Is Stress Making Us Fat?
The short answer is yes. Or at the very least, it certainly can.
Cortisol is a natural stress hormone. Its job is to regulate the metabolism. As we explored in another post, stress throws our system into a fight or flight response. Which is fine if a gator is chasing you. Not so fine if you are simply running behind for an appointment..
Cortisol stimulates your fat and carb metabolism (for quick energy when the gator is after you.) It increases appetite and cravings for sweet, fatty or salty foods.
This excess cortisol can lead your body to produce less testosterone (yes, ladies produce testosterone too.) This can cause a decrease in muscle mass and may inhibit you from burning calories.
The changes in how your metabolism works can lead to
- Reduced immune system effectiveness
- High blood pressure
- Depression and Fatigue
- Type 2 diabetes
And, of course weight gain. Blech.
Obviously, diet and exercise will help in many ways – combatting stress itself and combatting the battle of the bulge.
Even without that, though, if you can lower stress, you’ll be lowering cortisone levels. This will help with weight loss.