Have you ever experienced suddenly gaining weight around your stomach area even when you’re exercising and nothing has changed in your diet? “Worry waist” is so frustrating and may even be demotivating for a lot of people. You are not alone as many women around the world have a similar experience. Now, if you are in perimenopause, then this can be explained by your fluctuating hormones.
One of the most overlooked reasons for this sudden weight gain in our middle area is stress. Gaining weight around the middle of our body can be a sign of high cortisol levels as well as blood sugar.
Our bodies have adapted for survival. Our body prioritizes preserving itself for long periods of hunger or lack of resources so it stores energy in the form of fat whenever it can. Along the same lines, whenever we are stressed, our fight or flight instincts tend to kick in and our body thinks it’s running away from a predator again.
With this heightened sense of danger, higher cortisol levels are released into the body and cortisol has been shown to influence body fat distribution to be more focused around the organs. This is why the fat around the middle of our body increases whenever we are stressed more often. These fat cells also tend to have more cortisol receptors so whenever you get stressed again, it will encourage even more fat to be stored in that area.
Not only this, but cortisol increases our body’s fat and carbohydrate metabolism as it prepares our body for survival situations. This may sound good at first since we all want to convert fat and carbohydrates for energy right? But what it actually does instead is intensify our cravings for foods such as sweets and other high-calorie snacks as our body thinks it needs to replenish the lost energy for future purposes.
Simply reducing the number of calories we take into our bodies is not enough. This is especially true when our bodies are prioritizing storing fat around the center of our bodies due to stress.
Instead of reducing calories, we should aim to increase the amount of lean protein in our diets instead. This can give our body the amount of energy that it needs. Protein can give our bodies the energy that it needs. Aside from this, essential fats from oily fish, avocados, and nuts can help balance out hormone levels. Furthermore, improving our gut health by eating more fibre and eating more vegetables can provide a huge amount of benefits as well. Boost our Vit C and B vits which help our energy production. Vit C is also essential for our adrenal health. Adaptogens such as maca as well as turmeric and herbs like ashwagandha can be helpful too. This can include but are not limited to giving the number of vitamins and minerals that we need.
The bottom line, aside from fixing what we put into our bodies via diets, what we should also watch out for are the internal/external factors such as stress that may be affecting our bodies as well. As we can see, managing our stress can work wonders for our bodies. From regulating blood sugar levels, and aiding our weight loss, to reducing fat in the middle of our body so we can say goodbye to our worried waist!
This a little reminder of some fabulous ways that you can work with me …