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That fat on your belly might actually be stress

The Stress hormone Cortisol's impact on weight management

There has been a recent spurt in paid advertisements on reducing belly fat using powders and tablets, some of which allege they are based on precious herbs. One sees great graphics, tempting discounts and testimonials from people who have been saved from fat and are now living envious lives. Normally one sees these ads on television late at night, but daytime and even in leading newspapers? Something is up. Caveat emptor let the buyer beware!

There is more to weight management than popping pills hoping that those awful 20 kilos will melt away like butter in a warm saucepan. There are also a number of reasons why a person may put on weight and then face an uphill challenge getting rid of that excess fat. This post looks at one aspect – the role of stress on your belly fat and how we can try to overcome it.

Signs of Stress manifest long before one reaches the stage of exhaustion with full blown symptoms like heart problems, diabetes and changes in personality. Subjected to stress, the first instinct is that of fight or flight.  It is ideal to nip stress at that point but many of us don’t. Then the body starts to cope with the situation on its own and resistance manifests, quite often with weight change particularly around the belly – that is stress speaking.

The culprit here is the hormone called cortisol or Stress Hormone that is produced when a person is under stress. Cortisol increases the urge to eat foods that are high in fat and sugar content. If you do not already do regular exercises, the calories begin to pile up on the body especially on the belly.

I suggest maintaining a balanced diet but know from experience that when one is under stress or pressure, eating junk food or even skipping meals is common. The focus shifts to wolfing down food and getting back to work rather than thinking about whether one‘s intake of essential nutrients is being met. So the weight saga continues and gets worsened if you do crash dieting further weakening the body’s resistance to stress.

Some of us start to drink more coffee which gives the required adrenalin boost but tires us out once the effect of the coffee is gone. In addition hormones related to sleep cycles, mood and food cravings get aggravated under the influence of excessive caffeine in the system.

There is no quick fix to stress and weight management but some precautions and pre-emptive strikes against stress and belly fat can be taken.

Consciously make the effort to reduce your coffee intake and try to replace it with anti-oxidant rich herbal tea or warm water. The latter is used for weight management in Ayurveda and helps flush out toxins that impede weight loss.

Ensure that you get proper doses of Vitamin A, Vitamin B complex, Vitamin C (which lowers the amount of cortisol in your body) and magnesium (which helps to reduce anxiety) in your diet. Protein intake helps to repair the body and provides much needed energy.

A bonus food (my personal favorite) is the delicious humble apple. Great to snack on, supportive of weight management, it also helps to release ingredients into our body which my GP calls ‘happy hormone supplements’ and when one is stressed that is one bonus we all need!

Do you have any tips for stress-related weight gains on the belly? Please do share and help all of us fight the battle of the stressed out belly bulge!


PS. Want to learn how to manage stress using Chakra Balancing Exercises that will also keep your stress hormone under control? If yes, then my ebook on Chakra Balancing Exercises is just what you need.  Click on the image and learn more (a new window will open on your browser with details of the ebook and how you can acquire it).

Stress management with Chakra Balancing Exercises Guide

Written By: Vatsala Shukla



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Meet your coach

I believe the world would be a better place if high achieving professionals accepted setbacks and challenges to their careers as Wake Up Calls to embark on a Journey where their empowered course correcting actions create a New World Order that encompasses achieving their career aspirations & potential with authentic life balance.

I work with driven, passionate, talented and ambitious professionals who’ve hit a speed breaker in their business or career create their desired breakthrough reclaiming control of their situation with customized strategies and tactics that deliver results.

When my clients first reach out to me, they are not in a very happy place, needing clarity about themselves, their desires, chosen vocation and what will give them peace of mind. They are drawn to me for the very reasons that I highlight in Who Is Karmic Ally Coaching.

Their professional problems are playing havoc with other areas of their life. They know they need to take radical steps to change the status quo but they also know they need support and accountability to get them their desired result.

I really get it, because I’ve experienced that dark night of the Soul. I know firsthand the outcome of getting lost in my work rationalizing decisions that were detrimental to other aspects of my life.

I’ve struggled with and won battles of stress management, corporate politics, life balance and career decisions to emerge in a place where I can confidently say that I live my desired life according to my personal Manifesto and have created a business that provides me with a platform for my desired lifestyle and self-expression for myself. I want that for you too!

I adhere to the Certified Coaches Alliance Code of Ethics and Standards. A copy is available on request.
1st place BCB 2012
Email: Vatsala(at)karmicallycoaching(dot)com Phone:91 9818517664
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