Have you noticed that as stress increases in your life that your weight goes up, especially weight gain around your middle? You wonder what is going on because you are practicing healthy diet habits. Many of you are more on top of healthy eating than paid nutritionists. You know what to eat. What is going on?
What you eat is a small part of the weight equation. It is the other factors that influence "how you eat" that you need to learn about.
When you are stressed you tend to:
Any of these unhealthy diet habits can lead to weight gain, but there is a biological reason that stress leads to weight gain too. Both stress, and sleep deprivation stimulate your adrenal glands to produce the stress hormone called Cortisol. Cortisol can lead to inflammation in your body and also cause leptin resistance where your body does not recognize the appetite suppressing hormone called leptin. Your hunger is not satisfied and you eat a greater amount.
Cortisol causes cravings also. You crave foods that are high in fat, sugar, and salt. The most common comfort foods for women are ice cream, cookies, and chocolate! These foods lower the release of cortisol in your body and increase serotonin (a feel good hormone).
Eating comfort foods is a way to relieve stress, but not a positive way in the long term because it leads to weight gain. Cortisol causes fat cells to grow, and increases belly fat also. (The process is more complicated, but you get the idea of what is going on!!) Stress leads to stress weight gain!
It is important to find and practice Lifestyle Solutions to relieve stress in your life to keep stress and stress weight gain under control!
See my tips on Overcoming Stress Weight Gain!