Our bodies are made up of 2 types of fat. One type is subcutaneous fat, the kind that sits under our skin. We all have it and we all need it. The other is visceral fat that wraps itself around our organs.
It is difficult to ‘lose the gut’ because it often is a combination of several factors in our lifestyle. Proper nutrition certainly is the major player but like the insidious relative that over stays his welcome, stress takes up permanent residence and makes us fat around our waist.
Our bodies are such amazing machines that it cannot determine real stress from imagined stress. Cortisol and adrenaline are wonderful hormones produced by our adrenal glands. They are called the ‘fight or flight’ hormone. When we see danger, our body dumps these hormones into our blood stream, which the body quickly converts to ‘sugar’, so we have instant energy to fight or run away. The ‘sugar’ is burned up as fuel by our muscles, lungs and heart as we respond to the danger.
However, our bodies cannot discern real stress, like an animal running towards us from emotional stress of sitting in traffic on 95 or a ridiculous boss imposing unobtainable deadlines. Our bodies perceive the same stress, which then triggers the adrenal hormones to be released.
In lies the problem. We have all this ‘sugar’ inundated in our blood stream but we are not burning it with activity. So now what is a body to do with all this sugar swimming around? The efficient body then stores it in our fat to save it for a rainy day or when a wild boar is running after us, which ever comes first.
When this pattern continues over time, it results in an insulation of fat around our bellies. And even worse, according to WebMD, here is a list of the negative effects of prolonged levels of cortisol and adrenalin:
Impaired cognitive performance
Dampened thyroid function
Blood sugar imbalances, such as hyperglycemia
Decreased bone density
Decreased muscle mass
Elevated blood pressure
Lowered immune function
Slow wound healing
Increased abdominal fat has a stronger correlation to certain health problems than fat deposited in other areas of the body.
Some of the health problems associated with increased stomach fat are heart attacks, strokes, higher levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL), which can lead to other health problems.
It is imperative that we de-stress and shed the anxiety in our lives.
How do we rid ourselves of this unwanted fat? It starts with RELAXING.
Exercise is a wonderful stress reliever. Yoga is an excellent combination of stress relief and strength training. Don’t think that yoga is just a bunch of people chanting eastern religious non-sense. It is among the best over all forms of exercise I have ever experienced. I used to be one of those ‘people’.
Stress is so damaging to our health. I would rather see you eat a Big Mac than bottle up your tension.
Find your release.
And as always, I am here to help.