Managing Stress and Cortisol Levels with Pre-Made Decisions

May 03, 2023


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There are days the constant bombardment of questions has me ready to catch the next ride to crazy town.


I'm not talking about big, scary decisions but the daily ones. The decisions you need to make every single day.


What's for dinner? When should I exercise? How many meals should I eat? When am I going to walk? What should I eat for a snack? Is this enough protein? What trim healthy fuel should I eat next?


The level of panic that starts to set in makes me feel like Lucille Ball in "I Love Lucy" trying to deal with too much candy on the conveyor belt.


It's all too much!





When you live in this state of panic and constant decision-making, you are setting yourself up physiologically for increased cortisol levels. Those cortisol levels trigger your body to store fat at your waistline and create an uptick in inflammation.


By leaving multiple decisions to the moment, you're increasing your chances of failure.


But you can shift to a new method. A method of making decisions ahead of time to reduce stress and decrease cortisol and inflammation. And as you release daily stress, you trigger your body to allow stubborn belly fat to melt away.


Since we cannot avoid making some decisions, we aim to reduce our daily decisions. Have you ever noticed how making decisions can cause you to be indecisive? It feels like your brain gets stuck in a hamster wheel and can't figure out how to get off. Indecision leads to stress. So let's find a way to eliminate some of those decisions.


Look back at our lengthy list of questions: What's for dinner? When should I exercise? How many meals should I eat? When am I going to walk? What should I eat for a snack? Is this enough protein? What trim healthy fuel should I eat next?


Can you choose one question you have to answer every day and write down how you can decide that answer? Try to eliminate the daily question with your premade decision.


This might hurt your brain a bit because your brain needs to do some work. And you know what? Our brains avoid pain! Seeking pleasure instead of work appeals to your brain. You struggle because it takes brain energy to think ahead and plan. This is a skill you are going to need to learn.


To get a quick and substantial win to reduce belly fat, I encourage you to focus on meal planning and prepping. Cut decision fatigue, stress, and overwhelm by deciding what you will eat and when. Allowing too many options or trying to work your weight loss plan "perfectly" is not peaceful. 


Making decisions ahead of time and following through with those decisions will open up your body and brain for more peace and enjoyment. It isn't enjoyable to question each decision or to make bad decisions because you get overwhelmed.


Let's pre-decide your breakfasts for the next week or so. 


Jot down five breakfasts you like that are easy to make and are on the Trim Healthy Mama plan. Next, write out 3 lunch options you can rotate for the next 2 weeks. And lastly, think about your dinners and scribble out 5 ideas.


Congrats! Your first step to cutting overwhelm is started. 


Now, you can add these to your planner or calendar or choose to rotate through them in a loop.


When you pre-think your meals and put them in your calendar so you know what you will eat, you free your brain up for more critical work. 



Delaying or procrastinating decisions increases cortisol levels and stress. High cortisol is a huge reason you may have increased abdominal fat. 


In midlife, estrogen declines, the very estrogen you need to help keep cortisol levels low. Add in extra stress from life or work, and you will see your cortisol levels rise. But you can calm your brain down by making decisions ahead of time. 


Shift into your rest and digest and make decisive decisions from your prefrontal cortex, not just your desire or your panic. 


When you decide on your meals ahead of time and plan, it will serve you and help keep your cortisol levels lower. It will help you show up and make great decisions you can feel good about. 



Once you have your food plan and you've made your decisions, don't ask yourself if you want to do it. Get stubborn and practice showing up for yourself. Create a positive relationship with yourself and then show up to accomplish what you've already decided. 


Play your decisions forward. How will you feel by following the premade plan you created? Please don't give yourself the option to change your plan until you have thought about how it will make you feel afterward. 


It's empowering to focus on how you show up for the better instead of letting things swirl in your brain. 


Start where you are. 


Pre-decide as much as you can with your food and meals. And maybe with your movement or exercise too. Get it on your calendar but keep it simple. Less is best; this doesn't have to be complicated, and you don't have to spend hours in the kitchen or creating menus. 


Next, notice how you feel when you follow through with your decisions during the week. Notice how you feel in your body and in your mind. 


Getting rid of belly fat goes hand in hand with living a life of less stress. An easy way to move in that direction is to simplify your meal plan and decide as much as possible ahead of time.






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