You might have heard that stress kills.
Did you know it can also make you fat?
When we’re stressed, our bodies release the hormone cortisol. It’s part of the “fight or flight” reaction that served a super-important function in caveman times when our ancestors encountered, say, a saber-tooth tiger.
But it can be deadly in our modern world, leading to sugar cravings and overeating – which cause us to be overweight and want more sugar.
Which causes more stress.
Vicious circle, indeed.
Stress also causes a lot of people to indulge in “comfort foods,” which tend to be high-fat, high-sodium, and high-sugar.
How many times have you come home from a hard day and cracked open a bag of potato chips or polished off a pizza?
So, learn to manage your stress by exercising, improving sleep, drinking less alcohol, and eating a healthy diet. Try yoga, meditation, mindfulness, or getting lost in a good book or music.
When you feel your body tensing up, notice it, and deliberately calm down by taking three deep breaths.
Smile, even a fake one. It actually does lead our brains to smiling and meaning it. Similarly, “fake laughing” produces the same stress-fighting physical reaction that “real” laughter does.
If you’ve been doing all the right things and your body isn’t changing it could be that your stress levels are consistently high and that focusing on stress reduction can make a big difference.