Stress: A common weight loss barrier!

 In our busy, overscheduled lives, stress is an everyday issue that affects our mood, positivity and our body too. Common triggers of stress include finances, work and relationships, which blur our focus on weight loss and exercise. However, your focus isn’t the only thing that’s affected. Research shows that stress affects the body in a much deeper way, which further prevents you from keeping those extra pounds off. Here’s how:Your Body’s Natural ResponseStress triggers the body’s adrenal response, called the fight or flight response. This causes the activation of the glycogen stored in the liver and muscle and pushes the body to store more fat for energy.One study conducted by the University of New Mexico in 2005 showed that this stress response leads to increased fat storage, loss of muscle mass and an individual’s impulse to eat more than he or she should.Cortisol ReleaseCortisol is a stress hormone which inhibits weight loss. Prolonged stress stimulates the body to release more cortisol in the blood stream which slows metabolism and causes loss of muscle mass.In addition, cortisol also causes the unwanted storage of fat, especially in the abdominal region. The National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service states that other possible signs of high cortisol levels are fatigue, high blood pressure and high blood glucose levels.Metabolic SyndromeAn article published in the British Medical Journal in 2006 showed that employees with chronic work stress are twice more likely at risk of metabolic syndrome than those who don’t have work stress.Metabolic syndrome increases a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes and stroke. Since it is linked to stress, it may be a risk factor of heart disease as well.Emotional Eating or Increased AppetiteEmotional eating is a common problem among most young children, teenagers and adults. Stressful situations trigger the release of cortisol and adrenaline. The high cortisol levels in the blood increase your appetite and lead to sugar cravings.How to Prevent StressBeating stress can seem near to impossible but you can reduce it by practicing a few life-improving techniques every day. First identify what’s causing stress in your life and try to overcome it. Next take 5-10 minutes of your day to meditate and breathe deeply – preferably before you start your day or work. Other calming methods are yoga, tai chi, massage, exercise, dance, music and aromatherapy.

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