How Stress and your Body are Connected ? Learn how to reduce weight by reducing Stress

Stress is a normal part of everyone's life. It can help or hinder us. In the right amounts, it can propel us to greater heights. Get too much of it for too long and the results can be devastating...even fatal.

What Is Stress?

For our purposes, it can be defined as an emotional strain or pressure. It can be good, like in the case of the anticipation of your wedding and it can be negative, like in the case of changing jobs or losing a loved one.

The other important component is how long you experience it. Some events last only for a short time and they are gone, like sitting through a scary movie.

Other situations, such as your job, the kids, financial troubles are ongoing or chronic.

Effects On The Body

When you experience stress, whether it is being stuck in traffic while on your way to an important meeting, or being chased by a mugger, the effects on the body are the same.
The fight or flight response is activated.

The fight or flight response is a term used to describe the physical reactions our bodies have to stress. These physical reactions are in place to prepare the body to fight whatever is threatening you or run like the wind from it.

In times of stress, several very important things happen. Our hunger is suppressed and our digestive systems shut down temporarily, making more blood available for the muscles.

The two prime ingredients in the fight or flight response charge into action. These two ingredients are Adrenaline and cortisol 

Adrenaline and Cortisol

Adrenaline gets the heart pumping faster to deliver blood and all its nutrients to the muscles.

Cortisol mobilizes what the body needs like carbohydrates, fat, and protein which all get used to producing energy for the muscles and the brain.

How Stress Can Make You Fatter

As we have already mentioned, when you experience the stress of any type, your body springs into action by shutting down our digestive system and suppressing hunger. At the same time, it floods the body with adrenaline which gets our hearts pumping.

The final piece of the equation is cortisol, which supplies the body and brain with fuel by :
  • Releasing carbohydrates from the muscles and liver.
  • Breaking down protein to be converted into ketones (another type of fuel).
  • Releasing fatty acids into the bloodstream also to be used for fuel.
In times of duress, you can gain weight in a couple of ways.

First, by causing the body to break down protein for fuel, stress reduces your overall metabolism. Less muscle means your body requires fewer calories to survive.

Unfortunately, the average number of calories consumed by each person is going up, not down. This results in steady weight gain throughout the year(s).

Second, the body releases carbohydrates into the bloodstream which results in elevated blood sugar levels.

When blood sugar levels are elevated, all fat is stored immediately in the fat stores.

Third, when the stress dissipates, our brain sends a signal to our body to replace the energy our body used dealing with the stressful event. How do we replace this energy?

Right. We eat. And usually, it's the wrong type of food. Many people, maybe even you, get home from a long, hard day and "reward" themselves with a pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream.

The trouble is, most of the stress we experience in modern-day society does not cause us to expend a lot of energy.

We are usually sitting at a desk, sitting in our car or stewing on the couch. Rarely are we running for our lives from a hungry saber-toothed tiger.

So, we are dealing with a survival mechanism that was "designed" to be used occasionally but we have designed our lives to be stressful on almost a continuous basis.

As a result, we are walking around with chronically elevated blood sugar and insulin levels. All the while, excess cortisol is eating away at our precious lean muscle tissue, slowing our metabolisms even further.

Perhaps one of the most deadly effects of stress and elevated cortisol levels is heart disease. Stress causes cortisol to release fatty acids into the bloodstream to be used for fuel by the muscles. Great if you actually require this fuel. But, what if you are sitting in your car or at your desk?

These fatty acids circulate through your bloodstream waiting to be used. If they aren't needed, these fatty acids deposit themselves in the arteries, leading to coronary disease and ultimately to death. Hence, the reason why stress is considered the "silent killer".

How You Can Reduce The Effects of Stress On Your Body And Start Losing Weight

There are some very simple things you can do to reduce the effects of stress on your body, allowing your body to burn fat more easily, including:


Exercise is an anti-stress "wonder-drug". Exercising releases endorphins - the feel-good hormones into the body, making you feel relaxed. Exercise also uses energy, so that you lower blood sugar and keep fatty acids from depositing in the arteries.

Practice Relaxation.

 There are several proven methods of relaxation. Some people find yoga helpful while others enjoy leisurely walks at sunset. One of the simplest methods of relaxations is deep breathing.

It's easy to do and can be done anywhere. You simply breathe slowly in through your nose, filling your belly and lungs. Hold for several seconds and then slowly exhale fully out through your mouth.

Get Some Sleep.

 Ideally, you would like to be able to go to sleep and wake-up without the use of an alarm clock, letting your body wake you when it's rested.

If this is not possible, then strive for at least seven hours of quality sleep each night. Not the, get up, go pee, get something to snack on, read the paper and go back to bed kind of sleep.

Change/Control Stress. 

Have you ever met someone who seems to be going through life without a care in the world? Is it because they don't experience any stress?

No. It's because they have learned to react to so-called negative situations more positively than others.

If you are always feeling strung out from stress, much of the problem is the way you interpret events and your reaction to them. Changing the way you interpret life's events can go a very long way to controlling the effects of stress.

Use the Right Supplements. 

The world of supplements is a vast, sometimes confusing one. Knowing exactly what you should be using and how much of it you need can seem like a great mystery.

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