Are you struggling with stress from work, school, family, friends or even your partner? Are you noticing some extra weight that definitely wasn’t there a few weeks ago? Well sorry to be the bearer of bad news but your stress is causing some unwanted weight gain.
A lot of people don’t realize that their stress is actually causing them to gain weight as most people link stress with weight loss but it works both ways. We have looked into various ways stress can cause weight gain and we are bringing them to you!
Fight and Flight
When we are feeling the pressure we tend to overeat, this process is linked with emotional eating. This occurs due to something called fight or flight, which is your body’s survival mode. Once you have reached a particular stress level, your body does what it feels is right, which in most cases is overeating.
You might now be wondering why? Well your body thinks you’ve used calories to deal with your stress, even though you haven’t therefore it makes you replenish the calories that haven’t actually gone missing.
Cortisol and Comfort Foods
Cortisol is a stress hormone, which rises during times of tension. This then results in over eating becoming a habit. Due to the increased levels of cortisol in your body your insulin levels are high and you blood sugar drops, which causes you to crave sugary, fatty foods.
Glucocorticoids are natural steroid hormones produced by the body to reduce inflammation. However these hormones are boosted when the body experience short and long term stress. Scientists conducted a study were they bathed progenitor cells in a cocktail of glucocorticoids over a period of 4 days and after a 48 hour people the hormones caused the cells to turn into fat cells. Crazy right?
If you are like most of the world, some nights you lie awake and stress about bills, an assignment, your children or work. Unfortunately our minds are very overactive and sometimes have difficulty switching off, which causes us to loose sleep. Sleep is an influential factor in weight gain or loss and a lack of sleep disrupts the functioning of ghrelin and leptin, which are chemical that control appetite. We also tend to crave carbs when we are tired or grumpy from lack of sleep.
When we are feeling anxious we tend to overeat to make ourselves feel better in that moment, this is also referred to as emotion eating. In the American Psychological Association’s “Stress in America” survey, 40% of respondents reported they dealt with stress by overeating and watching television, both of which cause weight gain. Anxiety also makes you eat more mindlessly because you are worrying about your thought not the calories you are consuming in that moment.
Lowering your stress levels will assist in weight loss and weight control but it is also important to better the quality of your life, interactions and experiences. We suggest partaking in activities such as meditation, yoga and walking to try and relieve some of your stress levels.