4U Fitness Podcast Episode 19 – Understanding Cortisol, a Low-Carb Lifestyle and Stress Management

Nutritionist and lifestyle blogger Jen Masson dives into the impact of Cortisol and the role it plays in our health. She explains the pitfalls of chronic cardio and how it affects our metabolism and gives some easy steps for how we can manage our stress.

[2:30] – Growing up in an Italian household, Jen struggled with being overweight and started her first diet at 13

[4:10] – While getting her education, she learned a certain way of eating in school but it still wasn’t working. So she started experimenting with eating lower carbs and it worked for her a certain period of time. As time progressed she incorporated fewer refined carbs, less bread and starches — not a keto diet — more of a balanced approach.

[6:20] – Jen currently dabbles with intermittent fasting, keto, carb cycling — it just depends on the season! Intermittent fasting is such a great practice to incorporate during the holiday season.

[7:45] – Everyone’s body is different from the next, so you have to eat according to your body type, workout routine, etc. It’s also important to consider the quality of food — it’s just as important as quantity!

[9:45] – Importance of eating grass-fed, organic and quality foods — you are what you eat.

[11:10] – Becoming in tune with your body signals — do you know what it feels like to actually be hungry. Hunger can mask thirst!

[13:10] – What is cortisol? Produced by the adrenal glands — it is fight or flight hormone. It will raise blood sugar so your muscles have fuel to do what they need to do. Increased cortisol will signal HPA access, which then sends a signal to your adrenals to stop producing cortisol.

[15:05] – When you are in a state of constant stress, your cortisol is high and your body doesn’t know what to do with it – this can cause sleep disruptions (tired but wired), plays a role in hunger and cravings, and will encourage your body to store belly fat.

[17:05] – Too much exercise can work against you – chronic cardio can cause your cortisol to shoot up.

[20:00] – Excess cardio will eventually burn lean muscle – and muscle is necessary to maintain a healthy metabolism. Lower impact resistance training like Pure Barre worked for Jen.

[21:35] – Find a routine that works for you and consider doing some type of weight bearing activity. Make sure the workout is appropriate for you!

[25:35] – How can we keep our cortisol/stress in check? Get your cortisol checked, practice self-care, meditation, any type of stress management (aka massage)

[27:40] – Be mindful of your alcohol consumption – it can be detrimental to your progress.

[28:20] – Get yourself some laughter for stress management.

[29:50] – To help manage cortisol, avoid sugar, processed foods and refined carbohydrates as much as possible — will cause a hunger/craving cycle.

[31:45] – Practice moderation and remember that it’s the everyday little things that you do consistently that matter the most.

Where to find Jen Masson:

Free Keto Calculator

Facebook @JenMassonNutrition Jen Masson KetoStyle Nutrition

Instagram @ketostylewithjen

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