Unfortunately, stress will cause our bodies to store fat and especially right around the belly. Some more bad news is that it becomes an even bigger problem as we age because our hormones are changing and when we get stressed our bodies get more out of balance than when we were younger and it becomes harder for the body to “re-set.”
Cortisol is a good thing. It signals your body to respond appropriately to stress, the problem is that we often stay stressed and we don’t give our bodies a chance to re-set from stressful days at work, stress with kids, and stressful thoughts. Should I have eaten that? Did I pack the kids lunch? Did I do a good job on that important project for my boss? These thoughts creep into our head all day long and sometimes while we sleep. And Cortisol goes up.
Often stress leads to sleep loss, another reason that we store fat around the belly. Our Cortisol levels should be down at bedtime, but when our brains are overloaded with the days events and what tomorrow brings, it’s hard for us to settle down and get into a healthy, deep sleep. So, we wakeup tired and the whole process starts again the next day.
Constantly bombarding our systems with panic-alarm thoughts followed by panic-alarm moments of concern throughout the day prevents our bodies from re-setting the alarm button and getting back to a normal state.
Sound familiar? Sound depressing? It’s not so much, because like almost everything that has to do with your body– you can control this. GET EXERCISE. DO YOGA. DO PILATES. So we know that exercise helps us sleep better, produces good endorphins and helps us feel better all around, add yoga and/or Pilates into your routine and in addition to all the good feeling endorphins, you will learn to breath.
Just breathing deeply is the easiest way you can restore your Cortisol levels to normal, resetting your body for tomorrow and signaling your brain that it’s time to settle down, relax and sleep.
So, if you’re laying in bed tonight, worrying about what tomorrow is going to bring or what could have gone better today, let it go. Breath in, feel your lungs expand fully, and then breath out, letting go of every worry, every tense muscle, every self-doubt. Continue breathing deeply until you have fallen into the blissful state of sleep your body needs, your Cortisol level will go down and you’ll wake up ready to face tomorrow with all of the joy and vitality you were meant to live your life with.
Please feel free to send me questions anytime, I love it!
Mardee Calkins is an ACE certified personal trainer, wellness coach, double certified Pilates teacher, a PMA certified Pilates instructor, Spin instructor, registered yoga teacher, Kettle Bell Instructor, Rebounding instructor, expert at using food as medicine, author and mom of three.