Can Stress Cause Belly Fat?

Image : © Mqdee

We know that being overweight brings with it a number of problems, stress being one of them. When we do not like the way we look, we seldom feel good about ourselves. But does it work the other way round? Does stress actually cause weight gain? Well, that is very much a possibility! Today, the kind of lifestyle we lead is an indicator of the kind of health problems we can have. Stress is all pervasive today—be it stress at work places or related to family, children, environment, state etc. This 24/7 stress can really take a toll on one’s health and also a cause of weight gain. But how exactly does stress cause weight gain, especially in the tummy region?

What Causes Weight Gain?

  • Unhealthy Lifestyle:

Unlike the good old days, when meal times were sacred and people paid attention to what they ate, today there is no mealtime! With the pressures of everyday life and work, people do not want to spend more time on eating. The morning breakfast is a hurried affair, with just a coffee or sandwich on the go. There is hardly any time to prepare anything nutritional. The lunch too, much like the breakfast, is mostly fast food, which is high on calorie. Most of us sit down for a proper meal only at dinner time. Here too, wrong kind of food is consumed and that too in bigger portions. Adding to that, most of us spend our meal times watching TV or talking over mobile phones, which ultimately takes the attention away from the food, leading one to overeating. All this adds to weight gain.

 Affects Of Stress:

  • Can Stress Cause Belly Fat:

Cortisol is an important hormone that helps to maintain blood pressure level. It also provides energy for the body. It stimulates insulin for maintaining the blood sugar levels and stimulates carbohydrates and fat for fast energy. Cortisol is also known as the stress hormone as it secretes more during psychological or physical stress. During such situations, the normal hormonal balance in the body is altered, resulting in weight gain. Studies have shown that women who are stressed tend to eat more. Studies have also shown that women who have more abdominal fat have higher cortisol level due to life style stress as compared to women who have fat deposits around the hip. It is not just overweight women who gain fat deposits on the belly; even thin women are susceptible to it if they are prone to stress.

Belly fat is dangerous as it is directly connected to the development of cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes.

Cortisol, when combined with hormones like insulin and testosterone, can add  belly fat and stress in woman. When the stress level becomes chronic, it can affect the pituitary, hypothalamus, and thyroid, ovarian and adrenal glands.

  • Other Problems Caused by High Stress Levels:

The high cortisol level in the body increases the appetite and cravings, especially for sugary and fatty carbohydrates. It also leads to loss of bone density, libido, and muscle mass.

How Can One Manage Stress?

  • Stress Management:

If you are a woman with a pronounced belly, in spite of all kinds of exercise and diet plans, then your problem is stress. Managing of this stress can help you to cut down on that fat accumulated around your abdomen. Rather than working out too much, relaxing your mind and body would be a better way to melt all that stubborn belly fat. Walking, spending time at the spa, meditation, hot baths, or sex—all are good ways to eliminate belly fat. Consuming less calorie food and exercising too much can raise your cortisol levels ever further, making it difficult to lose all that belly fat.

  • Sleep Well:

Sleep deprivation can also lead to elevated cortisol levels in a person. A sound sleep of 7 -8 hours every day is very important for a healthy body. It helps to relax and also keeps a check on your weight!
The first thing you need to do is to make yourself free of the vicious circle. Stress causes weight gain, which in turn causes further stress! So first learn to relax your mind and learn to deal with problems. Once you learn to control stress, you will be on your way to a healthier, happier life.

Have you noticed a link between stress and weight gain? What did you do to break free of the vicious circle? Share with us in the comments section.

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