Are your favorite jeans getting tight and you don’t know why?
Even though stress has no calories, it can dramatically contribute to weight gain. Yes, you read that right, stress causes you to gain fat. Whether we’re stressed because of constant, crazy demands at work or we’re really in danger, our bodies respond like we’re about to be harmed and need to fight or run for our lives. Cortisol is the “stress hormone” that our bodies automatically produce when we are under stress.
Chronic stress and cortisol are a perfect recipe to make you fat. Too much cortisol can slow your metabolism, causing more weight gain than you would normally experience. Additionally, people under chronic stress tend to crave more fatty, salty, and sugary foods. These foods are typically less healthy and lead to increased weight gain. 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, which is a name for a group of risk factors that often appear together and increase the risk of greater health problems, like heart attacks, coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Excessive stress even affects where we store fat; high levels of stress are linked to more fat around your middle. Unfortunately, abdominal fat is not only aesthetically undesirable, it’s also linked to greater health risks than fat stored in other areas of the body.
Fortunately there are simple things you can do to reduce stress and stop weight gain. Add physical activity and relaxation techniques to your daily routine to see rapid results. Exercises such as aerobics, weight lifting, or running can help. Even adding simple things like taking the stairs rather than the elevator or going for a walk at lunch are easy ways to reduce stress. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, breathing exercises, guided imagery, and meditation can also stop the damage caused by chronic stress.
If you need some help losing weight, contact me for a consultation. I can help.