How Constantly Feeling Stressed Can Lead to Weight Gain

Studies have shown that excess stress can cause sleep disturbances, headaches, depression, and digestive problems. According to a new research, chronically high stress levels can wreak havoc on your metabolism, thereby resulting in weight gain and obesity.  Stressful experiences trigger hormone production in the body, which can lead to unhealthy eating habits. When under stress you may turn to food as a coping mechanism or a way to make yourself feel better. However, it’s important to note that prolonged, chronic stress can quickly lead to hormonal changes that may drive cravings for less healthy food and even up your appetite. Here’s why you may need to consider destressing ASAP. 

Stress makes you Miss out on Sleep

Excess stress has been shown to cause sleep disturbances. Sleep deprivation impairs your immune system, emotional stability, and cognitive functions. Research shows that sleep deprivation decreases level of human growth hormone and affects your body’s sensitivity to insulin. As a result, your body experiences decreased metabolic rates and a higher propensity for fat storage. It’s important that you sleep between seven to nine hours a day to promote a healthy weight. 

Stress Promotes Insulin Resistance

The body’s response to high stress levels has been linked to changes in insulin. Stressful experiences causes the body to tap into and break down protein stores into sugar or blood glucose, providing it with energy for a fight or flight response. The two hormones released at this point are adrenaline and cortisol. After some time, the effects of adrenaline wear off leaving the stress hormone, cortisol hanging around. Elevated cortisol and blood sugar levels then promote insulin resistance in the body. Over time, your body will have increased fat storage which can lead to obesity and Type 2 diabetes. 

Stress Moves Fat to your Belly

As mentioned, elevated cortisol levels in the body has been shown to drive cravings for less healthy food, which make it easier to accumulate belly fat. The secretion of the stress hormone, cortisol in response to a stressful condition signals your body to store belly fat. Whether you’re overweight or have a healthy weight, stress-induced belly fat increases your risk for diabetes and heart attack. 

It Kicks your Cravings into High Gear

When a person is constantly experiencing stress, he or she may experience overexposure to the stress hormone, cortisol. As a result, he will turn to food as a way to cope to stress. Note that cortisol is a significant appetite stimulant. The stress hormone can make you crave for foods that are high in sugar, fat or both. Once consumed, high-sugar foods or junk food make so easier to accumulate belly fat. Foods with high sugar and fat content are typically less healthy and will certainly affect your overall health.  

Exercise Wrecks your Workouts

Psychological stress has been found to inhibit muscle recovery after a resistance training exercise. Cortisol is a muscle-degrading hormone and has been shown to blunt the effects of muscle building hormones like testosterone. If you’ve ever encountered a person under stress, you know how hard it is to get them out to just do any exercise. Skipping the gym is so easy when a person is stressed. 

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