5 Signs you might have cortisol belly (and how to get rid of it for good!)

Are you feeling stressed out and noticing some unwelcome changes around your midsection?

You might be dealing with what some call “cortisol belly.” It’s not just about how much you eat or exercise; stress can significantly affect how your body stores fat, especially around your waistline.

Here are five signs that you might have a cortisol belly and some tips on how to tackle it [1]:

1. Abdominal distension

Feeling bloated or experiencing abdominal distension, even when you haven’t been overeating, can indicate a cortisol belly. Stress can disrupt digestion and lead to bloating and discomfort in the abdomen.

2. Emotional eating patterns

Do you find yourself reaching for comfort foods when you’re stressed or upset? Emotional eating patterns, where you turn to food for comfort rather than hunger, can indicate a cortisol belly [2]. Finding healthier coping methods, such as exercise or relaxation techniques, can help break this cycle.

3. Heightened anxiety

Do you feel more anxious or on edge than usual? Chronic stress can lead to heightened anxiety levels, which in turn can contribute to cortisol belly. Finding ways to manage your stress can help alleviate anxiety and belly fat.

4. Increased waist circumference

If your waistline expands despite your efforts to eat well and stay active, it could indicate a cortisol belly. Stress can cause your body to store fat around your midsection, leading to a larger waist circumference [3].

5. Irritability

If you’re feeling unusually irritable or moody, it could be a sign that your cortisol levels are out of balance. Chronic stress can affect your mood and make you more prone to irritability, which can, in turn, lead to emotional eating and weight gain.

So, how can you combat cortisol in your belly and get rid of it for good? The key lies in reducing stress and finding healthy ways to manage it:

  • Practice stress reduction techniques: Incorporate stress reduction techniques into your daily routine, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises or yoga. These activities can help lower your cortisol levels and promote relaxation.
  • Prioritize sleep: Aim for seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night. Lack of sleep can elevate cortisol levels and contribute to weight gain, so prioritize getting enough restorative sleep.
  • Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity can help reduce stress and promote overall health. Aim for cardiovascular exercise, strength training and flexibility exercises to keep your body strong and resilient.
  • Eat a balanced diet: Focus on eating a balanced diet rich in whole foods, including plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats. Avoid excessive sugar and processed foods, which can contribute to weight gain and exacerbate stress.
  • Seek support: If you’re struggling with stress or emotional eating, be bold and reach out for support. Whether it’s talking to a friend, family member or mental health professional, seeking support can help you navigate difficult emotions and develop healthier coping strategies.

By reducing stress and prioritizing your wellbeing, you can combat cortisol belly and achieve a healthier, happier you [4]. Remember, it’s not just about the number on the scale but about feeling good both inside and out.

[1] https://ca.style.yahoo.com/cortisol-belly-reducing-stress-fix-152855252.html
[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5958156/
[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3107005/
[4] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ways-to-lower-cortisol

The information included in this article is for informational purposes only. The purpose of this webpage is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.