Stress, Cortisol and Weight Gain
The Cortisol Connection: Coping With Stress and Weight Gain
People feel stressed for a lot of reasons. You feel tired, frustrated and stressed when everything just feels overwhelming and that you are handling things more than you can. You feel stressed when you become overloaded and starts to think of you can really cope with the pressures placed in your shoulder. It’s normal to feel stressed as people all have a lot of things they need to deal at home, at school, at work and just about everywhere.
Cortisol and its Role in Stress
Cortisol, a steroid hormone, is produced from the cholesterol found in the two adrenal glands on top of each kidney. Normally, cortisol is released in response to events and circumstances like exercising, waking up in the morning as well as acute stress. At the same time, cortisol plays an important part in human nutrition.
This is what regulates your energy which is done by choosing the right kind and amount of substrate — protein, carbohydrates or fat — that the body needs so that your physiological demands can be met. However, when your cortisol is chronically elevated such as when you are stressed, it can have drastic effects on weight, immune function as well as risk to chronic illnesses.
Cortisol is known for its role in the “fight or flight response” as well as temporary increase in body’s production of energy. This is by working with its partner epinephrine but in the expense of processed which normally are not required for your immediate survival. It results to biochemical and hormonal imbalances such as stress.
What Happens When You Are Stressed?
When you are stressed, it is your body responding as if you are in danger. In times like this, your hormones go haywire. It begins to speed up your heart, makes you breathe faster and then gives you a boost of energy. In some ways, stress can also be useful.
As mentioned before, it gives a burst of energy so it gives you help to work and react quickly. If you have an important job that you need to finish or has to be on a certain place in a particular time, it helps you in speeding things up with your body recognizing that you need to be quick in everything you do. But stress also poses a threat to your health if you don’t learn how to cope with it.
Anything that challenges or threatens your well-being is considered a stress. When your stress begins to undermine your physical and mental health, then they are bad. In cases like this, you need to learn of stress management measures to control the physical and mental effects such as:
· Rapid breathing
· Rising blood pressure
· Rising pulse or heart rate
· Tensed muscles
· Heightened alertness
· Inability to sleep
· Digestive system slows down
· Immune systems goes down
· Back pain
· Becomes moody, tensed or depressed
These are among the immediate effects you will experience when you are stressed. Your body is telling you that there is something wrong. Most of us, however, have different interpretations of what stress is and what is important. Many people believe that it is event or the stressor that matters and that when those are gone, you will not be stressed anymore.
But what really matters is your thoughts about the situations you are in. You face a challenge and you assess it, you find out if it is a threat, how to deal with it and what resources you can use. Upon assessing all these and you find out that to deal with the situation is beyond your resources, then you look at the situation as stressful.
Healthy Ways of Relieving Stress and Weight Gain
Once you have successfully identified and reduced your stressors, you now begin learning of ways to avoid getting stressed and negate the harmful effects of stress. Of course, you need to understand that stress is normal for all people. You cannot actually get rid of it, but you can find ways to avoid, reduce or getting around the stress in your life.
Practice scheduling. Prioritize and don’t procrastinate. This way, you won’t be stressed about time not being enough to do the many things you need to do.
Take care of your health. Eat healthy. Sleep enough. Don’t smoke and limit your alcohol. Being healthy is one of the things that will keep from the effects of stress.
Change your way of thinking. Stop always working about things you don’t have control. Learn to say no. Look at things at different perspective and see them at the brighter side instead of focusing on the negative.
Talk about or speak up about your worries to your family. Bottling up your feelings will only make it worse. This is a healthy way of finding resolution to your problems with your friends and family helping you out.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your family and friends are there to support you. You can ask for their help. A strong support network like them can help you better manage stress.
A lifestyle change can also help you manage stress and all the effects that come with it. There is a link between stress and weight gain as the former can slow down your digestive system. If you don’t want to find yourself gaining weight because of stress, there are several activities you can engage which helps in managing stress.
You can engage in aerobic and anaerobic exercises that can reduce your stress. There are also mind exercises like yoga which you can consider. Deep breathing exercises, meditation and visualization are among the most popular ways you can deal with stress. Connecting with your social circles is also a good thing for reducing your stress.
Stress is a part of everyone’s lives. It cannot be rid of but with understanding your body stress mechanisms and responses, you can put yourself in a position that stressful situations are minimized in the best possible way. Too much stress and poor coping techniques can lead you to excess of your body’s cortisol production.
When that happens, likely results are obesity, low immunity system and the onslaught of every other illness. As such, you need to start learning more about your body, stress, lead healthier lifestyle and change perspective. You can check out this article to learn more about stress, cortisol and weight gain.