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Stress and weight gain: what relationship?

Stress is a normal response to the body’s adaptation to certain external factors it faces. Constraints, aggressions, pressures, all these elements trigger a succession of reactions to cope with the situation. Until then nothing disturbing or problematic.

However, when the stressful situation persists or occurs too frequently the consequences on the body can be more serious. Indeed, this one is exhausted, certain organs or systems weaken or relax.

Thus, beyond the negative psychological and behavioral impact that stress can have on our lives, we must be aware that the latter has a real hormonal and physiological impact.

Stress can accelerate aging especially since it increases the oxidative damage (aging and cell death). It also causes an immune deficiency. The body becoming more susceptible to infectious agents, benign or serious, it is more easily sick.

Suffering from chronic stress, can therefore have multiple serious consequences and can also encourage weight gain. How is this phenomenon explained?

The famous cortisol!

When stressed, our system constantly secretes significant amounts of cortisol. It is a hormone whose level increases in the presence of stress. This reaction can have various consequences. First, when it is released, cortisol has the effect of stimulating the appetite and increase the desire for certain foods, fat and sweet. We therefore tend to eat more in quantities and to look for comfort foods (comfort food) hypercaloriques.

In addition, excessive and sustained production of cortisol also encourages fat storage. In fact, when the body senses that it will need to produce large amounts of energy, to cope with a given situation, it naturally prepares itself with reservations. However, these are in the form of fat, which can be converted into sugar and energy if necessary.

Then, when one is constantly under pressure, the production of insulin is temporarily inhibited, in order to preserve the energy present in the form of sugar in the body. This is again a factor that can lead to weight gain, but also increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Finally, an excess of cortisol can cause a slowing of the metabolism. So we burn fewer calories at rest and we end up gaining weight.

You will understand, a stressful life is not just unpleasant to live on a daily basis, it is also and above all very harmful to our health.

In addition to weight gain, stress promotes the appearance of several serious diseases, including cardiovascular. That is why it is essential to implement strategies to better manage the excessive stress to which we can all be exposed.

There are several solutions available to you and here are some examples:

  • Do a daily physical activity
  • Practice relaxation / meditation
  • Treat your diet
  • Choose relaxing activities
  • Consult a psychotherapist

It’s up to you to find your solution!

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