Is stress causing your weight gain?
Reduce stress- I realize this is not always an easy thing to do. Most of us are juggling way too much and going through the day at warp speed, trying to get more and more done. By having a high stress level, not only is it harmful to your health, it’s harmful to your waistline as well.
When you are constantly under stress, hormone levels, like cortisol and insulin are elevated. The elevation of these 2 hormones can sabotage your weight loss efforts and actually cause weight gain.
Stress and Metabolism
What happens when we experience stress?
• increased insulin and cortisol production (decreases calorie burning capacity)
• digestion shuts down as blood flow is diverted to extremities and away from gut
• gut bacteria begin to die off
• excrete nutrients via urine and sweat
• poor absorption of fat valuable vitamins D, E, & A
• excrete water soluble vitamins B & C
• fat deposition, especially in the mid section (belly fat)
• decreases thyroid, growth hormone and sex hormones
• decreased oxygen intake and utilization
• increased neuropeptide signaling for appetite (you get hungrier)
• decreased muscle building capacity
• increased inflammation
When we are chronically stressed we comfort ourselves by eating. Most comfort foods tend to be high in sugar fat and salt. This is due to our brain’s reward circuit which drives us to seek out these highly palatable foods.
If you eat when you are stressed out you actually decrease your bodies ability to digest and metabolize that meal. You will tend to eat fast, chew very little and eat larger portions that you need. If you notice you have indigestion, bloating, heartburn, etc. after a meal you’re not alone. Simply slowing down and chewing more can relieve these symptoms for most people. Take more time with your meal and practice “mindful eating”.
So, while you may think you can “handle it” as far as your stress level goes, we aren’t meant to be under constant stress and it takes its toll. If you are doing everything right as far as diet and exercise but you’re under stress everyday, you’re not going to see or feel the results you want.
What are some ways you can reduce your stress level? Is there something you can start with this week or this month?