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Agnes Constantino, CLT, LMA
Where Does Belly Fat Come From?
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Where Does Belly Fat Come From?

Cortisol is a steroid hormone naturally produced from cholesterol in the adrenal glands. It is released by the body in response to stress and low-blood sugar by increasing blood sugar through glycogenesis. It plays an essential part in human nutrition as it helps to regulate energy in order for the body to meet its physiological demands for homeostasis. Studies have found, however, that chronically elevated cortisol levels have a negative effect on weight, immune function and chronic disease risk.

Cortisol is a best known as the “flight-or-fight” response as it temporarily increases energy production. Since the body is unable to discriminate whether stress is physical or psychological, long-term stressors can cause a response at the expense of processes that are not needed for immediate survival. This means that your body does not know the difference between stressing in traffic and being late as opposed to actually being chased by a lion and running for your life. Therefore, daily stressors are affecting cortisol levels continuously, and in some cases, unnecessarily.

Studies of women have shown that stress and elevated cortisol levels tend to cause fat deposits in the abdominal area rather than in the hips. Other studies have demonstrated that women who stored their excess fat in the abdominal area had higher cortisol levels and reported more lifestyle stress than women who stored fat primarily in the hips. Although weight gain or loss depends on other factors like metabolic rate, food intake, and chronic diseases, the evidence is still very strong that cortisol levels play a factor in belly fat.

Amidst the daily struggles of living a hectic life and balancing work, family, and social relations, it is important to engage in daily stress-relieving activities. Commit to a daily exercise routine. Join a spa or gym. Read a book, meditate, or soak in the tub. Get a massage or a facial. Whatever it maybe, all these actives will have long-term positive effects on well-being, both physically and psychologically.

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