We are living in a world that conditions us to thrive in a frenzied spiral of constant connectivity and over scheduling. In today’s fast paced, highly connected society, it is no surprise that stress is something that many of us grapple with.
Chronic stress negatively impacts the body in a number of ways, one of which is weight gain.
For many of us, chronic stress not only increases our appetite and subsequent caloric intake, it also causes us to hold onto that weight once we have gained it.
Continue reading to learn how stress can influence weight gain and what technique you should use to keep stress at bay.
How exactly does stress contribute to weight gain?
When you experience a stressor, your body assumes that you have just exerted yourself physically (i.e. running from a predator) and therefore need to refuel your body. However modern day stressors don’t usually require physical exertion. Chances are you are most likely sitting at your desk, cortisol surging as you struggle to meet a deadline. Thus, this stress increases appetite and hunger, despite not really needing the calories. This can ultimately lead to weight gain.
Stress induces emotional eating as food intake releases short term feel good chemicals that help to blunt the stress. When we are stressed, we crave comfort foods which are laden with calories. This only relieves our stress for a short amount of time, causing us to head back to the kitchen again and again. It comes to no surprise that over time, this can cause weight gain.
Stress can cause us to lose our much needed sleep. We may stay up late to meet a deadline, or even struggle to get to sleep or remain asleep due to over worrying. Not only does sleep deprivation weaken our ability to turn down unhealthy foods, it also interferes with the chemicals which control our appetite, thereby causing increased calorie intake.
Make time to exercise to decrease stress
Aside from dealing with your stress head on and finding a solution, exercise is one of the best ways to manage stress. Not only does it decrease levels of cortisol in the long term, it also releases endorphins which heighten your mood.
Regular exercise increases your energy and resultant productivity. This may help you to get more done, thereby reducing your stress levels even further.
If you’ve just trained and still feel just as stressed out, at least your daily dose of activity will help you burn off any extra calories.
Written by Alana Willis
Alana is a qualified Personal Trainer who is passionate about instilling her love for training into those around her.
Alana recognises that to achieve long term results, the inextricable link between exercise, nutrition and mindset needs to be addressed.
This has led her to pursue a degree in Psychology with a Masters of Nutrition.
The health industry is complicated. Throughout the course of her studies, Alana has refined her ability to distill and explain only that which is relevant to your specific needs.
Alana is always happy to have a chat. Get in touch today on Facebook or via mobile on 0400 681 528 discover how she can help you improve your most valuable asset: your health.