What does stress have to do with weight loss?
It has been shown that low fat diet trends and readily available processed food that have become staples of the Standard American Diet over the past 30 years are causing increased weight gain and a obesity epidemic for many Americans.
Additionally, stress is quickly becoming a leading contributing factor to the weight gain.
- When the body is in a state of stress – the adrenal glands produce more cortisol – a hormone which is known to increase belly fat, even despite following a proper diet.
- When the adrenal glands are taxed, they affect the thyroid gland, often decreasing its function.
- Decreased thyroid function results in a lower metabolic rate which means your body is burning fat off at a slower rate.
- Since cortisol production also utilizes the same building blocks as our sex hormones like testosterone, dhea and estrogen, high cortisol demand creates multiple imbalances, which can contribute to weight gain.
It’s important to get these hormones balanced properly to optimize your chances of achieving long term weight loss.
According to Dr. Simeons, hCG is a glycoprotein hormone that plays a large role in cellular interaction. Hcg helps to stabilize the hypothalamus. This is the portion of the brain responsible for regulating hunger, thirst, body temperature and the perceived set point weight.
The hypothalamus also helps sustain a targeted weight after dieting; making it easier to keep the weight off once it is lost utilizing hormone balance, optimal diet, stress reduction and exercise.
An important aspect to understand about stress is that the body cannot differentiate between mental stress, nutritional stress and physical stress.
Its reaction is essentially the same.
Your nervous system becomes highly activated and a host of hormonal changes, such as the release of adrenaline, prepare your body to respond to an emergency. Your muscles tense – ready for action, the heart rate and blood pressure increase, breathing becomes rapid and shallow and your digestion and other maintenance functions are put on hold.
Without a sense of resolution (knowing that the danger has passed) your body and mind do not receive a clear signal that it is safe to stop, relax and recuperate. With little chance to rest and recover, you may find that your stress leads to a perpetuating cycle in which you become less and less able to unwind.
When you are overtaxed and low on energy you are less likely to stay committed to any exercise routine.
In addition when your body reacts to stress it directs its energy to the heart, lungs, and extremities and away from digestion. A poor performing digestive system can result in an inadequate absorption of nutrients causing the body to perceive starvation.
Your metabolism is impacted and it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain your weight.
Whether we like it or not – it’s important to understand that the ability to store fat is a vital protection mechanism for the body – ensuring its link to survival.