Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Does Stress Make You Fat

Tuesday Tip: Does Stress Make You Fat 🤯

Stress affects our mind and bodies in many ways. It makes you tired, affects your mood but can it also affect your weight?

Studies have shown that those people with the largest waist circumferences often report the highest stress. This doesn’t necessarily mean the stress is the cause of the weight but there is a pattern there. A recent study found that women exposed to a range of stressful tasks took 20% more of the free chocolate they were offered, compared to when they didn’t have the stress. But why does this happen?

The hormone corticotropin-releasing hormone rises in response to stress. This triggers a release of cortisol and adrenalin (the ‘stress’ hormones). Cortisol stimulates the release of glucose to provide fuel for fight or flight while adrenaline primes the nervous system for action. Once the stress is over, adrenaline disperses, but cortisol and the glucose remains and causes a surge of insulin. This stimulates the appetite, in order to to encourage the body to restore its fuel stores, to be ready to cope with the next fight or flight situation.

Now in reality we don’t actually use the glucose we’ve released, but we still refuel because we’re hard-wired to do so. The cortisol also encourages excess fuel to be stored as abdominal fat where it raises our risk of heart disease and diabetes.

So what can you do? One of the most obvious ways to solve the problem is to reduce or eliminate stress by changing your lifestyle and learning coping strategies. Studies have also shown that regular exercise enables you to become more stress-resilient. Not only will this dissipate those stress hormones, it will also release beta-endorphins, making you feel calm and contented. And the fitter you are, the lower the rise in cortisol.

Be aware of the connection between stress and appetite; just recognising it can help avoid the instant urge to stuff your face. Also during inevitable times of stress, be sure to have healthy options for snacks handy so your choices are limited. Set yourself up for success by having fruits and vegetables around, as well as good sources of protein.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Don’t Stress

Tuesday Tip: Don’t Stress 🤯

Stress – we all face it, but how does it affect our weight loss and how can we combat it? When stressed the amount of cortisol (stress hormone) increases, which can promote weight gain through increased appetite, and affect where body fat is stored (predominantly in the mid-section). It also causes your brain to choose foods that give instant energy – sugar, simple carbs, junk food etc. This is why it results in weight gain.

How to cope? If stress is a major issue for you then consult your Dr and consider a cortisol test (an easy blood or saliva based test to check your levels), but you can also minimise the impacts of stress with a few behavioural changes

#1 Remove the junk

Fill your cupboards with fresh food, grains and complex carbs e.g. oats, sweet potato, brown rice. These lessen the effects of cortisol on your appetite. When stress hits you’re less likely to mainline ice cream if you’re well fuelled, and if you don’t have it in the house it’s harder to eat!

#2 Exercise

One of the best scientifically proven ways to cope with stress; run, walk, cycle, do a workout – whatever works for you. If you’re stuck at work try to go for a quick walk if you can. It gives you time away from the stressful situation, and meets the body’s demand to “flee” when faced with stress burning off that energy the cortisol has caused to be released.

#3 B vits

B vitamins are vital to fuel brain cells, transport hormones around the body and provide energy. e.g B3 is linked to reduced stress, anxiety and depression due to it’s effect on blood flow and muscle tissue relaxation, and aids restful sleep. B6 reduces irritability through it’s synthesis of neurotransmitters that affect mood. Load up on whole grains, eggs, meat, legumes and dark leafy veg.

#4 Take it easy

Find time to de-stress, relax and take time out – just 15 mins a day has been shown to have a massive impact on stress levels – read a book, try some yoga, do a guided meditation (try the headspace app), deep breathing, have a bath, go for a gentle walk.

Happy Tuesday!🤗

xx