How to Get Rid of Cortisol Belly


Natural Solutions to Get Rid of Cortisol Belly

To address cortisol belly naturally, it’s essential to both reduce cortisol and manage other factors contributing to belly fat. You’ll need to take a multi-faceted approach that includes lifestyle changes, dietary adjustments, and stress management techniques.

Go for a Checkup

While chronic stress is the most likely cause of increased cortisol levels, it’s not the only one. Pituitary and adrenal gland tumors can also cause high cortisol levels, as can Cushing’s syndrome. Make sure you have a clean bill of health so that you’re not fighting a battle you can’t win. If an underlying health problem is increasing your cortisol levels, resolving it will help you get rid of a cortisol belly.

Ask your doctor about the medications you’re taking as well. Some, like prednisone, are known to increase cortisol levels. Your doctor may be able to find another medicine that works for you or change your dose. This will make tackling your cortisol belly much easier. As your meds won’t be working against you.

Manage Your Stress

Cortisol is the stress hormone, and chronic stress increases your cortisol levels and keeps them elevated. If you can manage your stress, you may be able to manage your cortisol levels and get rid of your belly. Easier said than done, we know.

Managing your stress is about finding what works for you. It may be as simple as spending some time in nature or hanging out with your loved ones. Yoga and meditation can help as can guided imagery, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation exercises. Working on mindfulness is also beneficial.

Mindfulness involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment. This can include mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) techniques, which help reduce anxiety and improve mood by focusing on the present and learning to accept it without an emotional response.

Dietary Changes

Chronic stress often changes the way we eat, increasing our cravings for and intake of high-calorie comfort foods. You need to combat these cravings while eating healthy foods that can help you manage your cortisol levels.

High-fiber foods keep you feeling fuller longer and will help you combat cravings. When looking for fiber, eat fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. One of the ways cortisol adds belly fat is by increasing your blood sugar levels. Foods rich in protein help to balance your blood sugar and, like high-fiber foods, can help you feel full. Reach for lean meats, dairy products, and eggs when you need protein.

Omega-3 fatty acids can also help you balance your blood sugar so indulge in fish, avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. Vitamin B helps your body metabolize cortisol, so eat beef, chicken, eggs, and organ meats (think liver). Magnesium too can help you metabolize cortisol and is known to have a calming effect. Foods high in magnesium include broccoli, bananas, and spinach.

As always, you should limit your intake of sugar and processed foods. These can spike blood sugar and insulin levels, contributing to fat accumulation around the midsection.


Fighting cortisol belly with exercise provides a two-pronged approach. Exercise helps you lose fat, of course, but it also helps to relieve stress. For overall fat loss, cardiovascular exercise and high-intensity interval training (HIT) work best. You will also want to incorporate strength training into your workout as building muscle increases your body’s resting metabolic rate. This means you burn more calories all the time, even when you’re not actively exercising.

Core training can help you build your abdominal muscles. Yoga and Pilates are excellent ways to build your core and are known for their stress-reducing properties.

Improve Sleep Hygiene

Getting enough sleep at the right times is critical for cortisol regulation. Cortisol levels are regulated by the body’s internal clock, or circadian rhythm, and exhibit a natural cycle over the course of the day. To help manage cortisol levels for better sleep, stick to a consistent bedtime and wake-up time, even on weekends. You should also engage in calming activities before bed to help signal to your body that it’s time to wind down. These can include reading, taking a warm bath, practicing gentle yoga, or listening to soothing music.

Caffeine can stay in your system for 6-8 hours and may increase cortisol levels, so avoid coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages late in the day. Also, heavy or rich meals before bedtime can disrupt your sleep; try to have your last big meal at least 2-3 hours before you go to bed. And limit screen time from devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers in the evening. The blue light emitted by screens can inhibit melatonin production, a hormone that helps control your sleep-wake cycles, and potentially increase cortisol levels.

If sleeping with a partner disrupts your sleep, try the Scandinavian sleep method. This method is one in which couples sleep with separate blankets rather than sharing a single one. This method is designed to cater to individual comfort preferences, such as differences in body temperature and movement during sleep, which can significantly impact the quality of rest each person receives.

Snoring can also significantly impact sleep. Consider solutions like anti-snoring devices, nasal strips, or a visit to a sleep specialist. You may also wish to upgrade to a larger bed. This gives both partners enough room to move freely during the night. Many couples find they sleep better in separate beds or even bedrooms.

Surgical Solutions for Faster, Long-Lasting Results

Working to improve a cortisol belly naturally takes time and doesn’t always provide the desired results. Surgery can provide much more immediate satisfaction. Make sure, however, that you address any underlying causes of cortisol belly, like prescription medications before scheduling surgery. Otherwise, your belly could come back.

Traditional Liposuction

Liposuction (lipo) is a popular cosmetic surgery technique used to remove localized fat deposits through suction. It’s true that lipo only removes subcutaneous fat (fat directly under the skin), and that cortisol encourages the body to store visceral fat (fat around the internal organs). However, cortisol also increases your desire to snack on unhealthy comfort foods, and this can add subcutaneous fat as well as visceral fat. If you’re losing weight but still have excess abdominal fat, it may be subcutaneous fat that lipo can help with.

You will be under general anesthesia during a traditional liposuction procedure. Once you’re asleep, the surgeon makes small, discreet incisions in the abdominal area. A large volume of tumescent fluid will then be infused into the area. Tumescent fluid is lidocaine (a local anesthetic) and epinephrine (a drug that contracts blood vessels to reduce bleeding).

A thin tube called a cannula is then inserted through the incisions. The surgeon moves it back and forth to loosen excess fat, which is then suctioned out of the body using a surgical vacuum or syringe attached to the cannula. When the desired silhouette is achieved, the incisions are stitched closed.

Many people considering lipo are often concerned about what the incision scars will look like. You can see real patient before and after pictures here in order to help set your expectations.

Awake Liposuction

A newer option is awake liposuction. Awake lipo is performed in the same manner as traditional lipo except that you are awake for the procedure. A local anesthetic is used rather than general anesthesia so that you can spend less time in our recovery room after your procedure. Awake lipo also allows your surgeon to have you move or flex certain muscles while they work, sometimes making for even better results.

Lipo 360

Abdominal liposuction can get you a flatter, more toned-looking belly, but it won’t do anything to address your flanks or back. Many patients undergoing abdominal liposuction opt for lipo 360. Because it addresses the waist, lower back, and hips, lipo 360 leaves you looking svelte from any angle, hence the name lipo 360.

Tummy Tuck

Depending on how large your cortisol belly grows and how elastic your skin is, you may find yourself left with hanging skin after resolving your belly. This tends to be a frustrating problem since there aren’t any exercises you can do to specifically work off loose skin. In this case, you may want to consider a tummy tuck.

During a tummy tuck, your surgeon makes an incision as low as possible on your abdomen. They will then remove the excess skin along with any excess subcutaneous fat. The remaining skin is then pulled taut over the belly and the incision is closed. The result is a flatter, more sculpted belly.

Benefits of Surgical Intervention

Surgical procedures like liposuction can provide immediate and dramatic improvements in the appearance of the abdomen, and they can provide them much more quickly than nonsurgical means. Surgical interventions can also target specific areas where stubborn fat accumulates, which can be difficult to do through diet and exercise alone, especially in the context of hormonal imbalances like those caused by elevated cortisol.

Although abdominal fat linked to cortisol is primarily visceral and internal, reducing overall abdominal fat can be beneficial. The recovery time for liposuction is only four to six weeks, making for a relatively short recovery time compared to other surgeries.

Natural and Surgical Approaches: Working Together

Although surgery is always an option, we do encourage patients to explore more natural solutions first. We do everything we can to minimize them, but there are always some risks associated with surgery. One way to reduce these risks is to be as healthy as possible when having surgery. Trying to lose your cortisol belly through diet and exercise will make you healthier overall, which reduces your surgical risks if and when you opt for surgery.

A healthy lifestyle will also help you after surgery. Liposuction and tummy tucks can remove existing fat, but they can’t stop your body from producing new fat cells. If you stop exercising and following a healthy diet after your surgery, you could gain weight again and form a new belly.

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