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Stress and Cortisol: Part 1

Let’s face it: who isn’t stressed these days?

Mindfulness and meditation be damned! As much as this practice helps me, I still don’t go a day without wanting to kick or punch something.

But, at this point, you’ve probably heard that stress is no friend to the beltline.

But why? And how do we fix it?

This week's posts stem from the documentary Heal. If you’ve never seen it, I strongly suggest it!


After watching it for the second time, I’ve become more convinced than ever that our bodies are capable of much more than we realize. The film is filled with tips and tricks, but I’ll touch on just one: The connection between stress and weight gain.

Why does stress cause weight gain?

Stress changes our body's chemistry. This all comes back to design. We were built with a finely tuned fight or flight response to protect us. When our bodies and minds perceive something as a threat or emergency, our cortisol and adrenaline levels spike.

This is normal.

What’s not normal is when the stress happens over and over, causing the cortisol and adrenaline levels to remain elevated. This is where we get into trouble. Too much cortisol and we get a physical and psychological response that increases fat and carbohydrate storage.

In a physical sense, it’s our bodies preparing for emergency knowing that we will likely need more energy to overcome the situation.


Psychologically, our brains tell us we better eat high fat and high carb food to replace this lost energy. Simply put, the more we are stressed the more our bodies store fat and the more we want to eat.


Now you have the why of stress and cortisol as culprits in weight gain. On Friday, we'll discuss what to do about it.


Meanwhile: The Ladder is coming! This is a benchmark, a strength challenge, and our competitive spirits all wrapped up in a 1-hour class. You start with 1 rep each of 5 exercises-- then 2 reps, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and so on. But you have to get back down before time runs out!


The top 16 performers from the ladders on the schedule from March 15th-March 18th will be selected on "Selection Sunday" to participate in a ladder finale on April 1st with a new and exciting ladder workout for the finals. Sign up like a regular class!

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