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Can Stress Cause Weight Gain?

stressed woman holds her head between hands

Does Stress Cause Weight Gain?

Stress is seen many people in this century and when it is not controlled for a long time, it may harms the metabolism. It causes many posible future disease and also weight gain and prevent loosing weight.

Long-term studies have shown that stress is associated with weight gain. So why does stress cause us to overeat and gain weight?

Excessive stress causes the body to secrete cortisol, which is naturally created and known as the stress hormone. Cortisol is normally secreted in a balanced way during the day for the body functions. Cortisol, produced by the adrenal glands in our kidneys, is released more when we are under stress. This puts your body in a fight-or-flight response, temporarily stopping regular body functions, and slowing your metabolism. While this hormone is essential for survival, excessive amounts can be harmful.

As a result of excess cortisol secreted under extreme stress, the release of glucose into your bloodstream increases. All of this is done to give you the energy you need to escape a risky situation (also known as the fight-or-flight response). An increase in blood glucose level increases insulin secretion. If this situation becomes permanent, our appetite increases and our sugar and carbohydrate intake increases.

Cortisol stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism and creates a surge of energy throughout your body. High cortisol levels can cause cravings for sweet, fatty and salty foods. This means that you are more likely to eat sugary drinks or fast food than a healty meal.

Excess cortisol can slow the number of calories your body burns. A slowed metabolism and a change in the way the system works can cause potential problems such as weight gain, burnout, depression, high blood pressure or a slowed immune system from type 2 diabetes. Since weight gain due to excess cortisol will usually be around the abdomen, this creates the basis for cardiovascular diseases.

How can health problems caused by stress be prevented?

While reducing your stress levels may seem impossible sometimes, the effects of high cortisol can still be managed. To begin with, practicing relaxation through mindfulness, meditation, yoga or deep breathing, getting enough sleep, socializing can help bring the production of this hormone back to normal levels.

healty and unhealty foods side by sideIn addition, selection of diet with quality foods, you will have less of empty calories. Before you eat, ask yourself why you are eating. Are you really hungry or do you feel stressed or anxious? If you’re craving food when you’re not hungry, find something to distract you. Do not skip meals, especially breakfast. Eat a healthy diet, such as whole grains and a variety of fruits and vegetables. Aim to include most food groups in your meals.

Running exersizeExercise is a good way to manage your stress hormones. Whether you’re out for a run, jogging with your family, or going to the gym, exercise will help you maintain lean body mass. Exercise is especially important during prolonged periods of high cortisol levels.

In conclusion, it is important to remember that there is no miracle cure for high cortisol. Exercising, healty diet, and relaxing are the best ways to lower the levels of these harmful hormones that increase in response to stress.

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