Stress and Weight Gain: How Stress Can Affect Your Weight

From Elizabeth Scott, M.S.,
Your Guide to Stress Management.

Can Stress Make You Fat?

There are several ways in which stress can contribute to weight gain. One way has to do with the . Briefly, when we’re under stress, the fight or flight response is triggered in our bodies, leading to the release of various hormones that lead to changes in our functioning. Our bodies function like we’re in danger and need to fight for our lives (or run like heck), so we experience a burst of energy, a shift in metabolism and blood flow, and other changes. If we remain in this state for a prolonged amount of time due to chronic stress, this becomes dangerous to our health. Chronic stress weight gain are also linked, which is why some products like Cortislim can be marketed as diet aids. zSB(3,3) Chronic stress and cortisol can contribute to weight gain in the following ways:

  • Metabolism: When you’re under stress, do you feel like you’re prone to putting on more weight, even if you’re eating the same amount of food? Too much cortisol can slow your metabolism, causing more weight gain than you would normally experience. This also makes dieting more difficult.
  • Cravings: When you’re stressed, do you crave a nice salad, or do you reach for the Ben & Jerry’s? People experiencing chronic stress tend to crave more fatty, salty and sugary foods. This includes sweets, processed food and other things that aren’t as good for you. These foods are typically less healthy and lead to increased weight gain.
  • Blood Sugar: Prolonged stress can alter your blood sugar levels, causing mood swings, fatigue, and conditions like hyperglycemia. Too much stress has even been linked to metabolic syndrome, a cluster of features that can lead to greater health problems like heart attacks and diabetes.
  • Fat Storage: Too much stress even affects where we tend to store fat! Greater levels of abdominal fat are linked with higher levels of stress. Unfortunately, abdominal fat is not only aesthetically undesirable, it’s linked with greater health risks than fat stored in other areas of the body.

Stress and weight gain are also connected in other ways:·  Emotional Eating: Not only can increased levels of cortisol make you crave unhealthy food, excess nervous energy often causes people to eat more than they normally would. How many times have you found yourself scouring the kitchen for a snack, or absently munching on junk food when you’re not really hungry, but just overly stressed? ·  Fast Food: Experts believe that one of the big reasons we’re seeing more obesity in our society these days is that people are too stressed and busy to make healthy dinners at home, and are more often opting to get fast food a the nearest drive-thru. Do you ever find yourself paying more than you’d like to for food that’s more convenient than healthy? ·  Too Busy to Exercise: With all the demands on your schedule, exercise may be one of the last things on your to do list. If so, you’re not alone. Americans live a more sedentary lifestyle than we have in generations past, yet our minds seem to be racing from everything we have to do. Unfortunately, from sitting in traffic to sitting at our desks to sitting in front of the t.v. in exhaustion at the end of the day, exercise often goes by the wayside.Fortunately, there are things you can do to reverse the pattern of weight gain and actually reduce your stress level and your waistline at the same time.  

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