Have you found that despite everything you do to improve your nutrition and fitness; you are still not hitting your goals? The stressor is real or an imaginary threat, our bodies will experience the same physical response. Your heart will start to race whether a lion is chasing you.
Stress can be triggered when we set expectations that are too high to meet them comfortably. Imagine that you are a mother trying to get the kids to play football, and you are late; you go over your daily tasks and find that you don’t even have time to start the first one. Or you have a presentation in an hour that you haven’t started to prepare for.
Cortisol has a bad reputation for being the “fat-storage hormone,” but it’s not bad at all; we need it to survive. During times of stress, cortisol raises blood sugar, increases blood pressure, and suppresses the immune system, increasing your ability to flee danger. cortisol levels rise when it’s time to wake up and start in the morning, then drop as bedtime approaches. To prevent health complications like heart attack, eat low cholesterol diet. Low cholesterol in body prevent these severe conditions.
Let’s say you’re going for a walk, minding your own business, and suddenly this lion from before (yes, we know most of you won’t find lions in your everyday life, but let’s be imaginative here) appears out of the bushes. Your fight-or-flight system kicks in, and your adrenal glands pump stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, and as a result, glucose (our primary source of energy) is released into our bloodstream, so that your brain is primed. The eye, to get you out of there!
Stress and weight gain
Once the actual / perceived threat has decreased, the adrenaline wears off, and cortisol kicks in to replenish your energy supply as quickly as possible. Hello, sugar cravings! Your body is designed to store energy as a protective mechanism, especially after stressful situations, primarily in the form of visceral fat in and around the abdomen. The downside is that this belly fat is unhealthy and stressful to get rid of. In addition to the weight loss difficulties, cortisol does a double whammy by slowing down your metabolism. If you are confused between plant-based diet and vegan must have a look here.
This is a case of what happened first, the chicken or the egg, research shows a correlation between weight and cortisol levels, but it’s unclear what the cause is and the result. It’s probably a combination of the two. A recent study shows that high cortisol levels over time lead to weight gain and obesity, which means that you will gain weight due to stress and have a harder time losing it.
“Stressed” is “desserts”
The increase in cortisol is associated with increased blood sugar levels then cravings for sugar, indicating comfort foods. Think about the foods you eat when you’re feeling stressed—thinking of ice cream, chocolate, and pizza?
Another reason why comfort foods help us feel better temporarily is that they give our brains a boost thanks to the happy neurotransmitter, serotonin. Feeling overwhelmed can make you want to seek comfort foods or eat emotionally. Stress can affect you both physiologically and psychologically, hence the need for sweets and cravings.