Is Stress Making You Fat?
- Thursday, 15 March 2012
So many clients come to me because they just can’t lose those last 5-10 pounds. As I work with clients in my 6-month program, we dive deeper into their lifestyle. What you eat is not the only thing that can cause you to gain weight (or store fat)!
This is something overlooked more often than not. Your environment and lifestyle are major contributing factors in your weight gain and loss.
What happens when you are stressed?
When your body is under stress, triggers in your brain send signals to the kidney to release large doses of adreneline and cortisol. Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies. Adreneline is produced when your body is (or you think it is) under attack or threatened.
In many cases today, these “attacks” are everyday stressors - work, etc. Cortisol increases your appetite and energy level. This hormone stimulates the storage and release of energy in the body. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream. Cortisol also alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes.
When cortisol is released and tells your body to use all of it’s energy (sugar), your body stops using fat for energy, and instead stores it. Cortisol turns off digestion and increases your appetite, therefore telling your body to use the sugar now, and store the fat for later. If you are someone who is constantly under stress, your body is becoming a fat storing machine.
Decrease your stress levels.
First, identify what causes stress in your life. Is there anything you can eliminate or decrease? Is there a way for you to change your perspective on something that typically stresses you out?
Sometimes we tend to stress about things that are beyond our control - if we can accept that there is traffic, and make the most of our drive, or find a new route, we won’t stress about it. Try to re-frame how you react to different situations.
Begin to practice natural stress reduction with these 5 tips:
Get more Vitamin D - from the sun or a quality nutritional supplement
Get more Magnesium- from foods like leafy greens, or a quality nutritional supplement
Increase your exercise- even a few push-ups or lunges when you are feeling stressed
Learn to meditate or breathe deeply
Get a massage or try acupuncture
Over time, stress can cause many serious health issues. The consistent release of these stress hormones cause damage in the body and can simply exhaust you. It’s important to get your stress levels under control. I find that once my clients begin to get a handle on their stress, those last 5-10 pounds fall off and stay off.