Are you having problems at work or home? You feel stressed, and it is beginning to show in different ways than one. Recently you have also spotted a bulge in your midsection, which was not there earlier.
You may be wondering where these extra pounds are coming from. Stress is one of the culprits which plays a pivotal role in weight gain. Initially, when you are stressed, you have a lesser appetite and have weight loss, but in the long run, chronic stress can boost your hunger and increase your weight.
People with glucocorticoid sensitivity and stress are most susceptible to obesity or its maintenance. Proper treatment and diagnosis can help in the treatment strategies of such individuals.
Why Stress Leads To Weight Gain?
Below are the four major reasons why stress leads to weight gain –
When your brain detects a threat, it can be a snake in the grass, a big credit card bill, or a grumpy boss. It triggers the release of chemicals, including adrenaline, CRH, and Cortisol. Both your brain and the body prepare to handle the threat by making you feel alert, able to withstand an injury, and ready for action.
Adrenaline makes you feel less hungry because your blood flows from the internal organs to the larger muscles. Doing so prepares the body to fly or fight. Sometimes, the effects of adrenaline wear off, cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone,” hangs around, and it begins to signal the body to replenish its food supply to the body. Earlier, our ancestors fought wild animals.
In the video, Dr. Niveditha from Kolors Healthcare is discussing about the relationship between obesity and stress.
They used up a lot of energy, so their bodies required more stores of glucose and fat. In today’s world, individuals are more worried about how to pay the bill or work for long hours to meet the deadline and do not work off much of their energy to deal with the stressor. Unfortunately, we are all struck with the neuroendocrine systems that do not get the update. Hence your brain would ask you to reach for the plate of chips or cookies.
1. Belly Fat
Earlier, our ancestors were fighting tigers and famine. Hence, their bodies were adopted to store fat supplies for longer. But what is unfortunate is that life crises and work-life demands chronically stress us. We tend to get an additional layer of visceral fat deep inside our bellies. Our belly has ample blood vessels and cortisol receptors, so the whole process can flow more efficiently.
The downside is that excess belly fat is unhealthy and difficult to eliminate. The fat releases varied chemicals, which trigger inflammation, increasing the likelihood of developing heart disease or diabetes. And this will make it very difficult for individuals to fit into those lovely jeans they splurged on, leading to more stress about the money wasted.
Anxiety can make you eat more without much thinking. This happens when individuals churn having worrying thoughts and do not focus on the taste of the food. They do not worry much about how much they have eaten or whether they are full. When you start eating mindlessly, you will eat more yet feel less satisfied.
3. Lack Of Sleep
The Blood sugar level decreases when the individual is stressed, which leads to fatigue. If you drink caffeinated soft drinks, tea, or coffee to stay awake or alcohol to feel better, your sleep cycle will be even more disturbed. Sleep is an influencing factor that makes the individual gain or loses weight. We find lack of sleep might disrupt the functioning of leptin or ghrelin-these chemicals control appetite. We also crave carbs when we feel grumpy or tide due to lack of sleep.
Weight Gain Can Lead To Varied Health Problems
When an individual carries excess weight, it can lead to numerous health problems including –
- Heart diseases
- High blood pressure
If you believe your weight has increased due to stress, you should inculcate some good habits that can help you return to your old self. You must start eating healthy, become active and indulge in those activities that would make you more relaxed and happy. The more determined and focused you are, the faster you can be your old self.
How Can I Reduce My Stress Levels?
4 simple and effective ways to relieve stress –
You can either meditate, or you can do some mindful breathing exercises such as yoga and tai chi. When you practice this, it can help clear your mind and curb comfort food impulses. Meditation helps in reduction of adverse aspects of psychological stress, as per research.
2. Get Emotional Support From Loved Ones
If you are feeling stressed about something, it is always better to talk to someone you can lean on. As per a study done on “Social Support and its Implication for Health“, it was found that the support is protective for health.
You can also indulge in reading your favorite novels or any informative books which interest you. Reading helps you to relax your body by lowering the individual’s heart rate, and at the same time, it eases the tension in their muscles. A 2009 study conducted by the University of Sussex found that reading can help reduce stress by nearly 68%.
4. Listening To Music
Many feel relaxed when they tend to hear music. It has been found that individuals when they listen to quiet, slow classic music, offer a tremendously relaxing effect on both bodies and minds. Indian classical music also helps individuals have beneficial effects on physiological functions such as slowing the heart and pulse rate, lowering blood pressure, and decreasing stress hormone levels.
Do not stress. This would increase your weight further; follow the above simple and effective ways to relieve stress. That’s not all, you can also take expert help from us, and we will help reduce your weight without much struggle.
Stress Leads To Weight Gain FAQs
Why Does Stress Cause Over Eating
When we feel a lot of pressure, we tend to become overeaters. Due to stress, our body goes into survival mode, and here body thinks it has used calories to deal with the stress. Hence body needs to replenish the lost calories. In reality, you may not require to replenish your body with extra calories.
How Stress Can Cause Weight Gain?
During tension or worry, the “stress hormone” cortisol levels increase. This leads to higher insulin levels, your blood sugars start to drop, and you crave fatty and sugary foods. Individuals prefer cheese or cookies instead of bananas or salad; hence they are referred to as comfort foods.
These foods can lower stress and be a source of solace. Our body releases chemicals when individuals consume comfort food; these foods might have a direct calming effect. The major big culprits are fatty foods and sugars. Many of us have a strong love for them.
How To Stop Cortisol Weight Gain?
Cortisol is a hormone often associated with stress, anxiety, and weight gain. While cortisol has its rightful role in the body’s response to danger or stress, too much can lead to weight gain and other health problems. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your exposure to cortisol and offset its effects on your health. One way to do this is by practicing mindfulness meditation. This practice allows you to focus on your present moment without judgmental thoughts or worries about the past or future.