Stress, especially high levels of stress, can have a negative impact on your weight loss goals.  It can affect your weight loss both directly, and indirectly.  Stress and weight loss are not good bed fellows.  Understanding stress and weight loss and how they affect your body can aid you in achieving your weight loss goals.

Quick-weight-loss-new-york-doctorHormones affected by stress

High levels of stress cause the body to undergo a variety of hormonal changes.  These changes include releasing both adrenaline and cortisol.  Cortisol is a hormone that will increase your appetite and cravings for fatty and sugary foods.  Fatty and sugary foods promote a gain in belly fat.  Studies show that an increase in stress level is linked to an increase in fat storage in the body and consequently and increase in weight gain.  Therefore, the less you stress the better success you will have with your weight program.

Stress and the metabolism

High cortisol levels cause an elevation in your blood glucose and blood pressure. This can trigger fatigue making it difficult to complete any exercise tasks you had planned.   High levels of cortisol attack muscle mass which slows your metabolism.  Metabolism is the process that converts food into energy.  Slowing your metabolism means that it will take longer to convert the foods you have eaten and will cause a reduction in your energy level.

Food cravings as a result of stress

Many people find their appetite is increased when they are under high amounts of stress.  This is often categorized as emotional eating, or eating because of your feelings not because of physical hunger.  Typically, people find comfort in eating when they dealing with high emotions.  Commonly foods that are sweet or high in salt are the foods of choice.  These foods contain higher fat and salt levels, and they are generally lacking in nutritional value. This emotional eating will sabotage your weight loss goals.  

It’s important to identify your stress triggers and find the root of your tension.  Then, work on stress management, getting adequate sleep, healthy eating choices, and getting plenty of exercise.  Sometimes writing in a journal or talking with a friend can help to relieve your stress levels.  However, if high levels of stress are common for you, or you have been under a lot of stress for a while, consider consulting a doctor.

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