Stress will always be a natural part of your life, but if your under stress to much it can have some really damaging effects on your health one being weight gain. What is the link between stress and weight gain though? The answer is cortisol. Cortisol typically works to fix any imbalances in your body but if you have excess amounts of it can slow down your metabolism and affect your blood sugar levels.
Cortisol plays an important role in your blood stream and is always present as it helps to regulate your blood pressure, maintain proper glucose metabolism, fight disease, and it also assist in maintain correct insulin levels within the body. This may lead you to wonder that if it’s so important, and performs all of those different purposes, how can it harm you and your weight?
Your body will always react the same when it’s put under high levels of stress, whether it’s a hectic lifestyle or a life and death situation. It triggers your fight or flight instinct which works by shutting down your metabolism for a short period and producing cortisol which all gives you a small boost in energy. Unfortunately though if you aren’t using that extra energy it produces it all gets turned into fat and because your digestive system is being shut down your metabolism slows right down.
It was a long time ago where we found ourselves in constant life or death situations, so these days if we find ourselves under stress it usually does involve burning off energy which means it all just gets turned into fat. This is a problem if you have a sedentary job like an office job which usually involves a high level of stress because you have no outlet for the energy. This along with your metabolism being slowed down leads to weight gain.
Here are some of the big factors that cause weight gain from stress:
- The simplest affects of stress is emotional eating and food cravings. This is why planning is important because it can usually lead to a lot of unnecessary and unhealthy food choices.
- Excess levels of cortisol slow your metabolism right down which means you burn less energy throughout the day.
- A prolonged state of stress also affects your blood sugar which can lead to mood swings, a loss in energy, and a number of other major health concerns.
There are some simple things you can do though that will help you balance your stress.
The first and most important thing you can do when under constant levels of stress is make sure your eating healthy. Making sure you have a balanced diet will help fix any of the imbalances that are caused by the increased cortisol levels.
The best thing you can do to maintain healthy eating habits is to have a realistic and well structured plan. If you plan your weekly meals and stick to them you should have no problem maintaining your eating habits, and avoid any unnecessary trips to the store.
So the main thing you need to keep in mind when it comes to stress is to maintain a healthy eating plan. A well structured healthy eating plan will help prevent most of the negative side effects of the cortisol.
Personal Trainer Seattle Cody has 12 years experience as a personal trainer. He started his career at the University of Washington as an instructor. He was in charge of running a beginning weightlifting class and was the creator of many new classes because of the demand for his knowledge and leadership skills. From there he trained at a corporate gym while gaining knowledge in the studies of human movement. He now has his own business with numerous pleased and fulfilled clients.
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