Often gradual weight gain round the middle can be a sign of internal stress in your body. It’s also interesting to note that the word stress was only used as an engineering term up until the late 1930s – no such thing as ‘stress’ beforehand!
The stress response is necessary – but many of us are dealing with an adaptive stage of stress – the on-going stress response on a daily basis. Fat around the middle being a sign of this.
So what is increasing this stress response?
Aside from our lifestyle and work, what we put into our bodies can also cause internal stress in the body – with or without the external stress! Making sure our blood sugar is kept constant is really important. Highs and lows of blood sugar increase the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone related to the body’s ‘fight or flight’. 60,000 years ago this would have been essential to either fight or run away from a wild animal. Unfortunately our body cant tell the difference between running away from a wild animal or sitting at your desk with an Americano getting stressed over spreadsheets!
The fight of flight response re-directs resources to the lungs, heart, brain, eyes and away from what it deems unnecessary such as the digestive, immune and reproductive system. The body then cleverly (so it thinks as it assumes you are going to be running away from a wild animal very soon!) places the unused glucose into fat cells round the middle so that it’s close to the liver which will convert the fat back into glucose at the next ‘stressful’ event.
Too much cortisol increases triggers for appetite and food – another sign of stress is an increase in appetite. Hence the comfort and stress eating.
- Stop dieting! Eat more – especially at breakfast!
- Eat little and often to help blood sugar.
- Low GI foods
- More fibre and protein – slow burn of energy.
- More essential fatty acids – they help slow down rate of digestion, boost fat burn and reduce inflammation.
- Don’t eat on the run.
- Watch what you drink. Avoid caffeine and high sugar drinks including fruit juice. Watch out for sweeteners!
- Change the way you think about food.
- Less refined sugar
- Sleep more – go to bed at the same time very day.
Our Energy Elixir was created to help normalise cortisol levels by giving the body a drip feed of energy from pea protein as well as nutrients such as Vi C and B Vits which are often lost in the body during stress events. Energy Elixir also includes the adaptogen Maca which helps with our resilience to stress.
Unfortunately there is little we can do about the outside stressors on our mind and body but we can help reduce the internal ones which will make us stranger and more able to cope with our busy lives!