Can Stress cause weight gain?
Stress and weight loss are linked. Emotions influence our hormones which in turn influence our emotions which influence our eating habits.
The hormone adrenaline is released when we are frightened, excited or anxious.Adrenaline tends to speed up our metabolic rate, the release of this hormone is likely to promote weight loss.
Although,long term stress can have the opposite effect for weight loss. The hormone cortisol, released when we are stressed, can increase fat storage, especially in the abdominal area.
As a conclusion, short bursts of stress may help you to lose weight, but long term stress can make you overweight.
Since our neuro-endocrine system doesn't know what to do in stress situations, it responds to stress with the hormonal signal to replenish nutritional stores, which may make you feel hungry and overeat.
Stress and Weight Loss - The Mind Over Matter
When you are stressed, you have an impulse to do something, to move, and often, eating becomes the activity that relieves the stress. It's very easy to do and it's also comforting.
Here's what the experts recommend:
1. Exercise when you are stressed.
Yoga, meditation, stretching, weight training and cardiovascular exercise are all good stress relieving activities that you can perform for stress relieving.These types of exercises are also very good for weight loss because you burn calories by exercising.The answer is to choose the activity that you really enjoy doing.
2. Eat a balanced diet and don't skip meals.
Eat breakfast and try to consume six small rather than three larger meals every day, with foods from all the food groups,especially healthy ones.This helps in keeping blood sugar levels steady, which in turn put a damper on insulin production and eventually reduce cortisol levels,all helping to control appetite and also promote weight loss.
3. You must sleep enough,don't lose sleep, over your stress and weight loss problems,when you don't get enough rest, cortisol levels rise, making you feel hungry and less satisfied with what you eat.
4. Take time for relaxation.
This because it works much like exercise to produce brain chemicals that counter the effects of stress and promote weight loss,it's best finding the activities that make you feel relaxed and calm.
For some people, yoga can help very much. Others may prefer meditation techniques or deep breathing techniques.
Never underestimate the relaxing power of sitting up or under a sofa with a good book or magazine, or even watching your favorite movie.
Anything that makes you feel calm and relaxed will help counter the biochemical effects of stress.
5. When snacking,choose whole grain or high fiber foods.
Try eating foods high in fiber and low in sugar, like oatmeal, whole wheat bread, or fruits such as pears or plums.
Foods that are high in sugar and simple carbohydrates,like white flour, cookies, cake, white rice, or pasta, cause insulin levels to rise.This increases stress hormones and makes you feel more hungry.
6. Avoid caffeine, cigarettes and alcohol at all costs.
If you are going through a lot of stress, stay away from alcohol, caffeine, tobacco and junk food.
These are foods with no nutritional value,they are not good at all.
According to the American Institute of Stress, cigarettes, caffeine soft drinks, coffee, tea, and even chocolate, can cause cortisol levels to rise, stress to increase, blood sugar to decrease and hunger to appear resulting in a slower weight loss. The institute also cautions against drinking too much alcohol, which can affect blood sugar and insulin levels and it's also very high in calories.
7. Take some vitamin supplements.
Many medical studies have shown that stress can deplete important nutrients ,particularly the B complex and C vitamins, and sometimes the minerals calcium and magnesium.
These nutrients are needed to balance the effects of stress hormones like cortisol, and may even play a good role in helping us burn fat, it's important to keep nutrient levels high.
While a good diet will help, taking a multi-vitamin supplement can insure you give your body what it needs to deal with the stress and also burn fat and lose weight.
Massage is another method that is very effective in reducing stress in your body .
The massage helps the body get rid of toxins released into your blood stream when you are stressed.
Increasing your protein intake by eating protein more often will help your body deal better with stress.
There are some herbal supplements that can help you when you are going through stressful times. Chamomile is a calming herb available in tea form.
Valerian root is another relaxing herb that comes in pill form.
Kava was very popular for a while as a natural relaxation supplement.
There are also herbal combination supplements that are not harmful to your body.
A good B-complex supplement always helps you feel better if you are verystressed.
Taken in the morning and in the evening the B vitamins complex will nourish your nervous system.
And speaking about stress and weight loss,here's one piece of information thay you may be happy to hear:
Experts are saying you shouldn't go on a strict diet when you're under extreme or chronic stress.
Severely limiting calorie intake could modify many biochemical events that not only increase stress levels, but can also make you feel hungry.