Lose Weight But Keep the Curves Pt. III: Stress

Written by JJ Smith, certified weight management specialist (NESTA) and nutritionist (ANA)

Posted March 27th, 2018 under Belly Fat, Diet/Weight Loss, Hormones and Weight Gain

I see your vision, Ma! You’ve been working hard to lose weight and get the body you desire. The weight is coming off and you’ve started seeing results, but you’ve noticed that as the pounds go, your curves are going along with them.  Contrary to popular belief, you can lose weight and KEEP YOUR CURVES naturally without having to resort to surgery. In part three of this series, I’ll teach you why preventing stress and getting plenty of sleep is important to reducing belly fat.

Stress Fat

Everyone has at least some moments of stress in their life. After all, we’re only human. It’s how we manage and cope with the stress that makes the biggest difference to our health. When the body feels stress it releases a hormone called cortisol that tends to have negative effects on your eating habits.

Cortisol impacts your appetite and decreases the brain’s sensitivity to being full. A big appetite and an insensitivity to fullness is a deadly combo when it comes to controlling your weight. As a result, when people start to feel stress the side effect is overeating without even realizing it! The extra calories from your overeating goes straight to the abdomen where belly fat is stored. In addition to the increased appetite, cortisol also spurs cravings for high carb, sugar and sodium foods – commonly referred to as the pleasure foods. Imagine how hard it is to curve your appetite and eat healthy when your body is constantly craving things like bagels, brownies, or chips.

Think about how much belly fat you have. Does it correlate with the level of stress in your life? We all deal with and manage our stress differently, so find an outlet to reduce your stress and watch the belly fat melt away.

Sleep the Fat Away

Lack of sleep is another big factor which affects cortisol levels and our hormones. If you are going to sleep late or getting less sleep,  your levels of cortisol are higher. High levels of cortisol decrease muscle mass and increases belly fat. Make it a point to try to get 6-8 hours of sleep every night if you want to decrease your chances of gaining belly fat. Your skin, hair, and nails will thank you for it too!

I know sometimes adulthood and parenthood doesn’t allow for 8 hours of restful sleep, and I know stress isn’t always preventable. However, there are lifestyle changes as well as diet and exercise changes we can make to eliminate our body’s instinct to hang onto fat around our belly.

Until next time…

-Xo JJ