What Is STRESS?
On the topic of whether there is a link between stress and weight loss it is important to first understand what stress is and how it affects you. Stress is a very common word used by a lot of us on a daily basis. It’s a feeling that’s created when under pressure. Anything that poses a challenge or threat to our wellbeing is a STRESS.
Stress is an inevitable part of life. Modern life is full of hassles, deadlines, frustrations and demands. Stress isn’t always bad. In small doses it can help you perform under pressure and motivate you to do your best. Without any stress life would be boring and would probably feel pointless. However, when stress undermines our physical and mental health it becomes a problem. This happens when the mental or emotional pressure makes you feel unable to cope.
There Are 4 Stages Of Stress.
A person is faced with a stressor that is:
PHYSICAL like lack of sleep, running long distance or infection or
PSYCHOLOGICAL like fear of being late for an important meeting or fear of financial loss.
Throughout human history, stressors have been mainly physical: fighting for survival, having enough food etc. whereas nowadays they are mainly psychological and are the result of negative emotions like insecurity or anger.
The body, via the adrenal glands automatically produces STRESS HORMONES known as adrenaline (epinephrine), noradrenaline (norepinephrine) and cortisol.
These hormones release an enormous amount of ENERGY.
Two things can happen.
1. It can be expelled: Stress reduces the quality of blood going to the brain and increases the movement of blood to the muscles. Just think how easy it is to lose your keys when under pressure to get somewhere fast! This stress reaction is how humans have survived for centuries, as it enabled them to be stronger, to fight and to run quickly away from danger.
2. It can stay with you: Then it attacks the immune system, weakens the body and makes us prone to illness and disease.
Then everything is affected. How you feel, how you think, how you behave and how your body works. The most common physical symptoms are changes in sleeping patterns, eating patterns, sweating and difficulty concentrating. Some people turn to smoking or drinking more to dissipate that feeling of being overwhelmed.
CHRONIC HIGH STRESS CAN PREVENT YOU FROM LOSING WEIGHT OR EVEN ADD POUNDS!
As explained above, your body reacts to all stress in exactly the same way. So, every time you have a stressful day your brain instructs your cells to release those potent STRESS HORMONES. You get a burst of adrenaline releasing stored energy so you can fight or flee. At the same time, you get a surge of cortisol which tells your body to replenish that energy even though you haven’t used many calories.
This can make you VERY HUNGRY. And your body keeps pumping that cortisol as long as the stress continues. Unfortunately, we don’t crave healthy food in these situations. Instead we crave salty, sweet, high fat foods because they stimulate the brain to release PLEASURE CHEMICALS that reduce tension. This soothing effect becomes addicting so every time you’re anxious you want fattening foods, foods that are generally highly processed.
When adrenal glands pump out cortisol this slows down the production of TESTOSTERONE (muscle building hormone) so over time your muscle mass decreases, so you burn fewer calories. Cortisol also encourages your body to store fat, especially VISCERAL FAT (fat around the middle) which is particularly dangerous because it surrounds vital organs and releases fatty acids into the bloodstream raising cholesterol and insulin levels which result in coronary heart disease and diabetes.
S,o as you can see there is a powerful connection between stress and weight management. Become aware of your stress triggers and learn to beat them.
If you wish to know more about stress and the link between stress and weight loss, just reach out to your weight loss consultant.