The Role of Stress in Weight Gain
Nutrition and exercise on-point but still not seeing results? Stress might be the culprit.
Chronic stress is a significant obstacle to weight loss. When we are chronically under pressure (like a never-ending to-do list, a job we don’t enjoy, or a long-standing family issue) our body produces cortisol. This hormone allows us to “keep going” when are exhausted. The price we pay for this however, is high! Our hormonal mechanisms evolved millions of years ago, when “stress” meant running away from a predator. For this reason, cortisol ensures that our muscles and cardiovascular system have enough steam to escape the predator chasing us.
Cortisol raises both blood sugar levels (so that our muscles readily have fuel to burn) and blood pressure (so that our muscles and heart have enough oxygen to keep going). The trouble is that we experience modern-day stress while sitting motionless behind an office desk or in the car. Our muscles don’t burn off the extra sugar put into circulation and our heart really doesn’t need to beat any faster. Over time, this leads to chronically high blood sugar levels and therefore elevated insulin, resulting in constant fat storage and very little burning of fat.
Taking a few moments each day to breathe deeply and taking it easy will allow cortisol levels to regulate. A healthy body starts with a healthy mind.
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