Nobody wants a fat belly; but insulin resistance and cortisol may be giving you a fat belly you don't really want. The reason for this visceral or belly fat is cortisol. High levels of cortisol have been shown to stimulate the storage of fat around the belly and abdomen.
And while there are a number of reasons your cortisol levels may be high one of those reasons is insulin. It seems cortisol and insulin are fast friends. The more insulin you have in your bloodstream the more cortisol you have. As your insulin goes up so does your cortisol.
OK So What is Insulin Resistance Anyway?
Insulin resistance is where your body has produced adequate amounts of insulin to handle the foods you eat but is unable to absorb the insulin into cells in order to use sugar (carbohydrates) as fuel.
It's a rather dastardly problem. You have all this muscle fuel available but rather than using that fuel it remains circulating around your body in your bloodstream - doing damage to your arteries - while your muscles must now cannibalize themselves to keep going.
You see the cortisol has prevented your body from absorbing the insulin and instead is breaking down the muscle protein into amino acids which can be converted into glucose (fuel) by the liver. You are now left with less fat burning muscle and more cortisol which gives you a fat belly.
So What Can You Do To Reduce That Fat Belly?
You need to reduce your cortisol levels. But how can you lower them without harmful drug? It turns out there are a number of easy things you can do to safely lower your cortisol levels without resorting to pills.
- Foods you have allergies to; seems logical right? But what about the foods like dairy or wheat where you can eat a little bit but unless you eat a lot you're OK. That little bit raises your cortisol levels. (You may not have allergies to these particular foods I just used them as an example).
- Foods that impact your blood sugar. Granted any carbohydrate is going to raise your blood sugar but high glycemic foods will raise your insulin levels (and cortisol) to 'fat belly' levels. Choose low glycemic foods instead.
- Foods containing Caffeine and other stimulants - such as coffee tea soft drinks or chocolate. As your caffeine intake goes up so does your cortisol. (Make sure you lower your caffeine level gradually to avoid headaches.)
- Stress - any sort of stress will raise your cortisol level. If possible avoid stressful situations. Tie up loose ends and finish half finished projects. Learn to say no when your schedule becomes hectic. Finding ways to avoid stress and relaxing ways to de-stress will help to keep cortisol levels down.
- Vitamin C intake to 1 to 2 grams a day - this vitamin has been shown to reduce cortisol levels. (Don't drink orange or other juices to increase your vitamin C as they are high glycemic foods.)
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids - Take Cod Liver Oil (1 Tablespoon Daily) to combat insulin resistance and reduce cortisol levels. The omega 3's in Cod Liver Oil will help your cells absorb insulin and other nutrient your body needs.
- Exercise - which will help to use the glucose in your bloodstream and lower your blood sugar.
- Sleep - When your body doesn't get adequate sleep it depends on cortisol to provide the energy it needs. Remember we're trying to reduce cortisol so getting enough rest will help your body to get along without the additional cortisol.