It’s not a secret that stress adversely affects health. It can provoke insomnia, because of it the condition of the skin and well-being in general worsens. In addition, excessive experiences can cause excess weight. Why is this happening and how to deal with it?
Stress overeating has several physiological causes. One of them is a habit that has been established over hundreds of generations. Over the long years of evolution, a person has developed one of the universal adaptogenic mechanisms – chewing movements make us feel stable and calm: if there is food, then everything is fine! Therefore, many, without realizing it, experience this ancient way of the body’s struggle with stress.
However, there are deeper reasons as well. For any change in internal or external factors, the body responds with hormonal changes. The endocrine system plays an important role in the life of the body and regulates almost all processes occurring in it. If all organs are presented as an orchestra consisting of musicians with a variety of instruments, then the endocrine system will act as a conductor.
The body reacts to stress factors with the help of the endocrine system, increasing the production of some hormones and reducing others. For different types and levels of stress, this “hormonal set” will be different.
So, in response to a short-term extreme situation, the adrenal glands produce a whole bunch of hormones, among which adrenaline dominates. This “invigorating” biologically active substance, when it enters the bloodstream, causes a surge of strength, increased pressure, rapid heartbeat and a complete lack of appetite. Such feelings a person experiences, for example, when jumping with a parachute or running away from danger. This state is also called “fight or flight”.
Adrenaline, cortisol and metabolism
Adrenaline speeds up the metabolism for a short time, since it takes a lot of energy to jump with a parachute or run fast.
It is believed that periodically experiencing adrenaline bursts is even useful, of course, if they are accompanied by positive emotions. Therefore, we say yes to extreme episodes like skydiving, rafting on the river or an exciting first date.
However, frequent and prolonged exposure to stress leads to the fact that the “hormonal set” may change. The body, realizing that the extreme has dragged on, decides to connect “heavy artillery” to the fight against it, where the stress hormone cortisol becomes the main weapon. This hormone itself and in small doses is also not bad, but its prolonged production leads to a negative result.
One of the most unpleasant “side effects” of cortisol is an increase in appetite and a strong slowdown in metabolism. Metabolism is largely subject to the cruel laws of the primitive period, when any danger was associated with problems with food. That is why, experiencing prolonged “cortisol
” stress, the metabolism out of place turns on genetic memory and begins to accumulate energy for the future. And reserves are deposited in the form of the most energy-intensive substance – fat.
This is how, quite imperceptibly, during prolonged unjustified stress, we begin to gain kilograms. Moreover, they are stored in the most unpleasant places: in the waist and abdomen, around the internal organs. If you leave such internal – visceral – fat without attention, in the near future it will lead to serious health problems.
Before you go on strict diets, analyze if extra pounds have appeared in the waist area due to prolonged stress? Is the increase in appetite triggered by troubles at work, worries about loved ones, chronic lack of sleep, or emotional overload? But do not overdo it with diets. Frightened by power outages, the body can gain even more reserves at the waist and buttocks. Therefore, weight loss should be approached wisely. Start with practices of mindfulness, try yoga
. These practices target the reasons of stress itself and help you ton develop mindful approach to eating. You will learn to listen to your body and understand what it needs instead what your racing mind is forcing it into. This is the most important step in weight loss without exhausting dieting and killing exercises.