Is Stress Making You Fat?

I bet you all know someone who has tried all diets and exercise plans going, but never loses a pound or an inch?

Well our bodies react to everything that goes on around them. From the environment we live in, the food we eat, what we drink, our jobs, personal problems and so on. The body releases hormones in response to all of these situations and the hormones released determine how our bodies react to them. Stress on our bodies can be brought on from emotional or physical stresses, such as moving home, relationship problems, divorce, lack of sleep, over exercising, dieting (starving the body) and so on.

When the body is under stress it releases the stress hormone Cortisol which floods the body with sugar to deal with the stressful situation. As much as we need Cortisol for this exact purpose, the excess sugar within our bodies causes a release of the hormone Insulin to reduce this sugar within the blood. The Insulin does this by pushing the excess sugar into the cells, thus storing it as fat. Constant stress means this process is repeated continually so the body is in a permanent fat storing state. Also this constant see saw effect of Cortisol and Insulin release will eventually make the body Insulin resistant, resulting in Diabetes.

Reducing stress or managing it better within your everyday life is vital for optimum health and fat loss. Beasting yourself in the gym isn’t good for people suffering with stress. When you’re under a lot of stress it is sometimes more important and more beneficial for you to go for a nice long leisurely walk in a nice environment. This is proven to lower Cortisol levels.

Don’t overdo cardio sessions, but lifting weights is important, always. The best types of workouts are metabolic ones, designed to get the right hormones working together to burn fat. So a heavy weight, high intensity in a short space of time.

Sleep is also vital to reduce stress and Cortisol levels. Ensuring you get a good 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep is also very important. This is when our hormones are reset. A lack of sleep will make you wake up with higher Cortisol levels, then leaving you craving sugary and fatty foods for the rest of the day. Also de stressing activities like yoga, soaking in a nice epsom salt bath and meditation, all very good for de-stressing.

I have only brushed over stress and the effects on health and fat loss today, Check in next week for some more insight into stress and it’s effects on your health, fitness and fat loss.

So this is a HUGE subject and I cannot STESS (haha) enough how important it is for you to understand the massive effect this has on your health and ability to get a lean, fit body.

Scientific research has proven that sustained high levels of Cortisol (stress hormone), triggered by unrelenting stress, has debilitating effects on long term health. The primary role of Cortisol is to encourage the body to refuel after a stress. This can lead to increased body fat, especially around the abdominal area, eventually resulting in diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure and even cancer.

Elevated Cortisol levels, resulting from chronic stress have been associated with such conditions as:

– Increased body fat                       – Decreased muscle mass – Decreased bone density

– Reduced libido                              – Mood swings                                – increased anxiety

– Memory and learning impairment

So if you are suffering from some of these conditions, take a long hard look at your lifestyle and I’m sure stress is playing a big part in it. You therefore need to take some action and introduce de-sressing activities into your busy schedule, to help you start leading a healthier life.

Managing Stess:

Cortisol levels need to be reduced for a healthier body and certainly for optimum fat loss. Some stresses like being late for work, juggling work, family etc, we can control and others we can’t, like illness, accident, environmental or economical problems. For instance by planning yourself better, getting up earlier and leaving the house earlier you won’t be late for work, therefore this stress can be controlled. By reducing these types of stresses you will be better prepared to deal with the uncontrollable stresses if they arise.

Sleep is one of the most important factors for stress reduction, and a lot of people take this for granted. Many people do not get enough sleep and spend the day seeking stimulants to overcome the tiredness, which in turn affects another night sleep and so on, creating a vicious circle of lost sleep. Exercise and good nutrition are the most powerful sleep aids we have.

So all in all guys it is important we accept stress as part of our everyday lives and try to plan and prepare better to reduce the controllable stresses. Stress isn’t actually the cause of the problem, It is a result of the world we live in and the choices we make. Your choices will allow you to control your stresses, instead of letting them control you. If stress is less of a negative influence on you, then fat burning becomes easier.

Keep fit and healthy, remember Health is wealth

Emma Jay xx