Cortisol levels are elevated in response to stress, with large amounts released into the blood stream when you are under stress. Since stress can cause us to act out and consume an excess of high calorie foods, weight gain follows. Excess cortisol also can cause your metabolism to slow down. So even if you are not over eating, you still can gain weight, with cortisol storing the most fat in the abdomen. Women who eat high-fat diets have been shown to have both increased cortisol reactivity and greater preference for sweet foods, according to researchers at the University of California at San Francisco. The important thing to do to prevent excess cortisol and weight gain is to reduce or even eliminate stress. There are a few ways to do this.
Join a support group or talk to a close friend or relative. Talking to others about your stress can help alleviate it.
Stop over-eating foods high in calories and get rid of your poor diet. Talk to your doctor to set up a diet plan. Eating the right foods can help reduce stress. Eating the wrong foods can actually help raise the levels of cortisol in your body, causing weight gain.
Exercise your body regularly. Exercise will help you lose weight and reduce stress. Cardio is one of the best ways to lose weight fast. Walking, running, swimming or biking are a few forms of cardio. Doing this for at least 20 minutes a day can be great for your body, getting rid of stress, boosting your metabolism, high cortisol levels and excess weight. Exercise increases mood-stimulating neurotransmitters in your brain and reduces high levels of cortisol.
Get a good amount of sleep. Exercising also can help you sleep better. Oncologist Edward T. Creagan, M.D., states that sleep deprivation can be a major stressor. This is not good for your cortisol levels. The National Sleep Foundation found that healthy adults require seven to nine hours of sleep a night.
Meditate. If you are not familiar with meditation, you can attend classes that will teach you. Relaxing your mind and body will reduce stress, thus reducing cortisol levels.