A certain level of stress is often needed to give us that “get up and go” to get through the challenges life can present us with. But beyond that normal level, we can start to see unpleasant side effects such as headaches and breathlessness.
These are the symptoms that immediately come to mind when we think of stress, but a little known fact is the effect it can have on your weight.
High Cortisol levels can lead to higher belly fat. So if you lower cortisol you should see belly fat loss.
See if you can judge who is most likely to gain weight and belly fat based on their reaction to stress:
- Claire is a 30-year-old advertising executive from London. She works long hours and finds it difficult to make time to eat during the day. Some days she grabs a piece of toast when leaving for work, most days she skips breakfast. Claire usually works through her lunch hour, and usually eats a salad or fruit at her desk. When a deadline approaches Claire sometimes finds that she is too nervous to eat
- Sarah is a 28-year-old sales assistant from Chicago. At the end of a long day, she loves nothing better than putting her feet up with a takeaway and a glass of wine (or two!). When the shop she works in is busy Sarah finds herself sneaking snacks in the backroom to try and get away from the crowds.
So who is most likely to lose weight?
You may be tempted to think Sarah is at risk of weight gain. A diet of takeaways and chocolate won't do much good for her waistline never mind her health. Claire, on the other hand, eats very little, surely she would lose weight on such a diet?
Claire is suffering from the classic symptoms of short term stress. She feels on edge most of the time, and the “butterflies” she gets in her stomach can make her feel too sick to eat. When we are stressed, cortisol (also known as the Stress Hormone) is released by the adrenal gland. This leads to an increase in blood sugar levels and blood pressure which can cause that racing heart feeling.
In the short term, energy levels can be increased and alertness raised. This is because cortisol contributes to our “fight or flight” reaction to a stressful situation, giving us a short term energy boost to get out of dangerous situations. In the long term, however, with chronically raised levels of cortisol, Claire could be at risk of reduced thyroid function and an increase of abdominal fat. With her mind racing all day, she could soon find it difficult to sleep and find herself “living off adrenaline” during the day.
Sarah probably experienced the same effects as Claire at first. But with long term exposure to stress, she has fallen prey to what is often known as “comfort eating”. In an attempt to feel happier and more in control of their lives, many of us eat traditionally “naughty” foods as a way of treating ourselves to make ourselves feel better. There is also a physiological explanation: studies have shown that we crave sugary and fatty foods when stressed.
Claire could soon find herself in Sarah's position. Working late could mean it is easier to have a take-out than to prepare a meal, and that the vending machine at work is handier for a chocolate fix than eating a proper meal for lunch.
How to overcome stress
For anyone who is trying to lose weight, stress is a hurdle that needs to be overcome both for your health and happiness. Here are some tips to overcome stress:
- Exercise! All of us can squeeze in time to exercise each week, whether it be a workout DVD, 30 minutes on your Wii fit, or a walk in the park. It can work almost instantly to increase endorphins, “the happy chemical”, and can be a great stress reliever.
- Make time for mealtimes. Don't grab unhealthy snacks on the go. Take a few minutes each night to prepare a packed lunch filled with fresh fruit and salad to graze on through the day.
- Take a break! So many of us work through our lunchtimes, with the excuse “I just don't have time” popping up for many. Even if you don't take a full hour, even five minutes to take a walk outside and clear your head can make a world of difference.
And still lose weight!
Some popular diet pills, such as amphetamines, can be extremely detrimental to those suffering from stress. When your mind and heart is racing, the last thing you need is a blood pressure increasing, teeth grinding inducing pill full of chemicals.
Instead, you want to choose a natural supplement that can balance the high blood sugar levels stress can cause while helping you to avoid the pitfalls of comfort eating.
For those suffering from stress, we believe Proactol XS is ideal as a natural supplement to help in healthy weight loss. For those who comfort eat due to stress, its appetite suppressant effects can support you to overcome temptation.
For those that find themselves exhausted and drained from a stressful lifestyle, Procol XS's ability to stabilize blood sugar levels and slow the release of consumed food helps provide a healthy level of sustained energy throughout the day.
Hi, I'm Aileen, the owner of Diet Pill Judge. I have personally tried loads of diet pills over the years and found that only a few of them really work.
My background is in science, so I set out to find supplements that have scientific evidence behind them and which I can confidently recommend.