Are you struggling with stubborn belly fat and feel like no matter how clean you eat or how hard you work out it won’t budge?
There are three factors which make it difficult to lose (and easy to gain) fat around the middle, and they have nothing to do with what you eat or how much you work out.
The one thing these three factors all have in common? Cortisol. This is your stress hormone. If your cortisol is high you’re going to have a really hard time losing belly fat and you’ll find yourself gaining it very easily.
Here are the three most common causes of too much cortisol, and how to overcome them.
- We live in a 24/7 society, and many of us are existing in a constant state of stress without even realizing it. Balancing work, family, social obligations and so on can have us feeling overwhelmed and overworked.
- There is no escaping the demands of life, so in order to lower your stress try incorporating some relaxation into your day such as yoga, meditation, walking, or just deep breathing for a few minutes.
- Additionally, if you’re already extremely stressed out, adding a very intense or extreme diet and/or exercise program is not going to help. Restricting calories too much or working out too hard simply adds even more stress to your system. Focus on eating a balanced and healthy diet and working out in a way that feels good, not punishing.
#2: Lack of sleep
- Not only are we overworked and overstressed we’re under rested. If you are not getting at least seven hours of sleep a night you’re probably not getting enough sleep. Many of us sacrifice sleep in favor of exercise or other activities, and it’s not helping us lose weight.
- Lack of sleep also tends to lead to low energy and lack of willpower. When you’re sleep deprived, it is harder to get the energy to work out, you crave sugar and don’t feel like cooking. This can create a snowball effect of poor food choices and skipping the gym.
- If you are struggling to lose belly fat you must get more sleep. Put the electronics away thirty minutes before you go to bed, and start a sleep-ready routine such as reading a book or taking a hot shower. In the morning, don’t hit snooze! Instead of snoozing for an hour and not getting great sleep, simple set your alarm for the time you are actually going to get up and you’ll feel much more rested.
- Hormones are a major contributor to weight issues and belly fat. This can be anything from too much of a certain hormone, to too little, to thyroid issues.
- Lack of sleep and high stress levels can create hormone issues, and hormone issues can make good quality sleep difficult and increase our stress levels. These factors all go together and are often interconnected.
- If you’re feeling off, struggling to stay asleep at night or having other issues be sure you talk to your doctor and have your hormone levels tested. Even if you’re told it is “normal” due to aging or perhaps child-bearing, if you don’t feel right keep pushing. Your body very likely is sending you a signal that something is off, and figuring out what that is and how to correct it is key to weight loss success.
If you’re eating clean and working out consistently and still struggling to lose body fat, remember there are other factors that have nothing to do with the kitchen or the gym.
Losing unwanted belly fat means not only working out and eating clean, it also means keeping your stress levels down, getting enough sleep and balancing your hormones.