The Facts and 8 Solutions to Stress Related Weight Gain


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downloadThe rise of stress in our society is a major concern of our nation’s health. Recent studies show stress to be a contributing factor in the obesity epidemic. Stress does have a major impact on our ability to stop weight gain or shed unwanted pounds. The lifestyle we lead combined with stress works through a complicated hormonal and metabolic function and balance. The continued recurrence of stress alters the amount of calories we need, where the body stores the calories we don’t burn and most important which type of calories we burn; fat, sugar or muscle.

Understanding why stress causes weight gain sheds light on the need to counter this problem. Using practical strategies to eliminate stress related weight gain is easier than you might think. The body’s response to stress is regulated by the brain, hypothalamus, pituitary and your adrenal glands. When the brain gets a warning signaling stress it sends a message to the adrenal glands. In a split second the adrenal glands flood the body with hormones such as adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol. The hormones in charge of providing the body with energy, in this case the energy for fight or flight. In history this was used to fight off predators or other threats to our possessions or life itself. Today we don’t utilize the flood of these hormones each time we become stressed. This leaves us with an overabundance of cortisol.

The biggest concern is the amount of cortisol you have in comparison to other hormones. Cortisol is a major stress hormone. High levels of cortisol induce a serious change in the body’s physiology. Excess cortisol regulates appetite and increases cravings for sweets and fatty foods. One good indicator you have high levels of cortisol is a lack of appetite in the morning. Cortisol can often decrease hunger all the while increasing the desire to eat high levels of sugar and fat. Many people become frustrated wondering why they unconsciously eat these fattening foods when they don’t feel hungry. This is the reason the high levels of cortisol make you fat. You eat unhealthy foods that cause you to become fatter and fatter.


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Cortisol also affects the brain chemicals dopamine and opioid leading to depression and or anxiety. This contributes to a lack of motivation, movement and the cravings for high calorie foods. This condition is more commonly referred to as emotional eating. In fact it is a real physical change in the center of the brain creating these eating habits which cause an obese body type.

What you can do?

1 – Add protein to your diet. Eat a breakfast consisting of protein every day. Simply eating two eggs is a perfect example. Protein stops the normal rise of cortisol in the morning helping to eliminate cravings for unhealthy foods containing fat and sugar. Protein also sends a message to the brain that you’re full helping you to stop eating when you should.

2 – Exercise with weights to raise the bodies HGH levels which support and build lean healthy muscle tissue to burn fat. HGH is known as a youthful component making us feel energetic and youthful. Having more energy to do what you need relieves stress.

3 – Walk to relieve stress, it’s easy to do and very enjoyable benefiting your physical health tremendously. Walk with a friend or neighbor to increase the benefit. Adding social interaction to a relaxing routine benefits both the body and mind. This helps you to deal with daily stresses in a more productive and calm manner.

4 – Add more chocolate to your diet. Use cocoa, not the sweet type, the 100% unsweetened cocoa powder to increase the levels of phenyl-ethyl amine (PEA) a dopamine mimicker decreasing the pleasure seeking behavior stress induces. This decreases cravings for fat and sugar. Simply sprinkle it over oatmeal or add it to coffee to enjoy the healthful benefits.

5 – Eat 4 to 6 small healthy meals a day to stop the fasting effect which signals the brain to reserve calories and store fat. Eating smaller and more frequent meals keeps your metabolism burning consistently. It also prevents uncomfortable hunger pains disrupting your day.

6 – Practice yoga and or meditation daily to quite the mind and prevent stress. Daily meditation has proven to benefit the overall health of the brain helping to prevent neurological problems common later in life.

7 – Listen to soothing music you like. You can also benefit from listening to upbeat music while you distress dancing around the house. Listening to music while doing routine household chores adds pleasure to the experience helping you to become more involved. A clean house makes anyone feel good about life in general.

8 – Take a soothing bath with 10 to 15 drops of lavender and 1 cup of Epsom salts. The lavender soothes the mind while the Epsom salts detoxes the body. Epsom Salts are also know to relax tired or sore muscles.

Simply becoming aware of the role stress plays on your weight is half the battle. Following the basic tips outlined above will have you stress free helping you to shed the extra pounds once and for all.

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