Firstly what is stress?
Stress is the body’s natural response to external events, both pleasant and un-pleasant. in small doses, stress provides a beneficial prod when we need to step up productivity, and studies indicate a lack of stress hormones can make us susceptible to autoimmune diseases such as arthritis.
So how does stress cause us to gain weight?
our bodies are biologically programmed to put on weight when tension runs high. When a stressful event occurs it signals an alarm in our brain, which sends us into fight-or-flight mode. As a result, the body releases stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which trigger carbohydrate cravings, increased blood sugar levels, and encourage the body to store fat as a reserve. “In the wild”, we would use those reserves to fight back or run away, but as we’re usually stuck behind a desk, in a car, or a supermarket queue when stress appears, we don’t utilise the energy and it then stored.
Weight gain isn’t the only side effect of stress. While the body diverts the blood flow to large muscles needed to fight or flee, less blood flows to the digestive system and other ‘less important’ organs, causing anything from sweating, nausea, and stomach cramps Eventually our bodies develop illnesses as a reaction to repeated stress, such as cardiovascular disease, ulcers, diabetes, and chronic fatigue.