Stress & Weight Gain

These days stress is a way of life. There’s a multitude of reasons we become stressed; whether it be big life changes, debt, job or career worries, relationship issues or just simply the tension of the world brought to you day in and day out via your TV, for some people stress goes way beyond simply feeling anxious or uncomfortable.

For some people, stress causes binge eating or a constant feeling of hunger regardless of caloric intake. With this comes the additional anxiety associated with weight gain.

Is stress linked to weight gain?

According to this article published in WebMD, the response to chronic stress in many people is an increase in appetite, which can cause stress-induced weight gain. Some studies say the reason is the release of the stress-induced hormone called cortisol.

Another study published in the online Journal of Obesity suggests that mastering stress-reduction techniques and mindful eating can help prevent weight gain. In fact, the study linked stress levels in women to the amount of deep belly fat they were able to lose during the study.

Can stress levels be reduced through mental discipline?

It’s easy for an outsider to tell you to eliminate stress triggers in your life, but that is not always as simple as it sounds. Your job, relationships, finances, children and more can all be variables that trigger a stress response and taking measures such as quitting your job or breaking up with your significant other may not be the answer for you.

If your stress triggers are ones that can’t be simply eliminated, don’t despair. There are ways that you can reduce stress in your life through mental and physical training.

Women in this study at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) learned to be more mindful of their mind, bodies and the sensations they experience from each. The women who learned mindfulness practice and training and the basics of healthy eating and exercise experienced the loss of deep belly fat; this abdominal fat is linked to an elevated risk for developing diabetes and heart disease.

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