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Is Stress Making You Fat?

In our busy and hectic lives, it's hard to stay stress free, but truth is that stress could be the culprit for your storage of excess fat and slower metabolism.

Our adrenal glands release more cortisol, when we're stressed which makes us store fat in case we have to go for a lengthy time without food says Timothy Crowe Associate Professor in Nutrition and Exercise Sciences at Deakin University.

“This build-up can occur rapidly in our most active fat cells in the abdomen – where it can predispose you to problems with insulin and diseases like type 2 diabetes. The release of cortisol can also affect hormones that increase appetite. “This can lead to comfort eating and make it hard for some people to control their weight.”

Biochemist, nutritionist and author or Rushing Woman’s Syndrome Dr Libby Weaver says stress also breaks down muscle by pumping out stress hormone cortisol, which is catabolic.

Most people only think of psychological stress when they hear the term “stress”. When asked what causes stress, they might say things like losing a job, having a fight with your significant other , and being stuck in Nassau Traffic :(

While it’s true that psychological challenges like this are major stressors, what many people don’t realize is that stress is also caused by physiological challenges, such as:

  • chronic infections

  • environmental toxins

  • inflammation

  • autoimmune disease

  • improper dieting

  • insomnia

Even if your levels of psychological stress are pretty low, any of the conditions listed above can provoke a chronic stress reaction in your body making you more likely to lead to being overweight and or diabetic.

If you're stressing about food and struggling with an overly-restrictive and imbalanced diet, your cortisol levels will rise and your body will continue to store fat. Even over-training with insufficient rest can work against weight loss goals as cortisol is a metabolic hormone that breaks the body down. Even if a few pounds of lean muscle are shed, in the long run it's extremely difficult to maintain that kind of weight loss.

So if weight loss and management is your goal, then quit stressin' and be sure to get the proper balance between diet, exercise and rest !

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