Scientists have identified the mechanism by which stress can cause weight gain. Stressful situations cause the body to function in survival mode, meaning that the effect of stress hormones, cortisol and leptin, are forcing metabolism to slow down and the body begins to store fat. Lose belly fat by reducing stress might be ideal if you’re living a stressful life.
A study regarding this matter, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, also shows that women are more susceptible to stress than men. If men’s weight is particularly influenced by worries about money and workplace problems, women also suffer from the stress caused by the difficulties in sentimental relationships and the feeling of being prisoners of their own way of life.
Excessive appetite for high-carbohydrate foods such as pasta or sweets can be a sign of stress because these foods increase the brain level of serotonin, a calming effect.
To prevent stress-induced weight gain, specialists recommend learning relaxation techniques and, above all, physical exercise which, in addition to increasing the level of endorphins (substances that induce a state of well-being), helps us burn more and more calories.
For many of us, stress is a habit but research finds more and more negative effects, including weight gain. Even if you eat healthy and make physical activity, chronic stress can prevent you from getting rid of unwanted pounds and can even make you add others.
Stress and weight gain
Here’s what happens! Your body responds to stress. After a busy day, your brain reacts as if you were in dangerous situation and started creating and eliminating hormones.
Adrenaline is meant to consume any energy resource to give you physical strength to get out of any situation. At the same time, cortisol tells your body to replace that energy even though it has not been consumed.
This makes you hungry, very hungry. And cortisol will still occur until the state of stress is over.
And, unfortunately, few of us are trying to avoid stress eating, satisfying our hunger with carrots and lettuce. Instead, we have the appetite for sweets and high-fat foods that stimulate the brain to produce chemicals to reduce tension.
How not to become addicted to sweets due to stress
We can have a perfect diet, regular training, and we can practice forgiveness and love philosophies in life. If we do not manage to keep stress under control, we have problems. Every stressful period we go through leaves a scar and the body pays for survival with aging.
Here are 7 simple ways to reduce stress:
- Practice a form of meditation – this can take only 5 minutes a day. Pray, meditate, listen to relaxing music, take a hot bath, or taking frequent breaks for a few minutes when working may lead the level of stress hormones to be reduced.
- Eat smaller and more frequent meals – this helps maintain blood sugar balance and our alarm system will be at rest. Make sure you always combine a carbohydrate with a protein. Consuming ONLY one of them, will bring your body in the state of secreting adrenaline. Of course, reduce or eliminate white sugar, white flour, and caffeine.
- Sleep enough – easier to say than to do, but make your sleep a priority. Sleep helps to restore the body like nothing else. The purpose is to sleep 8 hours a day. Take a nap when kids do it, if you’re a full-time mother. Turn off the TV and go to bed early several nights a week. Sleep at lunch on weekends. Whatever you do, do it for your health.
- Eat gelatin
- Light is really helpful – darkness can produce a stress response. Think that we are less able to respond to dangers when we can not see it clearly. During summer, spend at least one hour in fresh air. In winter, you can stay next to a light bulb with 200 watts or use red light.
- Ignore annoying things – and what if the sink is full of plates, or that guy cut your path in traffic. Learn to accept small things and be more gentle with yourself. Take a deep breath and remember that ‘it will pass’!
- Sport is fighting stress – do push-ups, attend to the gym, or anything that involve physical activity. You will put your blood in motion and cortisol will soon be transported to the kidney and removed from the body. Any physical activity is a great way to reduce stress and replace the stress hormones with dopamines.
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