Fitness: Why Stress Makes Us Fat
YOUR DAILY FIT TIP
By Jorge Cruise, Lifescript.com
Stress is often to blame for weight gain. And it’s not the resulting emotional eating that’s the problem. When you feel stressed, you actually trigger your fight-or-flight response. Your body then releases a number of stress hormones, notably cortisol. These hormones are designed to help you better handle your stressor by speeding up your heart rate, dilating your blood vessels and shunting blood away from your digestive track so it can go where you need it: your muscles.
Your liver also makes fuel in the form of sugar (from stored glycogen), so you have enough energy to “fight” or “flee” the stressor. However, today’s stressors aren’t dinosaurs or club-wielding cavemen – they’re more intangible, such as meeting work deadlines and paying speeding tickets. Your body doesn’t use the sugar your liver produces because you didn’t actually fight or flee. But your liver doesn’t know that and continues to trigger your brain to make you feel hungry. The extra calories you end up eating – all in response to that stress – get stored in fat cells. If you chronically trigger your fight-or-flight response, your body will try to store up as much fat as possible, and you’ll gain unnecessary weight.
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