Cortisol - What is this stress hormone doing to your waist line?

You likely know Cortisol as the “stress hormone” and that is very accurate.

Have you ever been driving down the road, minding your own business, and barely miss the impact of a car as it blasts through the red light? Your heart begins to pound, your breathing increases, and you realize that your fingerprints are now imprinted into your steering wheel? This is the effect of Cortisol being released.

When our body senses danger, or stress, our adrenal glands, hypothalamus, and pituitary gland work together to release Cortisol. This is okay, when the stress is here and there. Just like the accident that you missed - that reaction of Cortisol being released is no big deal.

It’s when the stress lasts ALL DAY and Cortisol is being released ALL DAY that the issues begin.

But first, let’s take a look at what else Cortisol is used for.

Most cells in the body have Cortisol receptors, this means that Cortisol impacts most cells with in the body and has a job to do.

  1. Cortisol regulates immune response

  2. Cortisol affects how much sodium we have in our blood

  3. Cortisol regulates connective tissue strength

  4. Cortisol triggers the release of glucose and fatty acids from the liver and turns insulin sensitivity down (this is a good thing when a bear is chasing your or you need to quickly react to any other seriously life threatening situation)

But just like with anything, too much of a good thing can quickly turn into a bad thing…

  1. Too much Cortisol can suppress the immune function

  2. Too much Cortisol means too much sugar in the blood stream

  3. Too much Cortisol decreases insulin sensitivity

  4. Too much Cortisol also means poor memory, decreased sex drive, and even wrinkles!

That’s right! WRINKLES!!!

If you’ve made it to this point in the post, I am assuming you are simply hanging on because you like me or because you really want to know about this waist line issue! Hang with me, I am almost there!

When Cortisol is released it triggers sugar and fatty acids to be released into the blood stream while suppressing insulin sensitivity. The reason for this is to give you a boost of energy when you need to run or fight what ever danger, or stressor, your body is sensing.

However, this does not bode well when you are stressed ALL THE TIME!

You see, high blood sugar and low insulin sensitivity leads to weight gain, along with a whole host of other health issues! But, we are here to talk about that expanding waist line, so let’s stay on track.

If you see that scale creeping up or those pants creeping down (because your knew found muffin top keeps pushing them down), all while you are leading a seemingly “healthy” life - then you may have an issue with too much Cortisol.

So, how do we fix this? Well that is where things get a bit tricky!

If you have been following me for any length of time, you know that I am in a season of some seriously HIGH levels of Cortisol.

In the past 3 months, we have moved into a rental space that I am thankful for but left with much to desire, tore our house down to the literal ground and have starting building our new home, and I made some BIG changes in my career! PHEW - just typing that made me break out in a sweat!

So, reduce stress? How do we do that? I am going to share with you next week, all the ways that I am battling with my stress and stressors in my fight against Cortisol and this ever expanding waist line of mine!

But until then, I want you to tell me so of your best stress releasing activities! Tell me what you do when you are stressed to the max? How do you lower your Cortisol levels?