Lose Weight By Learning About Your Adrenal Glands

Trying to lose weight? Focus on the adrenal glands.

When you hear the words “weight loss,” adrenal glands probably don’t come to mind. You might not even know what they do! These glands are a part of the endocrine system and are rarely talked about. But, when it comes to shedding pounds, they might just be what saves the day.

What Are Adrenal Glands?

Adrenal glads are found on each kidney and secrete hormones.

On each kidney, there’s an adrenal gland that secretes hormones. The inner portion, or the adrenal medulla, makes adrenaline and noradrenaline. Meanwhile, the outer portion is called the adrenal cortex. This part releases aldosterone and cortisol. Sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone are also produced by the adrenal glands.1

Why Are Adrenal Glands Important?

It’s all about the hormones. Cortisol, aldosterone, adrenaline, and noradrenaline are in charge of numerous body functions. Examples include blood sugar levels, salt and water balance, pregnancy support, and weight gain.2 Specifically, the “stress hormone,” cortisol, is linked to weight.

How Adrenal Glands Affect Weight Gain

Adrenal glands release cortisol, which is linked to weight.

When you’re stressed, something called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis gland is constantly triggered. This makes the adrenal glands secrete lots of cortisol, which then binds to fat cells. As a result, an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase is activated. And the enzyme’s job? To turn circulating triglycerides into free fatty acids, or FFA.3 The more FFA you have, the less efficient insulin gets at its job of breaking down fat. The end result is weight gain!4

Stress also sparks emotional eating, where you won’t be able to tell the difference between hunger and emotion or notice when you are full.5 Plus, as cortisol builds up, appetite increases.6 No wonder chronic stress is linked to a bigger waist circumference.7 By getting a hold on stress, you

can stop increased cortisol from ruining your weight-loss goals.

How To Treat Your Adrenal Glands Well

Stress relief is the name of the game. While easier said than done, it’ll benefit both physical and mental health. Take some time to see what works for you.

1. Meditate Regularly

Focused meditation reduces cortisol levels.

Meditation is the practice of quieting the mind and body. Focused meditation is particularly useful for weight loss as it reduces cortisol levels.8 An object, such as a candle, can be used for this technique.

Even a short 10-minute session will do the trick. Who knew feeling zen could help you lose weight?

2. Practice Yoga

Yoga decreases cortisol levels in just one session.

Yoga is another way to decrease

cortisol. The benefits are seen after just one session!9 Imagine the long-term advantages for weight control when done continuously.

If you’re new to yoga, take a beginner class or watch online videos at home. Don’t worry if you aren’t very flexible, though. The goal is to stretch in a way that’s comfortable for your body.

3. Try Aromatherapy

Lavender and bergamot reduce cortisol and anxiety.

Never underestimate the power of lovely aromas. For instance, in a 2016 study, inhaling lavender essence lowered anxiety and cortisol in open-heart surgery patients.10 Another 2015 study found

that bergamot essential oil also decreases cortisol in healthy females.11

4. Have Fun

Laughing reduces cortisol and anxiety and enhances motivation.

Make time for laughter. Watch funny movies, go to comedy shows, and spend time with loved ones. Laughing not only reduces cortisol but also reduces anxiety and enhances motivation. The brain’s reward system also gets a boost.12

5. Avoid Cigarettes

Nicotine withdrawal increases cortisol levels.

While people smoke cigarettes to de-stress,

it can actually make things worse. Once you’re addicted to nicotine, withdrawal raises cortisol levels.13 Work on quitting if you smoke. Otherwise, simply avoid starting the habit.

As you can see, stress affects more than just your brain. The adrenal glands control the way your body handles the weight. It’s an excellent reason to make stress management part of your weight-loss plan.