“Chronic stress and cortisol can contribute to weight gain” -Elizabeth Scott*
Stress is one of the biggest factors that contribute to weight gain and obesity in many people today. There are several ways stress can contribute to gaining unwanted weight and one of them is called the fight or flight response.
When our bodies are under stress we activate the fight or flight response. It triggers in our bodies the release of different hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol.
These hormones speed the heart rate, slow digestion, shut down blood flow to major muscle groups and change various other autonomic nervous functions. This gives the body enough energy and strength to either fight or run away from danger.
It is our body’s natural way of protecting itself but in today’s stresses, we don’t usually need to fight someone or run away to save ourselves. Every day, we have stressful times that we must face, like in traffic or during a stressful day at work.
So, when we return home from our stressful environment, our bodies are ready to replenish themselves. They need to return to their normal state by the relaxation response. If we don’t let our bodies relax, then all the stress that is still in our bodies will start to cause damage.
When our bodies are under stress, the hormones corticotrophin and adrenalin are released. These hormones produce a reaction that stimulates the release of cortisol from the adrenal cortex.
Cortisol releases glucose into the bloodstream. When we are over stressed, the glucose releases an abundant amount of insulin into our body. Insulin is part of the endocrine system that is a fat storage hormone.
This hormone overrides the stress signal from adrenalin to burn fat. The excess release of insulin gives the body the message to store fat in the abdomen and thighs.
The hormone cortisol can also contribute in other ways to weight gain such as metabolism and cravings.
Metabolism: When we are under stress, and our bodies starts to put out cortisol, this hormone can slow our metabolism, causing more weight gain than would normally happen. This also makes dieting more difficult.
Cravings: If our bodies are under a lot of stress, they can start to crave fattier, salty, sweet and sugary foods, also processed food and other things that are not as good for us.
These foods are typically less healthy and lead to increased weight gain, because they make our bodies feel extra protection. There are other ways our bodies put on fat from too much stress, like emotional eating, fast food and not enough exercise.
Emotional Eating: Emotional eating is an easy way to gain fat, because when we are angry, sad or frustrated, our bodies send out a signal that they need support.
Our bodies then start to produce this hormone cortisol, which makes us crave unhealthy food so our bodies can feel more protected from all the stress.
The hormone cortisol, also releases an excess of nervous energy, which often can cause people to eat more than they normally would.
Fast Food: Eating fast food can also cause a lot of stress and abuse on our systems, especially, if we don’t eat right and are in a hurry. The more stress which is in our life the more protection our bodies will feel they need and they will take action to balance themselves out. This means putting on more weight.
Not enough Exercise: Our bodies need a good amount of exercise every day, to feel healthy and strong. If we don’t get some exercise even a little every day our bodies will start to feel stress in the way we carry ourselves, in the way we sit and stand. Exercise is essential for keeping our bodies in shape, so that we don’t have to work so hard to stay healthy.
Here are some things we can do to reduce the daily stress, so that our bodies don’t have to work so hard and will start the natural weight loss process.
To follow all of these suggestions may be too much if our day is a very busy one, but if we implement any one of these, our daily life will be more stress free and this will be like a weight loss remedy for our body.
Hot shower or Bath: Take a hot bath or shower in the evening after work is finished. Taking a hot shower or bath helps to relax all the muscles in our bodies, providing release of all the built up tension and excess adrenalin.
Massage: Getting a massage not only helps our bodies relax and release built up tensions and stress but they also help our bodies be more flexible and look younger.
We can take a dry massage or an oil massage depending on what we are more comfortable with. Both are good.
Breathing deep: We can lie down on our backs and breathe deep, letting all our limbs rest and relax. While we are lying we can try to imagine the built up energy shooting out of us, through our fingers and toes. We can also put on some relaxing music. The key here is to breath deep and let all our limbs release the built up tension.
Yoga: We can do some yoga stretching to release our built up tension. Yoga is a form of exercise that will give us stress of our muscles but it’s a different kind of stress that helps to promote healthy firmness of our joints and muscles. Yoga also has the ability to help center and calm the mind. This can be a great stress reliever.
Walking: Taking a long relaxing walk outside so that we can breathe the fresh air and release all the stored up energy. John Gray says in his book How to get what you want and want what you have: Plants, trees and large bodies of water such as lakes and the ocean have a very wonderful ability to take our negative energy and stress and turn it into energy they can use to grow. That is why we feel so refreshed whenever we go for a walk outside in a park or near a lake.
Acharya D Hargreaves, is a published author of two health books, Digest Alive Lose Weight and build a great body Naturally, Digest Alive The Natural Cure to Heartburn and the owner of http://www.natural-way-to-lose-weight-fast.com a website dedicated to helping overweight and obese people with their weight problems.
“Obesity and Overweight issues are signs that our bodies are unbalanced, to naturally Lose weight quickly and keep it off, we need to make our bodies feel the need to balance themselves out, when this happens we will lose weight fast and keep it off.” He says.
In his spare time he likes to do 3D modeling and work with Art and writing, Acharya D Hargreaves lives on an Organic fruit orchard with his wonderful family.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com
*Elizabeth Scott is a wellness coach, health educator, and award-winning blogger with training in counseling, family therapy, and health psychology. Elizabeth works with individual clients as well as groups, and runs workshops on stress management, maintaining a high quality of life, and other topics related to healthy living. She creates all content on About.com’s Stress Management site, and edits About.com’s Healthy Monday Newsletter.
Further information on stress and weight gain
With the increasing pressure many people are facing, knowing how stress causes weight gain is important. The way we manage stress can be varied and dependent on our personal circumstances. Find more helpful articles and advice that can help with weight gain in our weight loss section.
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