Stress Symptoms: Increased Body Fat
Research has demonstrated that one of several common stress symptoms is the build-up of body fat. This is a result of stress’s effect on hormonal secretion and its physiological consequences.
Here’s what happens:
Cortisol sets off an increased rush of glucose from your tissues. It also starts the process of breaking down muscle tissue to make glucose…yikes! Remember, the body thinks something major is going down. In response to the rise in glucose comes the rise in insulin. You know the drill. Do this again and again, day after day, and what do you have? Eventually insulin resistance.
In the meantime, the cortisol is signaling the body to store fat. The body thinks it will need it, after all. Specifically, the body directs fat storage in the abdomen, around the organs, where there are more receptors for cortisol and a greater supply of blood. A lot of research has been done on this in the last few years highlighting the contribution of stress to abdominal fat in particular.
And, tell me…when you’re stressed, don’t you eat more? It’s a double edged sword, alright.
Here are my suggestions – for when you’re going through a particularly stressful time:
- Choose a lifestyle that supports hormonal balance
- Eat a low carb, high antioxidant diet
- Get plenty of sleep
- Take Omega-3 supplements to help counteract the inflammation damage related to stress
- Do yoga, meditate, whatever it takes to reduce stress in your life.
- Don’t stop when the stressful period is over. Keep up this awesome work.