Stress is prevalent in today’s fast-paced world. Common triggers range from relationships and finances to work stress, leaving focus on exercise and weight loss blurred. In addition, chemical responses in the body from stress can bring weight loss to a halting grind. Understanding how stress affects the body and recognizing stress triggers can aid in keeping extra pounds off.
Under events of stress, adrenal responses in the body are triggered. This response is known as the fight or flight response. Glycogen in the liver and muscle tissue are activated for use as a quick energy source. This uptake of energy was highly efficient in caveman days, while under attack from a tiger for example. Cavemen simply used this surge of energy to either run away or fight. Modern man is wired in the same fashion; however the difference is stress sources that plague modern life generally do not require running away or fighting. According to a 2005 article from the University of New Mexico, this stress response can lead to loss of muscle mass, increased fat storage and impulses to overeat.
Cortisol release under chronic stress can make weight loss difficult for a couple of reasons. High levels of the hormone attack muscle mass, slowing metabolism due to the fact that muscle burns calories to simply exist. Additionally, unwanted cortisol release results in the storage of fat mostly in the abdominal area for later energy use. According to the National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service, other signs of elevated cortisol levels are high blood glucose levels, high blood pressure and fatigue.
A March 2006 article in the “British Medical Journal” stated that employees with chronic work stress have more than double the odds of metabolic syndrome than those without work stress. Metabolic syndrome is defined as a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk for stroke and Type II diabetes. The study also provided evidence for the likelihood of links to stress from everyday life with heart disease as well.
Often thought of as an excuse to eat, food cravings and overeating actually have a factual basis behind this effect of stress. Experiencing stressful situations cause the body to undergo a variety of hormonal changes, including the release of adrenaline and cortisol. When a tense situation is over, the release of cortisol results in an increase of appetite. Under chronic stress, these cravings can lead to unwanted weight gain due to high level of cortisol release in the body.
So if your stressed fat loss maybe harder to achieve than if your not stressed.