It is fairly common knowledge that an overload of stress can lead to a whole host of debilitating health problems, including migraines, ulcers, gastrointestinal disorders, depression, anxiety, and heart disease.
But did you know that stress also has a direct effect on your ability to lose weight? This is primarily due to increased production of the hormone cortisol, which is the body's natural response to stress. Under normal conditions, cortisol performs many useful functions, such as maintaining homeostasis (your body’s biological stability), regulating blood pressure, and providing energy in response to critical ''fight or flight" situations.
However, a number of research studies have linked elevated cortisol levels with the triple whammy of increased appetite, intense cravings for fat and sugar, and greater accumulation of fat deposits in the abdominal region. In short, stress compels your body to produce excess cortisol, which in turn causes you to eat more junk food and ultimately results in a bulging waistline. Dieting is difficult enough without having to deal with that slippery slope!
So how can you overcome the adverse effects associated with stress related cortisol production? Obviously it's impossible to completely eliminate all external stressors from your life, so the best approach to the problem is to try reducing their impact. We recommend the following coping strategies:
Now that you've read through our tips for reducing stress and the excess cortisol production that usually results, we want to hear from you. What are your favorite stress relief methods?