How does stress affect your weight?

You may have heard that stress can actually affect your weight?
Well, if you have heard this, it is in fact true!

Stress affects you in two significant ways. The first cause is down to what the experts call Cortisol and that it is responsible for packing on the pounds especially around the torso and the tummy. What exactly is Cortisol you may ask. Cortisol is a natural hormone in the body produced by the adrenal glands and belongs to the hormone category called the “Glucorticoids” and these hormones have the ability to increase glucose/sugar levels in the system. The number one hormone to look out for is Cortisol when trying to determine what the body is doing under certain levels of stress. It is understood that Cortisol is produced by the body when we are suffering from all types of stress, be that physical, mental or emotional.Stress triggers can include lack of sleep, relationship difficulties, financial problems, poor diet, career uncertainty, medical shock or trauma, unhealthy eating habits and even intense physical training.

When your mind and body perceived stress the natural response is Cortisol floods into the system triggering the “flight or fight” response, which pumps glucose/sugar into your blood stream, tissues and muscles to increase your energy levels to tackle the treat.Over-production of the hormone Cortisol has been linked to storing fat on your belly and torso.But there is a twist because the type of body fat that settles on the belly or torso is in fact visceral fat. Scientists know that this type of fat is usually found around the internal organs and is much deeper within the body. Bear in mind that most body fat is known as subcutaneous fat and is usually stored just below the skin. Having visceral fat sitting on your belly or torso significantly increases your health risks as this type of fat is linked to heart disease and diabetes.The second way that stress can affect your weight relates to expression we have all heard of called “comfort food”. For many people, food becomes an escape from their problems and emotional triggers. Many people abuse food, just like some people abuse alcohol to find escape and comfort from their stressful lives.

Typically, the comfort foods people reach for when they are stressed out are usually calorie-rich, unhealthy weight-gaining foods. These include high amounts of sugar as found in pastries, desserts, chocolate, hotdogs, burgers, ice cream, and chips. Anyone who has seriously dieted in the past knows that by having just one hamburger or dessert implicates the emotions so much that is can ruin many days or even weeks worth of your hard work.These emotional stressors can also affect mood because when a person is actively trying to lose weight and making slow progress your mood can become apathetic or even depressed which could result in giving up their diet altogether. By learning how to manage stress you are in a better position to lose weight and keep it that way.