Soccer practice pick-up, family dinners, grocery shopping… the list never ends, does it?
With all the activities on your to-do list it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed. To add to it, being stressed often leads to a new host of problems, including anxiety, sugar cravings, and even weight gain.
Talk about adding more stress to your already stressed-out self!
So how can stress lead to weight gain exactly? Below are four ways:
1. Stress raises our cortisol levels:
Cortisol is our stress hormone that is secreted from our adrenal glands. When our bodies are under stress (whether it’s physical or emotional stress), cortisol levels increase, which also increases our blood sugar levels. This is our bodies way of helping us prepare for a stressful event so we are alert and energized to react. When our blood sugars increase, it also causes more insulin to be secreted from our pancreas. Insulin is a fat-storing hormone which can lead to weight gain when our bodies produce an excessive amount of it. Too much insulin secretion can also lead to the inability to lose weight because when insulin signals are on, our signal for our fat-burning hormone (glucagon) is off. Here’s 10 Ways to Balance Your Hormones Naturally.
2. Stress can lead to inadequate sleep:
Ever lay in bed completely awake thinking about all the things you have to get done the next day? We’ve all been there. Stress can greatly impact our sleep quality and lead to a severe shortage of “zzzz’s.” To add to that, not getting enough sleep leads to an imbalance in our appetite hormones (ghrelin and leptin) causing us to feel hungrier the next day, and crave the not-so-nutritious foods like baked goods and chips.
3. Stress impacts digestion:
When our bodies are under stress, our body go into “flight or fight” mode, causing our digestion to be halted. Your body does this in order to focus its energy on a potential stressful situation instead of digestion. If our digestion isn’t working properly, it can lead to the inability to absorb nutrients, not properly eliminating toxins out of the body, and an increase in digestive distress such as bloating and constipation.
4. Stress impacts our moods:
Stress affects our brain’s ability to think clearly, as well as decreases the production of our positive brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine. The less positive brain chemicals we produce, the greater the chance of feeling agitated, moody, angry, and sad. That’s often why situations that may not normally bother you, suddenly do when you are under stress. On top of that, people often use food for comfort or don’t make the best food choices when they feel sad or angry; leading to excess weight gain.
So what can you do about it? We are always going to have some type of stress in our lives; whether it’s sitting in traffic for hours, or just doing the daily duties of a working mom. The best way to deal with stress though is to manage it on a daily basis.
Here are lifestyle shifts you can make that will have a huge impact!
- Adopt a Clean Eating Diet and take the 30 Day Clean Eating Challenge
- Be active whenever you can, but choose gentle movement that doesn’t overtax your adrenals
- Get to bed earlier and sleep for at least 8 hours a night
- Keep the lights low after 7pm and sleep in a dark room
- Find a stress-management technique that you enjoy doing
- This could be yoga, taking a bath, journaling, venting to a friend, meditation, or learning how to say “no” to so many commitments.
- Drink More Water
- Let Go of the Small Stuff
- Drink Holy Basil Tea
- Be kind to yourself
How do you manage stress? Comment below!