What does your cortisol hormone tell you about holiday weight loss?

Has this ever happened to you? Have you left for your long planned holiday chubbier than what you would have liked?

I know, you had the best intentions of losing weight, feeling lean, and sporting a flat tummy the month before you left. Of course, you intended to eat clean and light, but instead you were flat out, tidying up loose ends so you could escape for 10 days. But, as you step onto the plane and catch a glimpse of yourself you think, "wow I really do need a holiday I am chubby, tired and bloated." Despite the greatest determination you have succumbed to real life–which is busy - full of work, children, laundry, a messy home, a rascal dog.

So you take a deep breath and remind yourself about the quote you recently saw on Instagram - “Don’t waste 95% of your life to lose 5% of your weight!”  You’re just glad that you made it onto the plane and try not to overthink it. And then an unusual thing happens! On your return after your holiday, you catch a glimpse of yourself in the window before boarding. There you are feeling lean, energised and seethe is a glimmer of a waistline. You’ve had a fabulous holiday because you didn't beat yourself up. You ate well, laughed a lot, and even drank more wine than usual. You were not in your usual state of busyness, and yet you lost a couple of kilos without even thinking about it. What did you change? Busy-itis. You were not setting your alarm, rushing for your coffee, barreling into a spin class all before 7am so you could get home to say goodbye to the kids before you set off for your office for your 9am quarterly meeting.

If that doesn't sound like you and you’re not physically stressed out, maybe it is all going on inside your head? Your calm exterior doesn't give anyone hint of the endless monkey chatter of things to do- parents, siblings, and others to help, debilitating anxiety about anything that comes into your vortex.

So what does busyness have to do with weight? When we are in a constant state of stress, our adrenals are turned on for longer than we actually need. Adrenals are wonderful powerhouses that give us our cortisol which gets the glucose pumping. The glucose is delivered to the cell and provided that the cell’s insulin receptor is open and receptive, the glucose goes in and is used for energy. Think of this receptor like a slide- sliding glucose into our cells. Our bodies are wonderful until we push them over the edge and damage the slide. If our cell is constantly getting glucose from adrenals, stress and cortisol overload, the insulin receptor gets annoyed and begins to close up, leaving glucose outside the cell, creating blood sugar and insulin chaos. This chaos makes us chubby, tired and bloated.

I can hear you say - really? I thought that is what happened from poor food choices, especially hidden sugars? Exactly. This is what happens from poor food choices but it also happens from too much stress, the same biochemistry chaos that makes us gain weight. And what often happens to most of us is we have the volcano of both - stress and food - creating insulin resistance. Insulin is our fat storage hormone. We want to be kind to it and if you're stressed and addicted to 'cortisol and chaos' here are five ways to lose weight even on your holiday.

Five ways to lose weight on your holiday

  1. Sleep more - weight gain and poor sleep are very much linked. You’re on holidays - have a little nap without feeling guilty. Think of it as beauty sleep!
  2. Nourish yourself deeply - turn the music on and ask your partner for a massage and promise you will return the favour. Music, massage, sex, reading or whatever makes you feel a deep sense of peace will lower your cortisol.
  3. More sunshine - research show those with higher vitamin D levels improve their immune status, bone strength, and metabolic weight more effectively.
  4. Laugh - when the stress hormone cortisol isn’t in chaos, we have the ability to use our happy hormone- serotonin more.
  5. Sit less - most of us are sitting too much at work. This also is affecting our insulin levels so move about and enjoy being desk-less.  Walking and biking is a great way to see your new holiday surroundings. Incidental calorie burning from movement is not only good for the waist but for a happy mind as well.

Now you can enjoy that holiday even more knowing the health benefits it's having!!

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