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Cortisol Belly and Stress: Why You Can't Lose Weight From Your Stomach

Posted by Liz Tenuto on

If you're struggling with a stubborn midsection that seems resistant to diet and exercise, it might not be due to your workout plan or calorie intake — it could simply be from the amount of stress you experience. (And that's called a cortisol belly!)

High stress levels and the consequent high cortisol can directly lead to accumulating fat around your midsection. And this isn't just a matter of aesthetics; it's a sign from your body that something deeper is amiss, particularly with your nervous system's ability to handle stress.

So it's essential to understand how your constant stress contributes to your inability to lose your stubborn belly weight. Because once you understand this, you can start addressing the root cause of it. And addressing the root cause will lead to significant changes in your health!

The Scientific Link Between Cortisol, Stress, and Belly Fat

Cortisol, often termed the "stress hormone," plays a crucial role in your body's response to stress. It's produced by the adrenal glands and is involved in various functions such as regulating blood sugar levels, metabolism, and inflammation.

However, when stress becomes chronic, cortisol levels remain elevated for extended periods. And this hormonal imbalance affects your body in several ways, including increased appetite and cravings for high-calorie foods. But not only are those changes affecting your cortisol belly, so is this: cortisol prompts the storage of fat (and specifically in the abdominal area!). Hence why it's called the cortisol belly!

This phenomenon is a direct manifestation of your stress, your nervous system, and how that stress is impacting every other aspect of your body. High cortisol levels isn't just a hormonal imbalance, it's a deeper issue that not only affects your appearance, but also how your nervous system communicates and regulates. 

Symptoms of High Cortisol Levels

You might be experiencing the effects of high cortisol levels if you notice:

  • Weight gain, especially around the midsection
  • Difficulty losing belly fat despite diet and exercise
  • Increased cravings for sugar and fatty foods
  • Feeling tired but wired
  • Trouble sleeping or disturbed sleep patterns
  • Higher levels of anxiety or depression
  • Decreased immune response
  • Frequent brain fog

The Good News: Overcoming Cortisol Belly

The good news is that by doing somatic exercises to release your stress, you can effectively lower your cortisol levels and reduce your cortisol belly.

Somatic exercises, movements designed to reconnect with the body and regulate the nervous system, offer a practical and proven approach to actually address the root causes of your high cortisol.

The benefits of reducing your cortisol levels through these exercises include:

  • A reduced storage of body fat in your abdomen
  • Improved metabolism
  • Enhanced energy levels throughout the day
  • Better sleep quality
  • A stronger immune system
  • Reduced cravings for unhealthy foods
  • Increased ability to focus and stay present

By addressing the issue at its source, you'll not only achieve a healthier body composition but you'll also improve your overall quality of life.

Do you want to reduce your cortisol belly by lowering your cortisol levels? Get guided through the step by step in 30 days with Release Your Stress and Trauma