Stress is making you Fat!
Stress is making you fat!
Everyone to some extent is stressed. Physically, mentally, emotionally, or whatever stress you may experience could be the reason you are not able to shift the extra fat!
So what is stress?
Stress is the body’s response to a certain stimulus normally a perceived threat to the body. The adrenal glands will secrete cortisol, the stress hormone, to try and deal with the effects. It will provide the body with glucose by tapping into protein stores via a process called gluconeogenesis, consequently helping to prepare the body to ‘fight or flight’ to a stresser. This is fine if we are talking short term. However consistent elevated stress, whether it is work stresses, lack of sleep, constant vigorous exercise, bad nutrition, means cortisol secretion will be elevated for long periods, consistently producing glucose and keeping blood sugar levels high. This repeated elevation leads to weight gain, and visceral fat storage (Internal Fat).
Cortisol will thwart the effect of insulin, making the cells insulin resistant, so all this sugar that is in the blood will not be able to be used up by the tissue. If the cells of the body are not getting the glucose (blood sugar) they need to work properly, they are crying out for energy and will be sending hunger signals to the brain, telling it that they need more food, because they are not getting any nutrients. This of course is over eating. Extra calories the body thinks it needs, extra weight gain. In addition to this, the extra glucose that is still roaming around in the blood will eventually be stored as fat. Cortisol is making you eat more, and store more energy as fat.
Cortisol stimulate the sympathetic nervous system. The side of the nervous system that relates to higher stress, more activity etc and as a result there are more stress responses. Both sides of the nervous system cannot work simultaneously so the parasympathetic nervous system must be suppressed. The parasympathetic nervous system is needed for quiet, more relaxing activities such as eating. For the body ti best use food for all its good nutrients, hormones and energy, enzymes controlling digestion and absorption must be working at their peak performance (how will this happen if stress is stimulating the sympathetic nervous system?)
In a body of cortisol flooded hormones, digestion and absorption will be compromised, developing indigestion, and the mucosal lining become inflamed and irritated. Cortisol is released as a response to help inflammation so the cycle repeats. IBS, Ulcers and Colitis all improve when stress in managed.
So if you think you are eating the right foods, and exercising enough and you are wondering why you are not losing the extra fat. Take a look at your lifestyle. Are you sleeping enough? Is your work stressing you out too much? Are you skipping meals and making your body stress because it is not getting the nutrient it needs. Are you exercising too much? Are you not able to wind down before bed? Are you looking at screens too much? Are you in a stressful relationship? Because if you don’t get these things sorted out, the food you are eating, the exercise you are doing, will not get utilised and will not give you the benefit it should be, because your body is in a cortisol flooded state.