Although stress is a normal part of daily life, for many people it is a leading cause of weight gain. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, in a survey of 1800 people, 43 percent admitted to eating unhealthy foods or overeating as a response to stress.
Causes of Stress
Daily stress is is often caused by situations such interpersonal conflicts, driving in rush-hour traffic or being unemployed and worrying about finances. Additionally, stress may result from physiological problem as well, such as inflammation, insomnia, infections and diseases, improper dieting, excessive exercise and so on.
Effects of Stress
Stress leads to negative reactions in the body, such as a lowered metabolism, increased cravings for sugar, a reduced ability to burn fat, reduced insulin sensitivity, lower testosterone levels and growth hormones, increased abdominal fat, higher triglyceride levels, faster fat storage and so on. All these changes contribute to weight gain and increase the risk of chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.
Stress also hinders the body’s ability to get a sufficient amount of quality sleep. Lack of sleep is among the strongest risk factors of weight gain and obesity. Inadequate sleep is linked to an 89 percent risk of obesity in children and 55 percent in adults. In addition, poor sleep increases cravings and hunger, which stimulate the release of ghrelin, a hunger-stimulating hormone, while reducing leptin, the hormone that tells you to stop eating.
Managing stress is essential for minimizing weight gain and maintaining a healthy body. Practices such as meditation, yoga, and walking are effective for eliminating daily stress buildup. It is also beneficial to drink healthy teas like yerba mate, listen to peaceful music, and reduce your intake of caffeine and junk food in your diet.
Remember to talk to your doctor before making changes in your diet or exercise routine, especially if you have an existing health condition.