Stress and your weight

Stress, we all haven it don’t we? But what that stress is doing to us is what we have to really look at.

We all know that stress is not a good thing, which I knew too but had no idea that all that worry, anxiousness and turmoil in me was making me fat! Yes I was a Registered Nurse but a part of me didn’t want to acknowledge what it really was doing to me.

What you might not realize is there is a stress hormone called Cortisol which causes us to gain weight. You can be working hard on doing everything right to lose weight but if you are caught in stress and most importantly long term stress, it will be very difficult to lose weight.

So how does stress cause us to gain weight? What you need to know is stress back in the cave man days was triggered when that Tiger went after them. When this happened the body caused Cortisol to be released. Cortisol is the fight or flight hormone that is there to protect that cave man from being harmed by that Tiger, it signalled him to fight or to run away.

When Cortisol was released, its job was to signal the body to release glucose to the muscles to react, all the available glucose was sent to the muscles to deal with the stressful situation. You need those muscles to fight or run. So if all the glucose was sent to the muscles, it then temporarily restricts glucose to deal with your growth, digestion and even your brain.

What many people don’t talk about or even know is that yes, I get Cortisol causes with gain but how? With short term stress it doesn’t cause weight gain, it is with long term stress that causes the glucose to remain high in the body. This high glucose in our body triggers the release of Insulin and Insulin is the hormone in the body that causes Obesity!

Excess Cortisol from chronic stress causes weight gain! So long term stress leads to long term elevated Cortisol levels in the body which then leads to those extra pounds on you.

As a Registered Nurse I knew all about how stress is not good for me and how it affects the body but had no idea how to not be stressed! How could I not be stressed with what my boss said to me at work, or with how much I was stressing on myself for not losing weight! I thought I was dealing with my stress relief by sitting on the couch watching tv or being on the computer but guess what? To deal with stress there are three action steps that you need to take:

  1. Stress relief is an active process. The best active ways are mindfulness, mediation, yoga, exercise (that you are doing because you enjoy it not because you have to do it), or even having a massage.
  2. It is also about stopping beating yourself up in what you are saying to yourself about how you look, how much weight you should have lost already, how you should be eating better, all of that! This talk to ourselves only puts more stress on ourselves. It is time to start being compassionate and kind to yourself.  What I tell my clients is, would you talk to a child the way you talk to yourself? If not then it is time to start being compassionate and loving to yourself.
  3. It is also how you are thinking and feeling about what others say or do to you as well and how you get stressed from that. With this you have no control over the facts but you do have control over your thoughts about it. If you are anything like me, I can get my thoughts just going wild with the worst case scenarios or about how bad it is which only lead me to feeling even more stressed for even longer. So ask yourself, what if you can be in a situation and not feel “stressed”? This is possible but it is your choice to work on changing how you think and feel.

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