Keto, Stress and Cortisol

Keto has definitely been magic for a lot of people on their weight loss journey, but it can be a bumpy ride at times. As people navigate the ins and outs of this lifestyle, they will discover what causes stalls and how to overcome those things. There is one area of our lives that can wreak havoc on our weight loss efforts and we might not even realize it. That is STRESS!! Stress and all of the feelings that go along with it can and will impede weight loss especially in the belly area. This is mostly due to a hormone called cortisone which is released during times of stress.

I am going to attempt to explain this quickly and easily because knowledge is power and we cannot change what we don’t understand. Once hormones such as cortisol are released into our bodies they have to find a place to “stick”. Certain cells in our bodies have “receptors” on them that are available for hormones to stick to. A perfect example of this is our fat cells. Our fat cells have receptors that the hormone cortisol loves to stick to. Unfortunately, the fat cells in our belly area have more receptors on them than the fat cells in other areas of our body so cortisol has a LOT of places to stick! When cortisol is released and retained by fat cells, it will cause a spike in blood sugar and send blood glucose levels up. Your body does this because of an old survival mechanism called “fight or flight”. It’s so that your body has glucose available if you need to run from something or fight something off. Long story short…cortisol = blood sugar spikes.

We cannot always control the stress levels in our lives but we can control how we deal with stress. One of the best ways to lower cortisol is through meditation and light exercise. I have an app on my phone called HBX Binaural Player. If you are not familiar with binaural beats, I suggest you look into it if stress is an issue for you. Binaural beats is a form of “white noise” that will play one frequency in one ear and a different frequency in your other ear. Studies show that using these beats will cause different areas of your brain to engage and respond. For example, there is a setting for insomnia that really does help you relax and fall asleep. There is a relaxing anti anxiety setting that will lower you level of stress therefore lower cortisol. This works! I have used these beats for several years. You don’t need a lot of time, either. Some of the settings are as little as 10 minutes long. The app that I mentioned above is free and simple. Another great way to help your body burn excess cortisol is through light exercise such as brisk walks, yoga, stretching, jogging within an aerobic zone (you should be able to hold a conversation while jogging) and bike riding. Our bodies were designed to be active. A few generations ago cortisol never really had a chance to cause so much damage because we were so much more active. Let’s tap into this once again!

To sum it up, some people will get to a point that their weight loss will slow down or stall and it may have nothing to do with what they are eating or how much. Once you evaluate your macros and are confident that you are still in ketosis then stress could very well be what is holding you up. Incorporate some activities that will lower your stress hormones and that will help you get back on track. Who knows, you may find a hobby or new group of friends in the process! It’s a win-win! Good luck!!

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