Stress, hormones and belly fat discussed at Living Well seminar

Dr. Elizabeth Seymour

Dr. Elizabeth Seymour

Marie R. Milleage

The Living Well at Robson Ranch seminar in April featured Dr. Elizabeth Seymour who asked, “Tired of what you see when you look in the mirror?” Many residents could relate to the question and were surprised to learn the answer to what distorts the midsection into a large belly. The answer: more stress leads to more hormonal imbalance that leads to an unbalanced diet and ultimately leads to belly fat.

Stress releases the hormone cortisol and causes higher insulin levels, lower blood sugar levels and a craving for sugary or fatty foods. Dr. Seymour used several slides to augment the explanation of how imbalances in hormones affect many body areas and functions. These variances can prevent weight loss, notwithstanding calorie counting, following a strict diet or developing a stringent exercise program.

Hormones are chemicals that control how cells and organs perform. Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system, stimulates the discharge of stress hormones in the body and causes changes as in the “fight or flight” response. Evidence supports the principle that what is eaten plays a role in hormonal changes and shows that a high carbohydrate diet may be linked to shorter periods of restful sleep, diminished sleep quality and affected sleep cycles. As sleep has a restorative function, inadequate sleep may increase blood pressure and create inflammation.

How much and what exercise is beneficial for you is equally important as how and what you eat. Dr. Seymour acknowledged that Robson Ranch residents enjoy a substantial variety of physical activities. There are exercise opportunities for all levels of ability including yoga, aqua Zumba, golf, tennis, softball, pickleball, horseshoes, boot camp, Pilates, other activities and the fitness center. In 2015 the Mayo Clinic reported that, “Virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever.”

Dr. Seymour advised being an advocate for yourself to reclaim your health and life. Health and wellness is 95% self-care when individuals participate in wellness behaviors that promote good health, prevent disease and manage chronic disease.

DATCU credit union provided seminar refreshments and door prizes. For additional program information, please contact Marie Milleage at [email protected] or view

All content within presentations sponsored by the Living Well at Robson Ranch Committee is intended for general information only. It should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of a professional health care provider. Neither the Living Well at Robson Ranch Committee, Robson Ranch Denton HOA, nor Robson Communities is responsible or liable for the content and do not endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised in any presentation.