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The effect of stress on weight

You’ve heard it before, and we’ve talked about it in our blogs that stress can definitely have an effect on weight management. In the current state of the world, this seems more important than ever to address. So we wanted to delve into that topic a little today to show you why it’s so important to keep your stress in check! 

Acute Stress


Let’s start with a little physiology. When you are stressed, your adrenal glands release adrenaline and cortisol (yes, the “stress hormone.”) This, in turn, causes your body to release glucose to give you a burst of energy. This is what happens in a “fight or flight” situation. That being said, cortisol is not inherently bad! We need some cortisol in our lives to get through certain situations. When you are working out, it is actually a “stress” on the body. An acute release of cortisol helps with strength, energy, and focus. 

Chronic Stress


But it becomes a problem when acute or every day normal stress becomes constant chronic stress. When this happens it can have an effect on our immune system, energy, sleep, and, yes, weight. We’ve discussed in a past blog how important sleep is for weight management. So reducing chronic stress for sleep hygiene will also in turn help you manage your weight.

Cortisol and weight management


As I said before, the initial release of cortisol causes glucose to be released into the body to give you a burst of energy. However, afterwards, you will experience a blood sugar drop, leaving you tired, HANGRY, and more stressed! There is also some research done that shows that excess cortisol decreases metabolism. Women who reported stress burned over 100 calories less than those that did not report stress. 


Additionally, there are actually more cortisol receptors in the adipose (fat) tissues in our abdominal area compared to other regions of the body. Therefore, having chronic stress and releasing too much cortisol gives you a higher chance of storing fat in your belly than other areas. This is one reason why a lot of people have that “stubborn belly fat.”


So, as you can see, the effect of stress on weight is real. Reducing your cortisol levels by reducing your stress will definitely benefit not only your mental state but also your waistline. Check out our other blog about ways you can reduce your stress in a calorie-free way! 

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