We often hear that stress can lead to weight gain and slow down weight loss but how can this be,?it's all about the calories isn't it? Those that read this blog regularly will probably already know that this is not the case and in fact it's the hormone imbalance rather than a calories imbalance.
This is why stress can have this effect on weight control it's the hormones again. The main players in this are insulin and cortisol. And it all links to fight or flight response, our inbuilt mechanism for times of life and death.
Let's break this down from the start. I have written before about how increased blood sugar leads to weight gain, any excess is eventually converted to fat via the signalling of insulin and as we backtrack we can see how stress can have an influence.
Our body stores glycogen in the liver for times that high require high intensity movement. Imagine you were primal man out on a hunt then out of nowhere a predator jumps from the undergrowth. You have two options either fight it or run away really fast, either way if you havn't got away or killed it your dead.This scenario is clearly highly stressful and stimulates a stress response in the form of cortisol.
Cortisol signals the body to dump adrenaline and glycogen into the bloodstream to deal with the situation. In a real life fight or flight situation most of it is probably used, however many modern day stressors don't have an outlet for this extra energy. You're at the office and you trying to meet the deadline, stress. You're worried about the bills, stress. There are many modern day stressors that everyone goes through but they still have the same response as the tiger jumping at you, the body doesn't know the difference..
And here lies the problem. The constant chronic stress continues to stimulate cortisol, cortisol releases glycogen, insulin is released from the pancreas to try and deal with it. As there is no energy required it is then converted to fat.
This whole process is a slow progression, but it can sometimes be the one thing that stalls a person's weight loss. The diet and exercise can be great and on the money but if the stress is constantly there we can still see a problem. The stress can come from more places than just work or home life. Toxins in food, artificial sweeteners and even too much exercise can be a problem.
So trying to reduce stress in your life can be beneficial in more ways than one, take some time to relax in whatever way you can and see if it helps you in your weight loss.