Stress is a physiological effect that runs along the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, specifically from the brain to the adrenal glands, the small glands found on the kidneys.
Typically, in a situation of physical or psychological stress, the person suddenly feels a strong need to eat generally sweet foods to calm down, just as medication would do.
Physiologically, stress hormones such as cortisol quickly increase the sugar level in the blood and, in turn, that of insulin. This could cause a later drop in sugar level (hypoglycemia) and creates an urgent need to eat.
Understanding stress will help you to learn how to cope with stress.
How Stress Can Lead To Weight Gain?
Four Stages of Stress
Stage One: A person is faced with a stressor that is:
- Physical: lack of sleep, running significant distances, infection, cold, etc.
- Psychological: fear of losing a job or being late for an important meeting, etc.
Stage Two: The body via the adrenal glands, automatically produce stress hormones known as adrenaline (epinephrine), noradrenaline (norepinephrine) and cortisol.
Stage Three: These hormones release an enormous amount of energy.
Stage Four: Two things can happen with this energy.
1. It can either be expelled. Stress reduces the quantity of blood going to the brain and increases blood movement to the muscles.
Do you remember your exams at school? Sometimes you barely remember answers that you knew. Humans have survived for centuries because of this stress reaction, which enabled them to fight, be stronger and run away quickly.
2. It can stay within you. Then, it attacks the immune system, weakens the individual, and makes us vulnerable to diseases. Our stress reaction is not well adapted to our modern lives, notably psychological stress.
Symptoms Of Stress
- Palpitations: your heart beats too fast
- Lack of air: you feel like you are suffocating or have a lump in your throat
- Swelling in the extremities: you have pins and needles in your hands and feet
- Dizziness: you feel like you are going to pass out
- Abdominal cramps or diarrhea: think of when you took exams back in school
- Headaches, feeling as though the head were in a vice
- Radiating muscular pain, often in the lower back
- Digestion problems, including nausea
Tips For Coping With Stress
Here is what you can do when you feel stressed
- Move, do intense physical activity.
- Peacefully let off stream. Tell off a tree or hit your pillow.
- Write down everything that comes to mind and let it all fade away, both concretely and figuratively.
- Use a relaxation technique. The more you do it, the more you will relax effectively (Listen to the relaxation part of your audios on the Motivation App).
- Avoid psychological stressors when you can.
- Avoid physiological stressors when you can. For example, sleep at least seven to eight hours a night or avoid stimulants like caffeine.
We’ve talked about how stress can make you gain weight and impede or slow down weight loss.