Stress is a factor in our lives that is often underestimated – some times we are not aware of how much we endure until we take a step back to evaluate our lives, our stressors, and their long term effects. One very real effect of too much stress is weight gain. When we aren’t able to get our stress under control, the body reacts in negative ways affecting our weight gain and food choices as a result.
Stress can come from many different areas in life: work, money, relationships, kids, time, responsibility… and it all factors in. When not addressed, chronic stress leads to hiccups throughout the usual bodily functions and causes negative changes in eating habits.
How Does Stress Affect the Body?
When we experience stress our body responds by firing up the adrenals and affecting hormone levels. Cortisol, one of the three major fight or flight hormones, regulates many aspects of our day to day lives – in excess it puts our body into crisis mode shutting down “unnecessary” functions such as digestion, metabolism, and reproduction.
Excessive levels of cortisol, like when you are in a high stress situation for an extended period of time, can effect sleep, increase fat storage, and even stimulate the brain to ask for carbs and sugar to help cope with the increase in levels.
This increase in stress, and often insufficient sleep, slows down the metabolism and kicks up our pleasure centers telling our brains to ask for foods we wouldn’t otherwise eat such as salty, sugary, and carby foods. When combined with an inhibited metabolism and you have a recipe for a weight-gaining disaster!
Though you may not know it, stress is a well-established trigger in many diseases, too, usually due to its release of pro-inflammatory chemicals. High levels of stress can increase your chances of heart attack and other cardiovascular complications, as well as cause hormone imbalances and digestive issues.
Ever hear of people gaining years of age in just a small amount of time–mostly from their stressful lives? Stress can actually increase the rate at which the body and mind age. When stress is heavy, it can wear on the mind, slowing mental function and causing the body to tire easily. It can also reduce blood circulation to the skin as well as slow down the production of collagen.
Stress can also create a lot of fatigue, because when we are stressed we either eat too many carbs or drink too much caffeine in an attempt to boost energy levels, which inevitably leads to an energy crash. It doesn’t take long to form unhealthy habits that lead to crashing when your body is stressed out.
How To Fight Against High Levels of Stress
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to deal with stress, and if you don’t choose healthy habits early on, your body can suffer significantly.
One of the best ways to equip your body with the means to deal with stress is to ensure you are getting a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Stress can affect the time it takes to fall asleep and the time it takes to wake up in the morning, as well the actual quality of your sleep. Your brain and body both need time to keep up with our demanding lives, and sleep is the natural way it recharges. Don’t deprive your body of from its rest!
Exercise also significantly reduces the effects of stress on your lives, we release endorphins when we exercise. Also known as the “feel good hormones”, they improve mood, sleep, feelings of anxiety, and even improve feeling of well-being. Increasing your heart rate, getting the blood flowing, and working the muscles to release their own hormones into the body which aide in combatting the undesired effects of stress.
Eating healthy can also be beneficial by not bogging down the body with chemicals and preservatives – a diet rich in nutrients will also boost energy levels and improve overall performance.
Hormone Therapy and Tests at ageRejuvenation
Cortisol is considered “the stress hormone” and when it’s too high for too long, it can cause adrenal fatigue and even adrenal failure. At ageRejuvenation, we can test cortisol levels and see if they are contributing to weight gain. If adrenal fatigue is effecting your health board certified practitioners are able to address the diagnosis through nutrition, supplement, and hormonal modification.
With offices across Tampa Bay, it’s easy to stop into a ageRejuvenation clinic in North Tampa, South Tampa, Brandon, and Westchase / Oldsmar for weight loss treatments, other health-conscious procedures, and advice. Our staff is comprise of trained professional with years of experience in the field!
Stop in and learn how you can take back your life and begin tomorrow as a healthier you! You can also call us at 888-865-8370.