Is Your Roadblock to Weight Loss Due to This Hormone?


In last week’s post I introduced you to Nancy, a woman from a weight loss forum, who was totally discouraged about her weight. She seemed to be at the end of her rope with her weight.

Even though Nancy received some well-meaning advice about her carbohydrate intake or that she should be writing down what she eats, this isn’t what she needs right now. What she really needs is some emotional relief. Nancy has to find a way to find peace with herself right now.

Until she is able to do this she will most likely be unable to have long term weight loss success. Making changes in your life simply begins with improving how you feel about yourself right now in the present moment.

If you can begin to create a momentum of good feeling thoughts then you are on the fast track to making long term behavior changes. This is a simple process but not easy because you do need to train yourself to think differently.

In order to find some emotional relief Nancy first needs to learn how to productively relieve stress. One of the reasons why Nancy may be holding onto the weight is her cortisol or stress hormone levels are way too high.

When you perceive a stressful event your brain sends a signal to produce cortisol, the stress hormone responsible for gearing up your body to either fight or flee danger. The release of cortisol sets off a chain of events that includes a surge of sugar into the bloodstream for quick energy.

Your body will produce cortisol anytime you feel stressed. It doesn’t matter whether it is to flee a wild animal like our ancestors or if you are feeling stressed out because you can’t lose weight.

When your body is repeatedly activating cortisol production this can lead to a whole host of physical and emotional health issues. One of the issues with too much cortisol is excess sugar in the bloodstream which eventually gets stored as belly fat.

Before moving any further Nancy needs to learn a quick and easy way to relieve some of her stress so she can lower her cortisol levels. One of the easiest ways to decrease stress is to tune into the breath. If I was to inhale deeply and exhale completely I would feel calmer almost instantly.

One of the simplest breathing techniques is called belly breathing. Here is a quick and simple belly breathing exercise.

Sit or lay down and place your feet flat on the floor. Close your eyes.

Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your abdomen.

When you inhale, do you feel a rise in your chest or in your abdomen?

When you breathe through your chest you may find you can only take short shallow breaths.

When you breathe through your abdomen you can take long, deep breaths.

When you are able to breathe more deeply you will feel a relaxing sensation throughout your body.

This is known as the relaxation response which has the opposite effect of the stress response.

To do the belly breathing exercise place both hands now on your abdomen.

Inhale deeply for a count of four and fill your belly with air like a balloon.

Hold the breath for a count of two. Then exhale completely for a count of six and deflate your balloon.

Hold the air out for a count of two. Repeat this breathing pattern four more times.

Breathe normally for a few breaths and then try one more cycle of belly breathing.

Now place one hand back on your chest and check your breath.

Are you breathing more from your abdomen now?

The great thing about belly breathing is it can can lower your stress level in less than five minutes.

So now when you are feeling stressed at work or at home you have a healthy and productive way to lower your stress level.

Think of belly breathing as form of preventative healthcare since studies show that 90% of doctor’s visits are now stress-related according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

I would instruct Nancy to work on her belly breathing exercise at least once a day. It is imperative that Nancy lowers her cortisol levels to decrease her stress level and to gain emotional relief. With continued practice she should notice decreased belly fat as well as improvements in  her cardiovascular and digestive health.

Next week I am going to teach Nancy an incredibly effective technique to help her to change how she looks at weight loss so she can find immediate emotional relief. You don’t want to miss this.

Please let me know in the comments: What techniques do you use to relieve stress? Blog

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