Here's why you may be gaining weight (Source: Unsplash)

On gaining weight, the first thing that most minds think about is foolproof ways to shed those extra kilos. But have you ever thought if all that weight on your face and stomach could actually be a sign of an underlying issue?

"If you have extra weight on your stomach, belly fat, mummy tummy, round face, get easily overstimulated, need daily naps, stay awake at night, wake up between 2-3 AM, and crave sugar and carbs, you are experiencing high cortisol, and must add something that supports healthy cortisol levels to lose weight and heal," said Richa Rathore, weight loss coach, and collagen expert.

Cortisol or the stress hormone is vital for the body's functioning, including metabolism, immune response, and stress regulation. "Cortisol is essential for life. However, if cortisol levels are high, it leads to weight gain and can be detrimental to a person’s health. Whenever we experience stress, cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands, further increasing blood sugar levels for immediate energy and enhancing the brain’s use of glucose. While these actions are beneficial in acute stress situations, chronic stress leads to prolonged cortisol release, which can cause various health issues," explained Dr Praveen Ramachandra, consultant, endocrinology and human metabolism, SPARSH Hospital, Bengaluru.

Are you sleeping enough? (Source: Pexels)

According to Dr Ramachandra, weight gain is seen when cortisol levels are due to "fat redistribution".

"Cortisol allows the breakdown of muscle tissue to release amino acids for energy, reducing muscle mass and metabolic rate, which can lead to weight gain. This results in the storage of fat, particularly visceral fat around the abdominal area, and subcutaneous fat in the face," said Dr Ramachandra.


The reason why high cortisol is harmful is because it results in cardiovascular issues, metabolic syndrome like insulin resistance, increases risk of type 2 diabetes, weakens the immune system, reduces bone density, and increases risk of osteoporosis. "It can also lead to mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and cognitive impairments," noted Dr Ramachandra.

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The best way to manage it is by consulting an endocrinologist.

Experts urge it is necessary to adhere to certain lifestyle modifications like eating healthy food, managing stress, indulging in physical activity for more than 30 minutes, and avoiding drinking alcohol or caffeine, along with maintaining a good sleep schedule to manage cortisol.

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2024-07-08T09:34:33Z dg43tfdfdgfd