Cortisol and weight gain... Cortisol is one of your "stress hormones. It is secreted during times of stress. That is... any kind of stress: mental, emotional or physical.
Over time, when this hormone is released consistently, it causes fat to bestored instead of burned, (specifically in or on your belly.)
There are other destructive things this hormone does to sabotage your weight loss. And it also causes other problems...
Cortisol and belly fat are almost always going to be found together.
When I was trying to find common denominators with unsuccessful weight loss (the kind where weight isn't budging like it used to)... hormone imbalances were always present when a person could not lose weight!
Cortisol is one of the hormones that is released by your adrenal glands to help us deal with a fight or flight response. As such, it is called the "stress hormone."
In the short term, it helps prepare the body for the effects of stress. So in the very short term, it does burn fat. But only in the very short term.
There is another trait of cortisol and that is that it remains in blood for a long time. Adrenaline, for example, is metabolized relatively quickly in relation to cortisol. This is an important point to know when losing weight through restoration of hormone balance.
However, with continual stress, cortisol will cause fat to be stored.Especially belly fat. There are other negative effects of excess cortisol.
Cortisol and Weight Gain: Breaks Down Muscle
Cortisol breaks your muscle down and uses it as a sugar and protein source. One muscle is broken down to feed another muscle.
So your metabolism starts to use your most dense muscles -- your thighs and glutes. You will also see the arm muscles looking atrophied.1
This is another hidden way cortisol and weight gain are connected.
Cortisol and Weight Gain: Creates Belly Fat
Because fat in the midsection contain the greatest amount of cortisol receptors,2fat is created and stored in the midsection.3 So you get belly fat, love handles, and inability to fit into clothes through the midsection. You will see a pendulous abdomen and a sagging abdomen.
It moves fat from other parts of the body and relocates it to deep in the abdomen.4Cortisol and Weight Gain: Creates Sour Stomach
Cortisol increases stomach acidity and "sour stomach"5Cortisol and Weight Gain: Buffalo Hump
A buffalo hump or a fat pad on the back and below the neck also forms.6,7 The accumulation of adipose tissue in the upper back (also called the dorsocervical region), commonly referred to as "buffalo hump," is typical with people who have excess cortisol.Cortisol and Weight Gain: Moon Face
There is fat accumulation on the face. There is extra facial hair for both men and women. The eyes and face get puffy as well and a double chin develops.8Cortisol and Weight Gain: Raised Insulin
Cortisol releases blood sugar to provide quick energy for physical activity.9 But since you are not active there is just a lot more sugar in the blood, which releases insulin10 - which is a fat-storing hormone.
For women, is can be aesthetically devastating: receding hairline as in male-pattern baldness is also a result, excess acne during menstruation, atrophy of breasts and a deepening voice.Cortisol and Weight Gain: Muscle Cramps
Cortisol makes you urinate a lot of potassium. This stops calcium from being absorbed into your muscles and bones.
Over the short-term, this lack of calcium in your muscles causes cramps and inability to relax your muscles. Over the long term, lack of calcium absorption results in osteoporosis.11
Because calcium is the mineral your muscle uses to elongate and relax your muscle fibers,12 your muscles do not recover after exercise as well as they used to.Cortisol and Weight Gain: Constricting Blood Vessels
Then there is tightening of your blood vessels. Part of the function of adrenal hormones is the contraction and relaxation of blood vessels.
When there is not enough adrenaline, a very important blood vessel called the coronary artery can get too tight and not relax which then leads to the tightening of the chest and chest pains.13
That is why adrenaline is injected when a person is having a heart attack. But cortisol is what tightens this vessel in the first place.Cortisol and Weight Gain: Water Retention
Due to the decrease in potassium. When potassium is decreased there is an imbalanced amount of sodium. This imbalance of excess sodium will cause water retention14 and all the other problems associated with excess sodium like high blood pressure and and hypertension.
Since there is too little potassium, hypertension starts to develop (one of the symptoms of potassium deficiency). The blood cells also get engorged. Even to the point where they cannot fit into the small capillaries.
To reduce this, your body will cause increased urination and the release of more sodium through your kidneys.
The person also starts to simply feel dehydrated but drinking water actually makes them feel MORE dehydrated. The increase in thirst will cause you to drink more water but because there is an imbalance between salt and potassium, water does not hydrate the cells and drives what salt there is out of the body.Cortisol and Weight Gain: Cravings for Salt
The imbalance of the fluids in the body now causes a craving for salt and sharp cheese.15 Cheese balls are about as addictive as crack.
As a further result of the potassium-sodium imbalance, part of the chain reaction involves the inability to absorb calcium. The calcium, since it is not absorbed and used by the muscles and bones is urinated out and/or deposited onthe organs instead of I the needed organs.
This causes bursitis, heel spurs, arthritis, tendonitis, arteriosclerosis, calcium deposits in the kidneys, and twitching of the muscles.Cortisol and Weight Gain: Muscle-Tension
The lack of muscle relaxation will also make it hard for a person to relax and sleep. The sleep/awake rhythms get reversed. But you're sleepy during the day and awake during the night. This is simply because adrenal hormones are produced to help you counter something stressful and prepare your body for action. This, combined with tense muscles makes it a recipe for insomnia.Cortisol and Weight Gain: Immune system
Cortisol weakens your immune system.16,17,18,19Cortisol and Weight Gain: Collagen
Studies have shown that cortisol reduces collagen from your skin ten times more than any other part of the body.20,21,22,23Cortisol and Weight Gain: Suppresses Production of Growth Hormone24,25,26
In the past, when the growth hormone was discovered as an important hormone to help people, the solution was to increase it. But now it is seen that cortisol, in excess, and in constant stimulation, undoes all that growth hormone does.
So the problem is not insufficient GH, it is too much Cortisol.Cortisol and Weight Gain: Forgetfulness and Poor Memory
Studies have also shown that excessive and constantly high levels of cortisol reduce memory.27
These are things I saw happening with people who had excess cortisol.Frequent Urination
There is frequent urination especially at night.Constant Fatigue
There is sometimes a constant fatigue and a manifestation of a person dragging around. They look washed out and drained. This is constant now. They also have brain fog. It is hard to think and remember simple things during the afternoon.Out of Breath
The person is out of breath while climbing stairs when there is no reason they should be. They work out and are not physically debilitated yet they experience being out of breath doing simple physical activities.Weaker Hips and Thighs
Hips and thighs become weaker as a result of this. Things like getting up and down from a chair or walking up stairs is hard now. The glutes and thighs are the densest muscles in the body. Thus they become the first target for muscle breakdown. You will notice that some people have large midsections but thin legs and arms.Sleepy In The Afternoon
In the afternoon they feel sleepy.Excessive Worry And Impatience
Then there is excessive worry and impatience. There is constant fidgeting and twitching. This is very exhausting to the individual (and to the people around them). This exhaustion leads to the need for stimulants.Increased Digestive Sensitivity
There is increased sensitivity to foods and food combinations. Especially when you combine fruit with other foods.Weak Thigh Muscles
Excess cortisol makes your thigh muscles weak making it harder to climb stairs or get up from a chair.
Get enough sleep!
At least 7 hours of deep sleep. Don't drink caffeine in the afternoon or stop drinking caffeine totally.
Sleep earlier rather than wake up later. Staying up later and being tired is what causes the cortisol in the first place. Sleeping after this defeats the purpose. Sleeping earlier before your body is stressed, eliminates the cortisol in the first place.
Have protein and water rich carbohydrates for breakfast. This means have a salad for breakfast.
This is the point where cortisol levels are highest, other than during intense exercise and intense stress.
By eating carbohydrates, it stimulates insulin which mitigates cortisol!
Insulin is also the hormone that gets glucose and protein into the muscle cells, but only when the cells are receptive to it. There are only two times when the muscle cells are highly receptive to insulin: After sleep and right after intense exercise.
By not eating breakfast, you cause more cortisol to be released, you have a sugar crash in the afternoon that you do not recover from, you destroy your lean muscle, you increase belly fat and just all around feel crappy.
Sugar and the insulin swings are stressful on your body. When insulin takes your blood sugar away, you cells starve. That is stressful.Don't Let Yourself Get hungry
Hunger is stress. Organize so that you have a snack or something to eat at least every 3 hours.Remove or Reduce Any Stimulants
This may be hard. Your adrenals could be so weak and your fitness levels could be so low that quitting all stimulants would be debilitating.Exercise Correctly
Exercise at the right intensity. If you do not exercise at all, start but do not start with anaerobic exercise. Anaerobic exercise produces cortisol. (Don't worry; there is a way to handle this to your benefit). Aerobic exercise, kept within or under your fitness level, will "train" your nervous system to use fat rather than sugar for energy. That is the main thing we have to do.Handle Physical Injury or Infections
If you have pain or an injury, it will stress your adrenals. The same is true for infections.Reduce Sources of Stress in Your Life
Reduce other types of stress in your life. I think this is obvious. Getting more organized, and saying no to things that overload your system emotionally, physically and mentally.
But, I truly understand that this can be a hard thing to do. Do the best you can. It is worth it!
To Your Health and Happiness!
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Over the past 10 years I have been losing weight and putting it back on just about every three months.
I finally took a much needed step and hired Yegyan to help me stop the yo-yo diet cycle. After 30 days I lost 11 LBS and was able to get back into my favorite pair of jeans. After 60 days I lost a total of 16 LBS. After 120 days, the weight is still off, my skin looks much better, and I actually have energy at 2pm in the afternoon! Lol!
People always ask me what's different and it really boils down to the education that I received from Yegyan. He put facts behind his food & nutrient recommendations so that I began to WANT to eat healthier foods instead of just forcing myself.
It's been a lifestyle change and I couldn't be happier to have officially said goodbye to the old (overweight) Nick.
Yegyan, thank you for all of your hard work and for our new friendship.
I hired Yegyan to help me with general health and energy. I wasn't so interested in weight loss.
But I endedup losing 14 pounds in two months. And this was also during Christmas!
I hardly have any sugar cravings (and I was a sugarholic. I mean fast food dessert breakfast lunch and dinner), and have deeper sleep than I ever remember and more energy throughout the whole day.
The days were like a struggle to make it through. Now I feel good, calm, focused and happy all day. It is more than I expected.
I CAN FIT IN MY JEANS – haven't worn them for about 8 years!
I spoke to you about 3 weeks ago, and I wanted to thank you again for responding to my last e-mail so promptly, and giving me some feedback on what I've been doing. I really appreciate it.
I just wanted to check in and let you know about my progress... so far after about 2 1/2 weeks, I've lost about 10lbs. When I took my measurements, I would say that I've lost between 1/2" and 1" in most areas of my body
T. D. Long Beach CA Jun 25, 2010
There was a change today.... 4.5 lbs loss to be exact. :)
Charlene Mercer, Dohar
Last time I told you I had lost 20lbs in three months by changing my diet and aerobic activity in the form of brisk running. My waist has gone from 45" to now 38" and my weight 196lbs my height is 6ft.... and my waist is getting smaller again. This is great motivation!
...At 57 I don't feel I have both feet in the grave yet. Above all I don't want to become what I see lots of my friends starting to turn into wizened old men!
Anyhow thought I would just give you some feedback and thank you for a well written and thought out book.
Larry Manderson, MD. Ireland
Got your metabolism makeover e-book, and love it!
Went to doc's office: She decreased my insulin back down to 40 (yippee!) and was really pleased with my progress.... I'm happy with what you've helped me accomplish thus far.
I was shocked to suddenly realize that I was feeling good after so many years of daily headaches and stuffed up nose
L. Liberty, Tacoma, WA
When I first started changing my diet a week ago, I couldn't believe it. I definitely started to feel the difference.
My mind was clearer. It felt like a fog was lifted. My energy was increased.
I wasn't dragging myself around to do things. I had a lot more energy.
Even my hair improved. It wasn't as dry as it was before I changed the way I was eating. It has a lot more body and not as frizzy and it was. I was using a special conditioner to make it less dry and frizzy. I don't have to use that anymore.
My skin is different also. I have been told so many times by a lot of people that I look younger. I even notice it myself. I don't look so worn out anymore. My skin has a different look to it. It seems like my wrinkles are not as pronounced. The rest of my body isn't as dry as it was, I don't use half of the lotions I did before.
I have lost ten pounds and 1 inch of my thighs and hips. My life is changing for the better. I haven't even started to exercise yet. But I don't feel that it will be as hard as it would have been if I didn't change my diet. I'll update you with my results.
Thank you so much for all of your help and the knowledge that you are giving me. What a difference a diet can make in your life.
I think once you get the knowledge on how food affects your body, the easier it is to change the way you eat. Knowledge it half the battle.
So many people eat the wrong way because they have been given bad information. There are a lot of people on diets that are really not eating the right way or eating the right things. They seem to gain the weight right back the minute they stop the diet. They feel hungry all of the time and get tempted constantly by the things they can't eat.
Well I don't feel deprived. I don't feel hungry and I haven't been tempted by anything, which is unusual for me.
Nobody ate more sugar and sweets than I did. I was always putting a cookie in my mouth. Eating chocolate or cake any chance I got. I thought it gave me more energy. I don't need that anymore. I never thought I would not want any sweets, but I don't. I feel satisfied, which is a great feeling.
Feb 2 2009
Follow up ….
Ye Gyan, I am now down to 128lbs from 156lbs!! You're great!! I can now wear anything I want!! I feel so much better at this weight! Wait until you see me. We need to take another after picture!
C. DeHaan. Oregon
Jan 21, 2010...
I am 62 5'2 and I weight 135 lb my numbers are 246 Chol/146 tri/43 HDL LDL 176 The doctor wants to put me on medication I dont want to do that.
I have just started taking Guggal (2) 300mg, Beta-Glucan (1) 250 mg,Niacin 2 100 mg drinking (2) tablespoons of chlorophyll in water, eating oatmeal and drinking oat bran 2 tablespoons and garlic is this going to work do I need to do more. I do this everyday and I am walking at the gym They are giving me 30 days to get it down. I have thought about adding red yeast rice.
Jan 27, 2010...
3 Feb 2010...
I had got up to a size 10 and it was tight boy that came off quick.
I have tried for months to do what you have got me to doing. I am a Tarus born in April and my head is hard but
I am listening to you and doing as you say.
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I am in jeans I have not worn for 10 years I look 10 years younger than I am. THIS IS FUN
If people dont belive it they can email me.
E. Powell, WA
At 48 years old, I had spent the better part of 25 years running, working out, eating healthy food, and taking care of my body. Being somewhat of an exercise junkie, I was certain I had all the answers.
I was frustrated that my body was stuck in a state of "I'm not budging, just try and make me." I can honestly say that I thought I knew exactly what I was supposed to be doing for myself and for my health, however, I was working in vain. What I wanted was completely eluding me.
I thought that at 48 I finally had the time, the space and the energy to have the body that I wanted, and dammit, I was going to get it.
I tried to tweak my diet and exercise routines in every way I could think of, but nothing was working.
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Yegyan's approach to diet, exercise and overall health and well-being are unlike anyone else's. I have read countless books on diet and exercise. I have had personal trainers and diet coaches.
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L. Quintanilla, Aliso Viejo, CA
I listened to what you had to say about exercising and now can understand what I am doing wrong.
I have lost inches .... Thank you for helping me to understand that.
EVERYBODY was asking me what am i doing!!! and that i lost a lot of weight YAY!!!!!
today , my in laws came over for lunch .... it's amazing how i could finally control my cravings that easy. THANK YOU YEGYAAAAAAAAAAAN!!
H. Abdul Rhiyad, Saudi Arabia
Before I met Yegyan, I had been working out at the gym, but struggled to lose 10 pounds over a period of many months.
When Yegyan and I talked about that, he explained that my heart rate should not go over 126 while working out in order to be burning fat. I had had no idea, so prior to that I had been working as hard as I could push it, out to 135 and even 140 and believing I was doing the best thing possible to lose weight in a healthy manner.
As soon as I began to keep my heart rate under 126 and increase the length of workouts as he had also suggested, the next 10 pounds came off much more quickly, and I was a believer!
Thank you Yegyan, for helping me to restore myself to fitness."
Thank you so much for your consults and training. I read your book and though I was doing everything correct but the weight loss stopped even though other other symptoms like energy, sleep, flexibility relaxation were still improving.
After doing the coaching with you for 4 months I realized that there is more to this than meets the eye. You were able to spot many things that were giving me trouble. Better yet, you told me in advance what I would be running into. Not generally, but specifically me. From your experience you were able to tell me I would have a hard time with something and sure enough it was a brick wall.
Then you walked me through it every single day for three weeks straight.
There is no way you can put everything in a book.
I have reached my goal and know I have given myself the greatest gift - long-term health and knowledge.
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