We need to have fitness for the mind….In this fast-paced world with numerous demands on your time, it is easy to slip into a state of stress. Stress is not always a bad thing. Without stress in your life, you wouldn’t be pushed to succeed in life’s situations and you wouldn’t grow as a person as a result of those situations you face. Stress becomes bad when it affects your health.
One of the biggest health risks of long-term stress is weight gain. Weight gain is not only about the physical appearance; it is about the weight gain that can contribute to health risks, such as heart disease and diabetes. With continued stress, no matter how hard you try to lose weight, it might not happen. But why is this?
Increase in Cortisol
When the body is under a sustained amount of stress, the stress hormone, cortisol, is released in high doses and remains high in the body. When you are experiencing stress, your body automatically goes into what is called the “fight or flight response”.
Your body can’t tell the difference between good and bad stress and will think you’re in a harmful situation, so it will continue producing cortisol. This increase in cortisol is directly related to weight gain. It is the initial culprit of sabotaging your weight loss efforts.
Decrease in Metabolism
As stress becomes constant in your life, your body’s cortisol will remain high resulting in a decrease in your metabolism. When your metabolism decreases, your body is unable to burn calories and you will experience weight gain even if you are eating the same amount of food that you always have been.
Your body thinks you are in constant danger and must protect you from harm. This is why it continues to release cortisol, and in return your metabolism seems as if it is at a halt. No diet or exercise program can increase your metabolism as long as you remain under stress.
Increase in Blood Sugar
When the cortisol hormone is released continuously it impacts the normal blood sugar levels of your body. In addition to the mood swings and extreme fatigue felt with high blood sugar levels, weight gain will emerge. You will immediately notice weight gain and the inability to lose weight.
The high blood sugar levels can turn into a hyperglycemia, where the body doesn’t have enough insulin. When your body does not have enough insulin, it is unable to use the glucose in your body for fuel.
Excess glucose turns into body fat. The foods you eat will not be able to be converted into useful energy and will be stored in your body, usually as fat. This will make you more sluggish and inactive, also contributing to your weight gain.
Increase in Body Fat
Fat will begin to accumulate on your body, especially in the abdomen area, when you are under long-term stress. The increase in cortisol that your body is experiencing is directly related to the increase in stored body fat.
Not only are you gaining weight rapidly when under stress, but it can also be dangerous due to where fat is being stored on your body. You will now not only have to deal with the weight gain, but the fat gain and its relation to heart disease.