It is now known that stress can actually stop women in menopause from losing weight, especially around the middle. Stress can cause the body to secrete high levels of the cortisol hormone into the bloodstream because of the body’s “flight or fight” response to stress. Stress can be either psychological (mental and emotional) or physical.
Cortisol is secreted by the adrenal glands and is important for the regulation of blood pressure, the immune system, and many other functions. Cortisol can be good in small amounts, but high levels can lead to an increase in abdominal fat, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes and can also increase bad cholesterol levels and decrease good cholesterol levels.
High levels of cortisol can also decrease bone density, leading to osteoporosis and loss of muscle tissue, which will also slow down the metabolic rate, and it can also increase blood pressure along with other problems.
Each woman in menopause will react differently to stress; some will produce more cortisol to a particular stress while others will produce less. It has been found that those who produce more cortisol will actually eat more food as well, in particular, carbohydrates.
What you need to do to combat producing too much cortisol is to learn ways to relax and to maybe change your lifestyle.
Relaxation can be achieved in several ways either by exercising, meditation, yoga, or breathing to start with. Maybe one of the easiest and simplest ways is breathing. This is done by gently breathing in through the nose, gently expanding the abdomen, and then gently expelling the air through the nose pulling in the abdomen at the same time. While breathing out the air, you need to focus on that breath. After several breaths in and out you should start to feel yourself relax. You need to practice doing this exercise a few minutes a day and start by building up to five minutes in the end. You can also practice this when you are feeling stressed. Just a few minutes can slow your body down and help it to feel relaxed.
Lifestyle changes can be like changing your habits in the kitchen, getting enough sleep, or even organizing your time more efficiently so that you do not feel so stressed. Also looking after the body will help you to cope with stresses that you come across during your day.
So, if you are exercising frequently and eating properly, but you still are not losing any weight, especially from around the middle, then maybe you are suffering from high levels of cortisol caused by stress. Look at ways to solve the problem of stress and hopefully then you should see a difference in your weight and around your middle.