How Stress Can Affect Your Weight


Research studies have found that being under constant stress can play a role in how much a person weighs. In fact, how a person copes with the everyday stresses that come their way can have an impact on their waistline.


The Danger of Abdominal Fat


In particular, too much stress can lead to a build up of fat around the middle. This is the worst spot on the body for fat to accumulate. Abdominal fat is considered to be extremely dangerous as it has been linked to an increase in a number of diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.  According to a study done at Yale University, women  appear to be at a greater risk of developing fat in their abdominal area due to  an increase in stress, than do men.


A Hormone Called Cortisol


When a person is experiencing a great deal of stress, the body responds by releasing a hormone into the system known as cortisol. Cortisol plays a role in fat storing itself around the waistline and in the abdominal region.


The unfortunate side of cortisol is that if you do not find ways to calm yourself and alleviate the stress, your levels of this hormone will remain high even after the stressor disappears.


To give an example of this-


If you have a 4pm deadline at work and you are stressed out, your cortisol level will be high. If you do not find a way to cope adequately with the stress and to relieve it in a healthy manner, then the cortisol level will still be high the next day, and possibly even the next day, even though the problem has been resolved.



The stress connected to the original source hangs on because you did not cope in the best way possible. If cortisol levels remain high for a prolonged period of time, this will make it possible for more and more fat to be deposited around your middle. It does not help that many people eat more when they are stressed. Taken together, this can greatly expand the waistline of a person living under stressful circumstances.


Coping With Stress


The good news in all of this is that while you cannot completely avoid stress, you can find healthy ways to deal with it.


Exercise plays a key role in stress reduction.  People who do some form of physical activity on a consistent basis suffer from less anxiety and tend to have fewer health concerns.


Exercise is also excellent for a person's mental health and well being.  Being physically active boosts self confidence levels and allows a person to be more mentally fit. This means that the person has an easier time coping with the stresses of life.  


Exercising for as little as 30 to 60 minutes a day is enough to reap the benefits in terms of stress. The important thing is not what you do, but the fact that you get out there and do some form of exercise at least three to five times a week, if not more.  

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