How stress affects your waistline
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Stress is something that can affect people in different ways. But did you know that there is a link between stress and weight gain? You may be following the healthiest diet possible, but without proper stress management, it can take a toll on your looks. In this article, we will explain how stress affects your waistline and how you can prevent it.
What is stress?
Feelings of stress are becoming an increasingly common problem. Almost 80% of people felt so stressed that they were depressed or unable to cope at some point in the past year. However, in small doses, stress is good for us. As a perfectly natural response, it is the body’s way of responding to demands or threats – real or not.
When we feel stressed, stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, are released to help us respond to “danger”. Our heart works faster, muscles contract, and our senses sharpen. In small doses, stress helps us stay focused, energetic, and alert, helps you get through that challenging presentation or set a record on your next race.
While stress helped our ancestors stay alert to danger and flee predators, in a world without saber-toothed tigers, emotional issues and work schedules can trigger a surge in stress, but without the subsequent release of energy. Too much stress can keep our body in fight or flight mode all the time, and this can become a problem. It can make us feel anxious and lead to damage to the immune system and heart, increase our chances of health problems, shorten our lifespan, and cause weight problems.
How often do you experience stress? Stress surrounds us day in and day out and is often caused by things that are beyond our control. Eliminating the causes of stress is difficult and not always possible. But identifying the cause of stress and finding ways to cope with it is the best way to help reduce it. This will allow you to manage your stress levels and avoid that stress affects your waistline.
So how stress affects your waistline?
The human body triggers a reaction in a stressful situation. As part of the physiological response to stress, this happens to allow us to quickly get out of a potentially “dangerous situation”. And while this is happening, a number of changes can occur in the body before we return to our natural state of homeostasis.
Potentially “dangerous situations” are situations that arise when you are in danger. Although during times of stress you are not necessarily in a “dangerous situation”, the body reacts as if that caused the stress. This stress response is becoming more common in the workplace due to the pressures of everyday life. And while you are not really in danger, your stress response tells you otherwise.
As stress levels increase, production of the stress hormone cortisol increases. Along with the increased production of the stress hormone, some physiological changes occur:
- Increased heart rate
- Narrowing of blood vessels
- Dilation of blood vessels
- Conversion of glycogen to glucose
- Decreased activity of digestive functions
The role of glycogen in stress
The key stress response that we want to break down is the conversion of glycogen to glucose. Glycogen is the energy we store in our liver, mainly derived from carbohydrates (although it can include fat or protein).
When cortisol releases, glycogen also releases to give us extra energy to “escape danger” or get out of a stressful situation. We have cortisol receptors throughout the body, however, we have an increased number around the abdomen to protect our vital organs. This is of course really useful in a real dangerous situation. However, if this constant release of cortisol is associated with daily stress in the workplace, glycogen is released to provide energy but not used and therefore builds up around your waist.
This is a key reason many people struggle with weight loss when they are stressed, even if they are counting calories daily. Increased stress levels can also affect sleep quality, as well as food choices. In essence, this can become a vicious circle of increased stress levels.
There are many ways to reduce stress, including power yoga Dubai. But, if you are feeling stressed, there are a few things to consider first:
- Do you consume a lot of caffeine? Caffeine increases the production of the stress hormone.
- Do you drink enough water? Dehydration leads to increased production of cortisol.
- Are you on a diet high in processed foods? It can affect the gut microbiome, stress response, and energy levels.
- How well do you sleep? Lack of sleep and chronic stress can seriously affect the production of the stress hormone.
Being under stress isn’t always obvious. Some people are well aware that they are experiencing higher stress levels, while others thrive on adrenaline. Although, it is important for both types of people to understand how stress can affect your overall health and how that is a key part to maintain a healthy weight and cardiovascular health.
How can we control stress?
Determining that stress affects your waistline is one thing. But the hardest part is keeping that stress under control. To deal effectively with stress, try the following tactics:
Exercise releases mood-enhancing endorphins that help relieve tension and stress. If you find that you are still thinking about what is bothering you while running or doing yoga, try an activity that requires more concentration. Tennis, squash, or dynamic boxing classes Dubai for gentlemen will give you less time to wander.
Make a plan
Take a step back and see what is causing you stress and what you can do about it. If you have too much work to do, can you delegate some tasks? If you have a relationship or financial problems, is there someone you can talk to or steps you can take to resolve some of the issues? Set realistic expectations and goals for relieving pressure and don’t feel bad for saying no to things.
We recommend you to take the time to relax and take care of yourself to deal with stress. Sleep, meditation, breathing exercises, proper nutrition, and self-rewarding activities can help. If everything else fails, or if you are really struggling with stress, think about seeing a therapist.
As you could see, stress can cause serious problems, from health to esthetic issues. And if stress affects your waistline, try following these tips to reduce it. And remember, our mind often determines our body.