How stress affects our weight?

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Stress impacts almost every area of our lives. Irrespective of age, every person is experiencing it on different levels. Today, many studies suggest that various health problems are occurring solely due to constant pressure or stress.

Given the above fact in mind, what exactly is stress?
One can define stress as a form of pressure, which results often during an unpleasant situation. Don’t get me wrong, a healthy pressure is necessary for us to perform better but chronic stress has long term health impacts.

When stressed, our body releases a hormone called Cortisol- also known as the stress hormone. Under normal circumstances, cortisol helps in various functions like managing metabolism, inflammation and blood sugar levels etc within our body.

When secreted in excess amounts it disrupts the natural metabolism and slows it down. This is one of the main causes of weight gain. 

Cortisol also stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism, which leads to a surge in energy in your body (normally required for fight or flight response). Increased cortisol levels come with increased hunger levels and unexplained cravings. In some cases, loss of appetite. 

Cortisol also reduces testosterone levels and this causes lower muscle mass. Cortisol is catabolic that means it breaks down molecules and inhibits protein synthesis which then affects your muscle mass negatively. 

Other areas affected by cortisol levels – anxiety, binge eating, depression, extreme anger and irritability, diabetes, lower immunity, high BP, etc.

Now that we are aware of the negative effects – It is important we manage stress with these simple steps. 
  1. Exercise and stay active daily. Exercising is the best to way to boost happy hormones and reduce stress levels in the body. 
  2. Get minimum 7-8 hours of sleep
  3. Stay hydrated and limit caffeine intake
  4. Start reading or journaling your thoughts. Observe what triggers stress and try to avoid the situation or manage the situation better 
  5. Eat healthy and cut out on processed food items
  6. Make some time for hobbies
  7. Make sure you engage in at least one activity you enjoy the most
  8. Spend at least 1 – 2 hours with people enjoy spending time with you
  9. Start practising meditation – begin with spending 5- 10 mins, observing your breaths and play chanting music in the background
  10. Bare foot walk on the grass is a beautiful strategy to manage stress
  11. Learn to slow down and enjoy every moment in life
  12. Set realistic goals and learn to appreciate small wins. 
Practice this on a daily basis and eventually things are going to be much more in control and this takes time. One has to be patient. Although, if things are still out of control, you can see professional help. 
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