We've all seen those commercials on TV that warn of "stubborn belly fat" brought on by too much stress. The pills being hawked on these programs promise to block the stress hormone, cortisol.
Ever wonder if there's any truth to what they're saying?
Can women really get fat from being stressed? If you were to go without eating for an entire day, but were stressed out the entire time, does that mean you'd gain weight?
Sounds preposterous. But it's true!
Cortisol is a corticosteroid hormone produced by the adrenal gland in your adrenal cortex. It's your body's modern-day answer to the "fight or flight" responses we had in reaction to stress (back when we were true hunters and gatherers).
- Increases blood pressure and blood sugar
- Breaks down lipids and proteins (in case you'd rather 'fight' than 'flight')
- Acts as a water diuretic hormone (leading to dehydration)
- Physically eats away at the pleasure centers of the brain (producers of norepinephrine, epinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine)
So cortisol does exist and is indeed harmful to the body if left unchecked.
When Do You Feel Stressed?
Studies have shown that most women are more stressed than they truly know. In today's modern economy, where women are becoming more likely to branch out on their own and start their own businesses, female entrepreneurs are often faced with multiple stress levels:
Child care, household finances, peace of mind, shared financial obligations with the spouse, and other such obstacles are creating more stress for women who own businesses.
Some Symptoms Of Stress Include:
- Trouble sleeping
- Lack of energy
- Lack of concentration
- Eating too much or not at all
- Higher risk of asthma and arthritis flare-ups
- Stomach cramping
- Stomach bloating
- Skin problems, like hives
- Weight gain or loss
- Heart problems
- High blood pressure
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Neck and/or back pain
- Less sexual desire
- Harder to get pregnant
Click To Enlarge.
More And More Women Today Are Learning About
The Stress Of Owning Your Own Business.
Before You Buy A Magic Pill
Don't place your order with the number on the bottom of your screen just yet... there's a catch (isn't there always?) Most of these pills rely on dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a natural steroid hormone with calming affects on the central nervous system.
Possible Side Effects Of DHEA:
According to the Mayo Clinic's website (mayoclinic.com), possible side effects include, but are not limited to:
- Abdominal discomfort
- Nasal congestion
- Rapid/Irregular heartbeats
But Wait, There's More!
Straight from<Mayoclinic.com: "In women, the most common side effects are abnormal menses, emotional changes, headache, and insomnia. Individuals with a history of abnormal heart rhythms, blood clots or hypercoagulability, and those with a history of liver disease should avoid DHEA supplements.
Because DHEA is a hormone related to other male and female hormones, there may be side effects related to its hormonal activities. For example, masculinization may occur in women, including acne, greasy skin, facial hair, hair loss, increased sweating, weight gain around the waist, or a deeper voice.
Other hormonal-related side effects may include increased blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, altered cholesterol levels, altered thyroid hormone levels, and altered adrenal function.
Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hyperglycemia, high cholesterol, thyroid disorders, or other endocrine (hormonal) abnormalities. Serum glucose, cholesterol and thyroid levels may need to be monitored by a healthcare professional, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
In theory, DHEA may increase the risk of developing prostate, breast, or ovarian cancer. DHEA may contribute to tamoxifen resistance in breast cancer. Other side effects may include insomnia, agitation, delusions, mania, nervousness, irritability, or psychosis.
High DHEA levels have been correlated with Cushing's syndrome, which may be caused by excessive supplementation." (Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dhea/NS_patient-dhea, Copyright 2008)
In easy to understand terms... that's turning women into men! And since when is cancer a good trade-off for losing weight?
What Does It All Mean?
Numero Uno&Mdash;There's no 'magic pill' that will get rid of the stress and block cortisol (without killing you in the process). So what can you do to relieve stress, build antibodies, and get rid of fat all at the same time without taking hours out of your day to drive to the gym, workout, shower, and get on with your life?
The Women's Guide To Handling Stress
Step 1: Stretch
There's nothing like a good, fifteen minute total-body workout that focuses on muscle toning and deep breathing to relinquish stress and help you lose weight - I'm talking about yoga! And let's face it, you've never seen a woman look like a muscle-y linebacker when she's finished with her yoga session, have you? Who wants to risk even more with hidden dietary nightmares in a pill?
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You've Never Seen A Woman Look Like A Linebacker
When She's Finished With Her Yoga Session.
Step 2: Make Time For Yourself
As women, we tend to "tend and befriend", to focus on the needs of everyone else around us rather than our immediate issues. We feel "mommy guilt" for taking time to grow a business rather than put a band-aid on a booboo.
In the evenings, I schedule bath time for myself. Bubbles, a good book (I recommend Healthy Selfishness by Drs. Rachael and Richard Heller), and I'm in heaven! Other "you time" can include scrapbooking, working on cars, sewing, candlemaking, or anything that will allow you an escape. Heck, even a good movie will work!
Step 3: Take Care Of Yourself
You can't very well be of any use to others if you don't take care of you! Getting proper nutrition, sleep, and exercising regularly (or at least, when you can) will make all the difference in the world in your energy levels, overall health, and even mental acuity!
Step 4: Talk To Your Friends
Often times, the women you surround yourself with (the like-minded ones) can be so therapeutic. Coffee and my best girlfriend are a recipe for laughter, de-stressing, and make for one relaxing morning.
Step 5: Don't Be Afraid To Be Emotional!
Picking your battles can be the fastest route to a stress-free environment. Most female entrepreneurs (myself included) find that when something doesn't go our way, we rely more on our emotions than we should.
But that's what's so great about being a woman! Sometimes, a good cry is all it takes to get rid of whatever I'm trying to hold back. Then I can wipe away the tears and get back to my day. Sometimes, I just wanna yell. I do, feel better, and get back to what I'm doing.
Whatever you do to eliminate stress in your life, do so with the knowledge that you're not only contributing to your overall health, but you might actually be losing weight in the process!