I came across this article at www.about.com when trying to find some information about stress and weight gain. This is what they say:
Chronic stress and cortisol can contribute to weight gain in the following ways:
- Metabolism -- Do you feel like you're prone to putting on more weight when you're stressed, even if you're eating the same amount of food as you always have? Too much cortisol can slow your metabolism, causing more weight gain than you would normally experience. This also makes dieting more difficult.
Cravings -- OK, you're stressed. Do you reach for a nice salad or a pint of Ben & Jerry's? I'll bet on the latter. People experiencing chronic stress tend to crave more fatty, salty and sugary foods. This includes sweets, processed food and other things that aren’t as good for you. These foods are typically less healthy and lead to increased weight gain.
Blood Sugar -- Prolonged stress can alter your blood sugar levels, causing mood swings, fatigue, and conditions like hyperglycemia. Too much stress has even been linked to metabolic syndrome, a cluster of health concerns that can lead to greater health problems, like heart attacks and diabetes.
Fat Storage -- Excessive stress even affects where we tend to store fat. Higher levels of stress are linked to greater levels of abdominal fat. Unfortunately, abdominal fat is not only aesthetically undesirable, it’s linked with greater health risks than fat stored in other areas of the body.
Stress and weight gain are connected in other ways:
- Emotional Eating -- Increased levels of cortisol can not only make you crave unhealthy food, but excess nervous energy can often cause you to eat more than you normally would. How many times have you found yourself scouring the kitchen for a snack, or absently munching on junk food when you’re stressed, but not really hungry? More on what causes emotional eating.
Fast Food -- Experts believe that one of the big reasons we’re seeing more obesity in our society these days is that people are too stressed and busy to make healthy dinners at home, often opting to get fast food a the nearest drive-thru instead.
Too Busy to Exercise -- With all the demands on your schedule, exercise may be one of the last things on your to-do list. If so, you’re not alone. Americans live a more sedentary lifestyle than we have in past generations, yet our minds seem to be racing from everything we have to do. Unfortunately, from sitting in traffic, clocking hours at our desks, and plopping in front of the TV in exhaustion at the end of the day, exercise often goes by the wayside.
I find myself doing some of these items, but not all of them by any stretch. I really don't think that any of the second set of things apply to me, but I haven't been running or working out as much this past week because of things I have discussed previously on my other blog in my post about A Lack Of Energy. You will see a lot in the comments on that post.
I am not too upset about this, because I know the stress will subside shortly, although it can be a bit of a let down. I am just hoping to see the trend turn a little bit over the next week.