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How Stress and Cortisol Affect Weight Loss Resistance

Woman stepping on scaleIn the latest episode of the Menopause Mastery Podcast, we dove headfirst into the topic of cortisol and its relationship to weight loss resistance. In this post, we’ll explore how stress and cortisol affect your weight loss journey and what you can do to keep your cortisol levels in check.

What is Cortisol?

Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress. It’s commonly referred to as the “stress hormone” because it helps your body cope with stress. Cortisol plays an important role in maintaining homeostasis, but high levels over an extended period can lead to weight gain, obesity, and insulin resistance. When cortisol levels are high, it can also lead to increased appetite and cravings for high-calorie and high-fat foods, which can contribute to overeating and weight gain.

The Link Between Cortisol and Weight Loss Resistance

Weight loss resistance occurs when your body doesn’t respond to efforts to lose weight, even with a calorie-restricted diet and increased physical activity. Cortisol plays a significant role in weight loss resistance. When cortisol levels are high, it can lead to muscle breakdown, which can cause muscle loss and increased fat mass. This effect is known as catabolism, which can make it more challenging to lose weight, especially if you’re not getting enough physical activity.

The Role of Exercise in Cortisol Management

While exercise is essential for maintaining good health, not all forms of exercise are created equal when it comes to cortisol management. High-intensity workouts that put significant stress on the body can lead to increased cortisol levels, which can exacerbate weight loss resistance. In contrast, weight training is anabolic, meaning it helps build muscle mass, which can offset the catabolic effects of cortisol. Incorporating both weight training and moderate-intensity cardio into your routine can help keep your cortisol levels in check.

The Importance of Meal Composition

Poor meal composition can also contribute to increased cortisol levels. Skipping meals or fasting without a thoughtful approach can trigger cortisol production, leading to increased appetite and cravings for high-calorie foods. To avoid this, make sure to eat a balanced meal with protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates every 3-4 hours to help regulate cortisol levels and maintain a healthy weight.

Learn More Today

Managing stress and cortisol levels is crucial to achieving weight loss success, especially as you navigate the challenges of menopause. By incorporating regular exercise, maintaining a balanced diet, and managing stress through techniques such as meditation or yoga, you can keep your cortisol levels in check and achieve your weight loss goals.

As always, we’re here to help and answer your questions. Book a discovery call with us today to learn how our Dallas Nutritionist can help you in person and virtually!

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