The credit bills are mounting day by day and your job is hanging by a thread. Even more, your child’s school fee is yet to be paid and your other kid is probably considering quitting school to become a rock star.
Does Stress Cause Belly Fat?
Regardless of the reason for stress, this has become a norm in the 21st century. While the effects of stress sometimes manifest in form of discomfort or anxiety, for some people, stress results in an increased appetite and hence increased weight. Some of the extra food is converted to fat which ends around the midsection forming what is commonly referred to as belly fat.
Is All That Stress Making Your Belly Fat?
Let’s face it. Belly fat is not attractive. But regardless of how you look at it, belly fat is worse than you might think. In fact, scientific research has linked belly fat to serious medical conditions like cancer, stress, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Stress triggers the release of ‘fight-or-flight’ hormones from the body which are produced in the adrenal glands. These include epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol. Epinephrine relaxes the intestines as well as the stomach muscles and decreases flow of blood to the above organs. Norepinephrine inhibits production of insulin so that your body can have plenty of blood glucose at the ready. Cortisol acts after the stressor has passed and simply inhibits the production of the above hormones and thus enables the body to continue regular digestion. Usually, cortisol levels fluctuate throughout the day but when under stress, they will increase and stay at high levels.
How Does Stress Cause Belly Fat
Increased levels of cortisol and stress inhibit the body to give in to weight loss. During such times, all that the body knows is that you are having a hard time and in attempt to prevent starvation, the body hoards any fats available. If cortisol levels go up, the fat in healthier areas such as the hips and butt is transferred to the abdomen, an area which tends to have more cortisol receptors. With time, what was once a healthy peripheral fat is transformed into unhealthy visceral fat. This increases insulin resistance and inflammation. Ultimately, what you are left with is increased belly fat.
What Can You Do About Belly Fat?
So what can you do about your belly fat? Start by living a healthy lifestyle that includes a healthy diet strategy that can support you when under stress. Avoid excess carbohydrates, refined grains, and processed foods and instead, increase high quality protein intake and limit caffeine intake. You should also de-stress yourself to ensure that stress hormone production remains low. These are simple choices that you will have to make every day but in the long run, they will be worth it.