So perhaps this beta-male hormone isn’t entirely new, and it certainly isn’t ONLY associated with your belly fat…. However, it has taken a while for these concepts and ideas to fall more heavily into fitness and health-related discussions.
Today we’re going to talk about Cortisol, and how your gut can actually cause an increase in the production of Cortisol. This leads to a downward, out-of-control spiral into fat-belly beta oblivion. But don’t be too concerned… I’ll tell you how to effectively reduce your Cortisol levels so you can drop the excess fat and get a body that demands respect and submission from every single person you come in contact with.
The “Stress Hormone” = The Belly Fat Hormone
I’m sure you’ve heard about this stress hormone, cortisol, but in case you haven’t and you’re not in the mood to finger bang your google machine… I’ll just tell you:
- Cortisol is one of our naturally produced hormones
- It is necessary to survive, and it does some good things like help you deal with allergies
- However, if Cortisol levels are too high for long periods of time, it can cause muscle wasting, or a loss of muscle mass… Plus some other crappy physiological things.
- Prolonged stress and sleep deprivation are two major causes of high cortisol
Now that we’ve covered what our Wikipedia warriors probably figured out on their own (and bless you red pill poppers who actually did check the facts), here’s what you need to know. This is the information that’s a little harder to obtain from a quickie internet search, but you’ll see why your stress hormone is also your belly fat hormone, and how it cascades out of your control.
The Fat Cells In Your Gut Are Alive / Belly Fat Produces Cortisol…Which Stores More Belly Fat
I won’t get too nitty gritty with the science details, but numerous studies have noted that Cortisol directly affects fat storage and weight gain in stressed individuals. In fact, it can move fat from storage deposits in other body parts and relocate it to fat cells deep in the abdomen (1, 2), further encouraging your pot belly to protrude.
So if you didn’t think Cortisol sucked enough already, hear this: Cortisol also aids adipocytes (baby fat cells) to grow up into mature fat cells (3).
And while we’re on the road to stomach fat hell… there is also a compound in your belly fat that encourages EVEN MORE cortisol to be produced (3). So how the hell are we ever supposed to catch a break? Given this battle we’re fighting against our own bodies, one can only ascertain this simple truth:
The Most Important Quality of An Alpha
Qualities of an alpha aren’t just in how other people perceive and treat you. But rather, having complete control over a hormonal system that is designed to screw you over is the ultimate form of dominance. It’s a similar concept to being the type of guy that overcomes difficult circumstances or events in life that would tear most people down. The act of not just overcoming, but never giving up…. and coming out successful.
Having the self-discipline, willpower, and self-respect to treat your body like the temple that it is will not only give you more confidence. It will outwardly radiate to people you interact with, bestowing upon you to true essence of an alpha, rather than faking it til you (hopefully) make it.
So – Beer bellies are simply not alpha. Period. Not to mention this excess abdominal fat also suggests that you may have low testosterone, pushing you even deeper into your sad little beta cave.
3 Ways To Beat The Belly Fat Hormone Cycle
If you’re still with me and still plan on vanquishing that beta beer gut, then read closely. Earlier, we established that there are three major causes of this cortisol overproduction: Stress, Sleep deprivation, and excess belly fat. In fact, there is plenty of data that connects sleep-deprivation to belly fat (4). And I think we can all agree that lack of sleep also encourages more stress.
Are you beginning to feel like your waistline is royally screwed? Fear not. Here are three things you can do to establish dominance over your body’s unconscious hormone signalling:
- Stop looking at electronic screens 1-2 hours before bedtime – Phones, laptops, even TVs.
Your body may confuse the brightness from the screen with sunshine – and sunshine tells your body’s internal clock that it’s time to be awake(5).
- Try a day of fasting – not eating a single thing except water and sugar free beverages.
Not only can fasting help regulate your digestion, aid in recovery, and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety (6)… It has been suggested in research that fasting can actually help you sleep better. (7) Let me be clear, though. I don’t recommend this often. There is a point where fasting is dangerous and can lead to more fat storage, but one day out of the week can be beneficial. And lest we forget, not eating for 24 hours BLOWS. It’s probably one of the best parts of my day…. Ranking number two only to taking a #2…. Ha! Okay, maybe that was a shitty joke. Onto the last tip….
- Use this carefully concocted combination of naturally occurring amino acids, minerals, and herbs to help you get to sleep faster, sleep more deeply, and wake up feeling invigorated, refreshed, and recovered – mentally and physically.
I personally take this every night because research has shown these ingredients promote and encourage better and deeper sleep, improved relaxation, and even help encourage your body to release a hormone that directly opposes Cortisol… And can reverse the negative effects that cortisol has on your body.
Not only am I in it for the mental improvements that result from a good night’s sleep, but I’m not about to settle for a beta beer belly; you shouldn’t either. Especially when the fix is so simple.
So I’ll leave it up to you. If you want to reach your peak alpha status by finally winning the battle against your belly fat hormone, you have my respect and I’ll raise you this:
- Stress, visceral obesity, and metabolic complications. Kyrou I, Chrousos GP, Tsigos C. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2006 Nov; 1083():77-110.
- Epel, E.S., B. McEwen, T. Seeman, et al. Stress and body shape: stress-induced cortisol secretion is consistently greater among women with central fat. Psychosomatic Medicine 62:623-632, 2000.
- Tomlinson, J.W. & P.M. Stewart. The functional consequences of 11_- hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase expression in adipose tissue. Hormone and Metabolism Research 34: 746-751, 2002.
- Beccuti, Guglielmo, and Silvana Pannain. “Sleep and Obesity.” Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care 14.4 (2011): 402–412. PMC. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.
- Bunnell DE, Treiber SP, Phillips NH, et al. Effects of evening bright light exposure on melatonin, body temperature and sleep. J Sleep Res. 1992;1:17–23.
- Lutter, M. et al. The orexigenic hormone ghrelin defends against depressive symptoms of chronic stress. Nature Neuroscience 11, 752 – 753 (2008) doi:10.1038/nn.2139
- Michalsen A, Schlegel F, Rodenbeck A, Lüdtke R, Huether G, Teschler H, Dobos G, J, Effects of Short-Term Modified Fasting on Sleep Patterns and Daytime Vigilance in Non-Obese Subjects: Results of a Pilot Study. Ann Nutr Metab 2003;47:194-200