Almost 10 years ago, Tiffany Spudich, PharmD, wrote an article about Cortisol and Weight that is still relevant today (you can view the article here). After reading the article, we would like to summarize how it relates to our “Bariatric Health Kansas City” series.
For some time, there has been a question about stress and weight. Does stress affect weight at all? Does it affect eating? Does it affect where the fat is deposited in our bodies? We do know that our bodies make cortisol to help us with stress. When stress goes up, cortisol levels go up as well. Studies have shown that obese people have levels of cortisol that are higher than average.
According to Tiffany, cortisol is “a hormone in a group of steroids commonly referred to as glucocorticoids. Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal gland as a part of your daily hormonal cycle.” It is made when our stress levels go up. It’s the result of our natural “fight or flight” response when stressed. Our pupils dilate, we breath in more oxygen, our body shuts down our digestive system, and our appetite is suppressed. When the stress is over, the cortisol increases our appetite to replenish our bodies with the carbohydrates, thinking we just ran away from a lion, so to speak.
We are modern creatures who at times, have a sustained amount of stress in our lives. We aren’t running away from lions. We are often sitting at our desk or in traffic. According to the authors of The Cortisol Connection, we are tired from the stress, overeat to comfort ourselves, and gain inches around the waistline as a result. This is a dangerous place to gain weight, as it can lead to diabetes and heart disease.
Bariatric Health Kansas City – Cortisol Conclusion
By accepting the possibility that chronic stress and high cortisol levels may be factors in gaining the weight, what are our options for controlling our weight? First we must cut out the stress, or become resistant to it altogether. Walks and regular exercise are excellent examples to promote weight loss by burning calories and neutralizing stress levels. Second is meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises. Controlling the stress by relaxing helps us battle our hectic lifestyles. Third, seeing our stress from a different point of view could eliminate it all together. It is all in how we perceive it.
For weight loss support, we offer support groups that meet twice a month and our own specially formulated bariatric health supplements. Feel free to read our blog as we update with articles to keep you informed.