The C Word: Cortisol


I love my mum like crazy, but I swear she’s contributed to my love handles this week.

I don’t get to see my parents as often as I’d like, but I try to make it home once or twice during the week so we can have dinner together and catch up on news and gossip.

Conversations with mum is what I’d like to call “dancing with knives”- the knives being my favorite topics of boyfriends, wedding bells and babies. Usually, I have no problem dodging the sharp edges of the conversation but, fired up from news that yet another family friend has gotten hitched over the weekend, my head became a pin cushion for her many pointers.

When are you getting married? I want grand kids. At least get engaged first! What? You want to elope? I would disown you.” Wooooosarrrrrr. Jeepers mum, you’re only worsening my lack of marriage if you keep stressing me out and making me fat!

As I zoned from the random ranting, I googled “stress+fat” and came up with an interesting article by celebrity trainer Joe Dowdell.

Did you know that when we experience physical, mental or emotional stress our bodies respond to this by creating a hormone called cortisol?

Research has linked a high production of cortisol with storage of body fat, particularly visceral belly fat. Visceral fat is packed deeper in the abdominal cavity and around the internal organs, whereas “regular” fat is stored below the skin (known as subcutaneous fat).

Stress comes in many shapes and forms, however I think I can identify that the most common contributing factor for my case is an overprotective mother and lack of quality sleep!

My mummy has always been The Rock for my sister and I!

Mid sentence, I grabbed mum’s hand and gave her a hug. Yes mum, I will get married in due time. And when I do, you can help me plan it because I’m the person I am today thanks to you. I love you mummy and I will always be grateful for everything you have instilled and brought into my life…including my belly fat.

She looked at me incredulously, trying to see if my words were genuine. “I’m being serious,” I laughed.

Noticeably calmer and happy with my response, she jumps onto her next favorite topic: my sister. Ah mum, always worrying about her two brats 🙂

Read more about the stress hormone and how it effects the way your body is storing fat: [Joe Dowdell, CSCS, CPT: How can I get rid of love handles?]


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