I used to look in the mirror and ask myself this question all the time.
My problem spot has always been, you guessed it, my belly. The rest of my body is muscular and fit. But no matter how many crunches I performed, nor how often I bought or used the latest abdominal crunch machine, I simply could not achieve that washboard flat mid-section that I desired.
In an attempt at coming to terms with my tummy, I even named my muffin top and trying to talk to her to convince her to leave. Her name was “Lucille” after Lucille Ball, because the excess fat around my belly reminded me of a big loud aggravating red headed woman.
Because of Lucille, I could never truly fit in my skinny jeans. Because of Lucille, I felt fat, frumpy and bloated all the time. No matter what I did or how much I tried to “love-up” Lucille, she would not flatten.
After I trained with Dr. Sara Gottfreid, a Board Certified, Harvard educated gynecologist, her signature system “The Gottfried Protocol” helped me balance my hormones easily and bring me back to that wonderful “Goldie Locks” position — just right. Buh bye Lucille!
Cortisol Is the Culprit
In my training, I discovered that the belly fat wasn’t just a fact of life because I was over 50 and peri-menopausal. My out of balance hormones were causing the belly fat, specifically the hormone cortisol. Cortisol, our main stress hormone, is manufactured in the adrenal glands. When you are very stressed, your adrenals are on high alert and produce cortisol on a 24/7 basis.
Cortisol works like a sort of internal dose of Pepto Bismol to soothe your stress and bring you back to calm. My main hormone imbalance was low cortisol. With all of the stressors I have experienced in my life, it’s no wonder that my cortisol was low. Let me explain.
When you are running on stress and adrenalin like I was for so many years after my husband’s death, raising a young child all by myself and having an incredibly taxing 50-hour a week corporate sales job, high levels of cortisol was coursing through me day and night. Running in that high stress state for so long moves your system into an even more dangerous hormone imbalance –low cortisol.
When I entered perimenopause, I went into “adrenal fatigue” where the adrenal glands just shut down and say “Enough! We are not doing this anymore!” Those silly little beautiful adrenals made me feel like the stress of my life was hijacking my health — and it was. When cortisol is produced in high quantities the cells in your body become “cortisol resistant” and they don’t allow any more cortisol to shimmy into them. The cortisol has to go somewhere, and BINGO, it gets stored right in your belly. And no amount of exercise alone is going to stop it from accumulating there.
I’m happy to say that you can get your cortisol levels in check through eating better foods, including many more greens, and by eliminating sugar, dairy and gluten. Add meditating regularly and deep breathing and mindfulness exercises throughout the day and taking some amazing supplements and, like me, your cortisol levels can get back to normal.
For more information about my upcoming workshops or coaching programs to help you get rid of your muffin top, contact me and let’s begin to bringing your to optimal health and happiness today!