Is constant stress making you fat?
Part two in the reasons for unsuccessful weight management.
Poor Alice she looks very stressed !!
I think we have probably all had those days when we feel lousy and head straight for the comfort of our favourite foods. The unfortunate thing is these comfort foods are doing you and your stress levels absolutely no good and worse of all contributing to your weight control problems in ways you probably didn’t understand.
So what happens when we stress?
When we feel stressed the nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol to ready the body for a fight or flight response. This is an important function and in small doses can help you perform under pressure and motivate you to do your best. The problem arises when your body is so fatigued and run down that it stays in an almost constant state of stress response. This state then pushes your adrenal glands, responsible for releasing the stress hormones into your body, to work on overdrive. When your adrenals work too hard for too long they become fatigued and a condition known as hypoadrenia or adrenal fatigue results and the adrenal glands slow down. Not only can adrenal fatigue lead to many chronic conditions such as allergies, chronic fatigue, arthritic pain, and frequent colds it can also contribute to weight problems.
So how does adrenal fatigue effect your weight?
You see, when your adrenals are fatigued two things can happen. Firstly, your blood sugar levels will drop. This happens because your circulating level of cortisol hormone (remember it is produced by the adrenals) lowers, and cortisol helps maintain a stable blood sugar level. The result is a condition known as hypoglycaemia and can result in peaks and troughs of energy throughout the day and the temptation to eat sugary fast foods. The more you eat sugary fast foods the more the post sugar slump hits and the more you want to eat sugary fast foods. Not a good cycle to be in. Secondly, after you eat these sugary fast foods the adrenals go into a temporary overdrive and secrete a whole load of cortisol. The problem here is even a slight excess in cortisol leads to fat being deposited around your middle area. Added to this, all this extra work by the Adrenals drives them further into adrenal exhaustion.
constant stress = adrenal fatigue = low cortisol = hypoglycemia = sugary snacks = high cortisol = deposited fat = weight gain
The added weight makes you feel more tired, less likely to exercise, emotionally exhausted, and worse about yourself, which in turn leads to eating more of the wrong foods and an ultimate gain in weight.