Would y’all believe me if I told you, I have finally started losing weight?
Yeah, I cut back my daily gym time, continued to eat healthy, and shrunk.
I wasn’t trying to gain muscle to start with and gained no weight while busting my butt eating protein, so I doubt this is muscle weight. However, this “magical” phenomenon I thought was just luck is actually backed by science.
Get this, prolonged exposure to high levels of cortisol sometimes manifest as a fatty neck, face, and torso with thin legs. Guess where my problem areas were! Look it up, it’s called Cushing’s Disease (which is extreme, but comes from adrenal issues and high cortisol which can still happen to a mild degree in ‘healthy’ adults with bad habits)
When I stopped getting up at 5am, I allowed myself to sleep more. When I skipped my protein-laden midafternoon snack and substituted it for yoga or meditation, I de-stressed and consumed fewer calories. When I cut out running (which I hated to begin with), I lowered my cortisol (more about this bit later).
According to Dr. Sara Gotfried, who I have to give mad respect to as my main source for this article btw, cortisol is like you’re bad ex-boyfriend. You know the ex, the one who was so exciting and took you to do scandalous things, that you knew better than to do but did anyway, at 2am.
You needed a little of this guy to understand good and bad situations; but have too much, and he’d wreck your life.
Things That Raise Cortisol Levels:
HIIT type exercise
(anything under 8 hours is harming your adrenal glands btw)
Grains && Sugar
Wine && Alcohol
(yeah, that daily glass of red wine before bed, though great for putting you to sleep, deprives your adrenal glands of a full reparative sleep cycle)
Skipping a Meal
Low Fiber Diet
(Veggies && Fruits have a lot of fiber…just saying)
&& the list goes on and on unfortunately,
*insert a plethora of stressful activities here*
Forms of exercise are on this list?! I know, I’m not lying to you.
Let me clarify. The things on the list are not supposed to be repetitively overdone.
HIIT type cardio is healthy, but not 6 days a week. That stresses your body out.
Going running a couple of miles a few days out of the week won’t make you fat, but it’s the idea that you need to run everyday for an excessive number of miles in order to drop 20lbs in a month that will subject you to unhealthy cortisol levels.
Pulling an all-nighter won’t ruin your weight loss, but only getting 5-6 hours every night could.
“Ok, so high levels of cortisol=bad. Got that, now what?” -you
Like I mentioned before, cortisol is a goblin hormone for weight gain and a generally stressful life. I understand a lower level of cortisol won’t lower your monthly payments, make your classes easier, nor will it remove stressful things from your life.
However, lowering your cortisol is worth the effort.
Don’t believe this blogger, check this credible source out later, because I need to tell you what practices actually work before I lose you!
Here is a list of really awesome things you can incorporate into your life that’ll lower cortisol!
&& they’re actually fun-ish!
Healthy Things That Kick Cortisol
Playing with a Pet
Carbs… from natural sources
(Yes, have a potato every once and a while, but don’t have a fear of the carbs in fruit! Those carbs are the healthiest.)
(The higher the cacao count, the better)
Nadi Shodhana / Alternate Nostril Breathing
(Link to Nadi Shodhana Technique and more…..but seriously guys, don’t forget to slow down for a minute && just breathe)
Listening to Music with Fewer than 100 BPM
(you knew this one was coming haha)
Boosting your oxytocin, the “love hormone”
(You can do this by just hugging. 8 hugs a day is recommended. && Fun Fact: men need to be hugged 3x longer than women to have the same effect.
Hugging, Cuddling, Laughing…& Sex are great oxytocin boosters)
Black Tea before 4pm
Flax && Fish for your Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Baths with Magnesium Bath Salts
Find a way to adopt these things into your life, and you’ll notice bad days aren’t so bad, the little details make you happier, and things will start falling into place where the weight plateau is concerned.
Seriously, just a little self TLC is enough to keep your perceived stress levels lower.
Why not do something about it and reevaluate? What makes you happy?
Do a little more of what works and a little less of what doesn’t.
I really hope you found this blog post Simple && Sweet. Share it with friends && family on the sharing is sexy area below! I really want to give you all quality things to read, so tell me what you think! Leave a comment, or snap me: sarah.berlanga1
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