My Experiment: Part 2

Stress Management and Cortisol

June 25, 20194 min read

Stress Management and Cortisol

People are always discussing the importance of managing stress.  The advice is very broad, so, let's break it down. 

How is cortisol related to stress?

Cortisol is "nature’s built-in alarm system". It’s your body’s main stress hormone used to control mood, motivation, and fear.

Many people understand it as a  “fight-or-flight” instinct in a crisis, but cortisol does so much more.


Manages carbohydrates, fats, proteins and how your body uses them.
Impacts inflammation
Regulates blood pressure
Increases blood sugar (glucose)
Effected by the sleep/wake cycle
Boosts energy to handle stress by increasing blood pressure and heart rate 

Out of control cortisol can lead to a number of health problems:

Anxiety and depression

Suppressed immune system
Heart disease
Memory and concentration problems
Problems with digestion
Trouble sleeping

Weight gain

At embody we focus on nutrition, fitness, and restoration. Each piece of the puzzle is essential for controlling tricky hormones, balance and improving overall health. If a member has spot on nutrition and exercises, but experiences chronic stressors without stress management, ugh, the viscous cycle begins.  Frustration leads to more stress! We need to address the stress before we can move forward.


Sweets and sugar were designed to be eaten infrequently on special occasions, not as habits.  Eating sugar, especially in response to stress, can be very disruptive to hormones and other important signals in the body increasing stress, and over time lead to blood sugar problems, cardiovascular issues, fatigue, weight gain and a host of other health concerns. Eating a cookie with ice cream has sugar, but sugar is hidden in things we consider healthy.

1 Lean Cuisine Sweet and Sour Chicken

300 Calories

20 grams of sugar

1 Luna Bar

180 Calories 

12 grams of sugar

Starbucks - Tazo Iced Green Tea Latte, Nonfat Milk

180 calories

36 grams of sugar

Three "healthy" items are 662 calories and 68 grams of sugar.

Our program hits 25 grams of sugar a day!

Learning how to find a plan that works for a lifetime is a better use of time and efforts.  Don't look for a quick fix with nutrition. Don't buy a food with great marketing. Enjoy REAL food that tastes great and you can enjoy with your family and friends. No bars or protein powder. Don't start a nutrition program that wouldn't be recommended for a 5 year old child. Eating healthy is eating healthy for any age. 



Bodies were meant to move.  Inactivity can cause dysfunction.  

No matter what your goals may be from weight loss to weight gain to feeling better or improving balance, your exercise routine should be goal oriented. Heading to the gym to lift or taking classes every now and then keeps you active, but routines may yield more expected results when designed with purpose.  Don't forget, your exercise routine may be a 5 minute walk and climbing a few stairs while others may have more vigorous sessions.  Work to your potential.

Don't mindlessly just start exercising.  Many of our clients are actually working out too much and that can have a negative impact on

our health.  


In my before photo, I was exercising a lot more than my after photo.​ In my before photo I had just completed the Rangar Relay and was exercising 2-3 hours a day.

Schedule those workouts with a goal in mind. Make those appointments become a habit. If you are struggling for motivation look for a program that doesn't break the bank but provides a safe workout with accountability. 



Healthy Body, Healthy Mind 

Acupressure uses manual pressure to stimulate the flow of energy in the body. According to the principles of Chinese medicine, different locations are considered significant for different health concerns. The inner workings of the body are seen to be reflected on the surface, so it can be recommended for pain, range of motion, organ disharmony, and even emotions.

Acupressure serves a similar role in healthcare as acupuncture, but without the use of needles.

In general, it differs from massage in that acupressure tends to be received without oils, and with clothes on.​

Commit to a weekly or bi-monthly plan in order to see the necessary results.  

The key to stress management is to find the right plan.  Stress needs to be managed when life is crazy.  Don't wait for life to settle down because it is truly a roller coaster

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Anne Rollins MS RD CSSD LDN

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