Stress is a driver of weight gain. I wish it weren’t the truth, but it is.
Every stressor you experience (emails, SM, kids, work, household, relationships, bills) initiates your body’s fight or flight response. When that occurs a series of internal changes happen.
- The stressor triggers the release of cortisol and adrenaline to prepare your body for a fight or the need to flee.
- That release signals the liver to release glucose (stored sugar) into the bloodstream to provide the body with the fuel necessary to fight or flee
- If the released blood sugar isn’t used immediately for a fight or a flight it gets taken up into the body’s fat cells to be stored for later use.
- Because the liver has now dumped it’s stored glucose, your body is signaled to replenish that necessary energy and triggers you to crave sugary, higher calorie foods.
- You try as hard as you can to fight the cravings, but in the end, you give in and eat those things you’re craving and sometimes in a larger amount than you need.
- The next thing you know you’re getting hit by a work deadline, finding your kid covered in an entire jar of peanut butter, or navigating working from home and digital learning at the same time to begin the cycle all over again.
- Before you know it you’ve gained 15 pounds over the course of a year “without doing anything differently.”
This stress cycle requires your body to store sugar like it’s a full-time side hustle. Why? The body’s stress triggers aren’t being utilized for a prehistoric fight or flee situation to stay safe from a saber tooth tiger. So, the released glucose (sugar) is being absorbed into your existing fat cells which triggers weight gain.
And, BTW, you are experiencing more than one stressor a day!
Of course, stress isn’t 100% of the reason why we struggle to lose weight, but it is a major contributing factor as it affects your metabolism in multiple ways.
You’re never going to be stress free, but mitigating your overall inputs each day can prevent the weight gain associated with living a high stress lifestyle.