Got A Belly? Perhaps It’s Stress Not Pizza

Belly

According to our statistics, if you are reading this you are probably over 30. In which case you may be  looking down at your protruding belly and wondering how many more sit ups you need to do.. think again.  It may just as likely be a result of a hormonal imbalance wreaking havoc on your body and your belly specifically.

Many of us think the word hormones is specific to menopausal women, that is also a myth.  Hormonal imbalances can happen to all women and one of the major factors is stress.  Which is why your bloated stomach can often be referred to as a stress belly.

Although we haven’t been hunters and gatherers for sometime now, the body still goes into survival mode when we get stressed out.  Our ancestors had more serious stuff to worry about, survival primarily, which triggers a serious reaction in the body.  Preparing the body for fight or flight, anxiety and stress releases the hormone cortisol which affects our digestion and metabolism in a number of ways.

If we were to think of the hormone cortisol as a person, a well-meaning friend actually..This is basically what the hormone is thinking… ‘Ok so she’s stressed, must be bad… She will need fat to survive and energy to run and fight back.’ This literally translates into a breakdown of lean muscle tissue into energy.  Imagine all those beautifully sculpted muscles going to waste on why ‘she never called you back.’  Cortisol also increases our appetite for fat and carbs because you know, we will need the extra energy to escape our life or death situation..  Well you can only imagine what happens to energy that isn’t burned.. it turns into fat, settling around your midriff.

 

Belly

 

We’re not quite sure how to tell you this but..cortisol also breaks down collagen in the body.  The process, know as fibroblasts, attacks the main structural portion of our skin, aka collagen, which is responsible for maintaining its strength, firmness and elasticity..

So, the moral of the story is, if you’re stressed, your bloated stomach is a result of cortisol wreaking havoc on your digestive system.  In addition to all those unnecessary late night fatty snacks that your body believes it needs to fight the enemy.

On a more serious note, it is important to keep in mind that your anxiety is not just affecting you mentally.  Its affects are far reaching on your body as well.  We probably sound like a broken record but, long walks, breathing exercises and yoga sessions really do work!