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Does Cortisol Cause Weight Gain? Give Your Hormones a Break

Belly fat is not just unattractive. It’s a major health issue. Belly fat contributes to health issues like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.


Belly fat is usually the more dangerous visceral fat that surrounds your organs. Sometimes belly fat is simply the result of overall weight gain, but it can also be caused by hormones. Changes in your reproductive hormones can contribute to an increase in belly fat, but there is another hormone that also contributes - cortisol.




Stressed cortisol



What is cortisol?

Cortisol is known as the stress hormone. It is produced by the adrenal glands which sit on top of your kidneys. Cortisol is released when your body experiences any kind of stress. That includes acute or short term stress, chronic or long term stress, and traumatic stress that occurs when a life threatening event takes place.

Cortisol has several important functions within the body.

  • Regulates the stress response. Cortisol levels are increased when your body is under stress which helps your body to react to the stressor. This is the fight or flight response.

  • Helps to control metabolism so your body can react properly to the stressor with its energy stores

  • Regulates blood pressure

  • Regulates blood sugar. Cortisol increases blood sugar levels in response to the stressor.

  • Controls inflammation

  • Helps to regulate your sleep/ wake cycle. Your cortisol levels are usually highest first thing in the morning and drop in the evening so your body goes into the rest and digest state

The problem occurs when cortisol levels remain high. Then these systems can be dysregulated.



Definitive Guide to balancing hormones for lasting weight loss


What causes chronically high cortisol levels?

Chronic stress is the biggest contributor to chronically high cortisol levels. High cortisol levels are also caused by some diseases, or from certain medications.


Restricting carbohydrates can also lead to higher cortisol levels. So diets like the keto diet can contribute to higher cortisol levels.


How does Cortisol cause weight gain and belly fat?

High cortisol cause weight gain and are linked to abdominal fat. Here are some of the reasons why.

  • When cortisol levels are high, you want to eat more, especially more carbohydrates which can end up being stored as fat.

  • Since cortisol helps to control blood sugar, high levels of cortisol lead to high blood sugar. But your body doesn’t really need the extra fuel, so it ends up being stored as fat.

  • High cortisol levels can also increase the risk of insulin resistance which in turn makes it harder to lose weight, especially around the belly.

  • High cortisol levels can also make sleep more difficult, which can cause weight gain.


How does cortisol cause belly fat


Other issues with high cortisol levels include:

  • High blood pressure

  • Fatty deposits between your shoulder blades

  • Low bone density


How to achieve lasting weight loss and balance hormones

How can you reduce chronically high cortisol cause weight gain?

Reduce stress. You can manage stress by meditating, using relaxation techniques, and with exercise.


Eat a diet that has the right balance of fats, carbohydrates, and protein. And make sure that you are choosing the right types of these foods.


Get the right balance of exercise. Exercise that is too intense can raise cortisol levels, but a healthy amount of exercise can help to keep cortisol and other hormone levels balanced. Walking and yoga are great exercises for reducing cortisol levels.



How to reduce cortisol levels



How can I help?

High cortisol is just one cause of belly fat. I can provide a custom plan that will help you balance hormones with the right balance of fats, carbohydrates, and protein. My 25+ years as a Holistic Nutritionist and Online Weight Loss allows me to provide you with the support you need to make the changes necessary to balance hormones and lose belly fat.




Warm wishes,


Vicki Witt Nutrition and Weight Loss





Vicki Witt | Holistic Nutritionist | Online Weight Loss Coach | Reiki Master | Certified LEAP allergy therapist Over 25 years of successfully helping you achieve optimal health and weight loss 🍏 | www.vickiwittweightloss.com


About Vicki:

Vicki Witt is a Holistic Nutritionist, Online Weight Loss Coach, and Reiki Master. She has been practicing over 25 years and specializes in holistically customizing diet and lifestyle plans to each individual for weight loss and hormonal control. Her clientele often report they feel the best they have ever felt and wish they had started sooner. One of the USA and Australia's top Nutritionists, she has won multiple awards for her services in the industry.

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Certified and Registered Nutritionist


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