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Can stress cause belly fat? 

Your body wants to protect you, especially when you are stressed. You have two small glands that sit on top of your kidneys called the adrenals, or your stress organs. When faced with stress, our bodies release a hormonal cocktail of adrenaline, cortisol and insulin. Fat in the abdominal area has a greater blood supply as well as more receptors for cortisol, the body's main stress hormone.

Cortisol levels rise and fall throughout the day, but when you're under constant stress, the amount of the hormone you produce remains elevated. With high stress and, consequently, high cortisol levels, more fat is deposited in the abdominal area since there are more cortisol receptors there. Also, when there is too much cortisol on board, it increases your appetite for fat and carbohydrates, which increases your calorie intake and increases overall body fat. You must eliminate or decrease the stressful influences on the body so the adrenals don't release stress related hormones on a continual basis.

One of the best remedies for stress is exercise. Exercise is also one of the best remedies for belly fat. By adding exercise into your daily routine or increasing the intensity of your current routine, you are likely to reduce stress and lose the love handles.

For more information on fitness and lifestyle, contact The Fitness Principle with Mackie Shilstone at East Jefferson General Hospita at (504 ) 457-3100 l, or go to


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