First off, if you don't own Robb Wolf's, The Paleo Solution, you are behind the times and need to order it asap. Not only is he hysterical in a nerdy kind of way (which in my book makes him totally hawt - we could get down and dirty and talk science...rawrrr), but the guy is pure genius and has an innate ability to educate Joe Schmo on hormones and how our bodies respond to what we do or do not put in them. Buy it; you won't regret it.
Next, I want to tell you why I'm obsessed with cortisol as of late. Yes, I claim to be working hard at being healthy and doing what is best for my body, but then I drink 4 bottles of vino and stay up into the wee hours of the morning (not pointing fingers ladies, just sayin'). Then what do I do? Drink a pot of coffee, complain about looking like I'm forty when I'm only thirty, spend the day running around like a maniac, then go home and gear up for another night out. What does Sunday look like? Repeat the above. What does this mean for my body? It means I don't sleep and my body releases cortisol; it means I drink caffeine like it's going out of style and my body releases cortisol; it means I forget to care what I eat because I'm so tired and my body gets stressed and releases cortisol. Why does this matter? Because, while cortisol is great in small doses, large doses jack you up (for lack of a technical term).
And here's the brief, minus all the sciency stuff that bores most people to tears (even though that is my favorite part): prolonged increases in cortisol, brought on by stress, caffiene, and lack of sleep cause a myriad of health issues. We're talking big issues here, folks. Decreased muscle and bone density, memory loss, high blood pressure, immune deficiency, and flabby bellies to name a few.
So, stop stressing your body out. Eat clean, sleep long and well, exercise (using varied, functional movements...CHEESE!), lay off the espresso (some is okay, just don't use it as your primary fuel), and SLOW DOWN! Your body will thank you for it.