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A lot of people wonder, “How does stress affect fat? Are my high stress levels contributing to weight gain or making it harder for me to lose weight?”
Here’s a hard truth: stress affects every aspect of your health. From your mental health to your metabolism to your digestion to your reproductive system, stress affects everything.
And always negatively!
It’s vital that you understand the relationship between stress and your metabolic health in order to know how it’s causing you to gain weight. We’ll answer the question, “How does stress affect fat?” and more below…
How Does Stress Affect Fat?
To understand the relationship between stress and your body fat, it’s important to understand what the term “stress” really means.
Stress is defined as “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances”. This can be both acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term).
There are basically two types of stress you deal with on a daily basis:
Acute stress is when something stressful, traumatic, or scary happens. For example, you’re driving and nearly get into a car crash, or you’re hiking in the mountains and nearly fall off a cliff. This is an “acute” stress trigger, and it leads to a sudden surge in stress hormones—including cortisol and adrenaline—that help your body to respond to the stressful situation.
Chronic stress is when something stresses you out constantly on a regular basis. For example, maybe you’re coming down the home stretch on a stressful deadline for a project you’ve been working on for weeks, or you’re feeling the stress of home life with a new infant to take care of. It doesn’t trigger the acute and visible stress response—a sudden surge of cortisol and adrenaline—but you still feel the mental strain of the demanding circumstances.
With acute stress, the sudden rush of stress hormones is triggered to help you survive, endure, fight, or flee the stressful or traumatic situation. After the stressor passes, however, your body will begin to return to normal.
Chronic stress, on the other hand, actually keeps your levels of stress hormones elevated, keeping your body in a sort of a “fight or flight” state far longer than is good for your health.
And this is where we find the answer to the question, “How does stress affect fat?”
During times of high stress, cortisol increases the amount of energy your body uses in order to get you through the traumatic situation alive and out the other side safely. This means that it floods your body with insulin, which encourages your muscle cells to absorb the energy it needs to run or fight.
But if you’re neither running nor fighting but just sitting at a desk wrestling with a stressful project, all that insulin pulled into your body’s cells just sit there, unused. Insulin also triggers a drop in your blood sugar levels, so you feel the need to eat something to replenish the used energy. But, as we just explained, that energy hasn’t been used. The food you eat as a response to the cortisol-triggered insulin rush will raise your blood sugar levels, which will in turn cause your body to store more energy as fat. It’s a pretty direct link between higher cortisol and body fat!
Stress has been associated with a wide range of health problems—everything from high blood pressure to strokes and heart disease to joint pain to reduced respiratory function to reproductive problems. The link between stress and fat gain is also very clear; a number of studies have proven that high cortisol levels leads to an increase in fat storage, particularly around the abdomen. Abdominal obesity is triggered by the exact same mechanisms that are helping to prepare you to run or fight in a life-or-death situation.
Cortisol causes the excess fat to be stored around your abdomen, particularly your organs. This can lead to serious health problems, because visceral fat around the organs can seriously increase your risk of organ dysfunction and long-term conditions.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the blood sugar drop caused by the insulin will cause you to seek out “comfort foods”, foods that are high in fat and carbs and low in nutrients. “Stress eating” is a very real cause behind a lot of weight and fat gain, and it’s all thanks to the hormonal effects of cortisol as a result of your high stress levels.
That’s why it’s so important that you learn how to manage your stress!
By managing stress, you can find the steps to switch off whatever is triggering the cortisol production in your body. Not only will this lead to reduced fat storage, but it can restore a healthy appetite, decrease your risk of cravings for unhealthy foods, and encourage better overall body function.
How Does Stress Affect Fat? Change Your Life Today With Get Yoga Lean
If you’re looking for a healthy way to manage stress and encourage better fat loss, you need to Get Yoga Lean today!
Get Yoga Lean is a simple program that will help you approach your fitness and health with a totally different frame of mind. It’s not about cutting out foods or sculpting your muscles; instead, it comes at the problem with a holistic mindset to improve your health from every angle. You’ll sharpen your mind, create new habits, speed up your metabolism, improve your overall conditioning, and learn how to manage your daily stress in order to be happier and healthier.
This program is perfect for all fitness levels and health conditions, and it’s something that you can do anytime, anywhere, no matter what your environment. We’re proud to offer a full guarantee that if you go into this program with an open mind and a willingness to improve, you will see positive change!
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