Stress is Making You Fat!


We have all heard how stress can make you fat. But how exactly does stress and fat gain have a direct correlation?

First of all we have to address what stress is. Stress is elevated cortisol production in the body.  Cortisol is a hormone made in the adrenal glands which sit just above your kidneys. Secretion of the hormone is controlled by the hypothalamus. pituitary glands and the adrenal glands.

  • Ok so what exactly does cortisol do?

Cortisol is better know for its involvement in the fight or flight response in which the body is supplied with an influx of glycogen to supply the large muscles groups immediate energy.

Its helps control your blood sugar levels, reduces inflammation, assists with memory formation and regulates metabolism

Cortisol helps get us out of bed in the morning and help our body functions for daily activities. Cortisol should peak in the morning between 6-8am in the morning, and as the day goes on it will gradually decrease.

  • Now how does cortisol related back to fat gain?

When cortisol is elevated repeatedly it leads to weight gain through by storing visceral fat (fat stored within the abdominal wall around internal organs). 

  • How does it do this?

When stress levels are consistently elevated for whatever reason/s, work, family, money issues, overtraining, cortisol mobilises triglycerides from storage and relocates them to visceral fat cells. And guess what? Visceral fat cells contain more cortisol receptors than subcutaneous fat.

When it comes to fat loss two things are required.

  1. A calorie deficit
  2. Hormone balance

Cortisol impacts both of these and it especially hits hardest on the hormones responsible for hunger and cravings such as insulin and leptin. Not the best for people trying to diet.

  • Not all cortisol is bad!

When exercising you want cortisol high as it works with other fat burning hormones to help mobilise fat. Post training you want to reduce stress as fast as possible, by stretching, going for a walk plus taking a magnesium supplement post training to reduce cortisol straight away, so your body can start repairing broken down muscle tissue asap. 

So how do we reduce cortisol?

  1. Get a good nights sleep.
  2. Meditation - I recommend using the App headspace.
  3. Stretching.
  4. Exercise - especially LISS cardio (low intensity steady state).
  5. Magnesium. - it is responsible for the metabolism of cortisol.
  6. Cort RX by ATP Science will help regulate cortisol.

So stress less and watch the fat fall off.