Gaining weight? Blame your job. No, I’m not going to preach on the perils of a sedentary lifestyle, or the burgers you wolf down during lunch hour. This is about work stress: how the pressures of meeting deadlines, or dealing with your crazy boss, could be the affecting your weight. Find out how job stress affects your body, and more importantly, how to get it under control.
How stress makes you fat
Stress wreaks havoc on our hormone levels. When we face a problem, our adrenal gland responds by producing adrenaline, norepinephrine and cortisol. These are supposed to heighten our senses and flood our body with extra energy. But they also jack up our heart rate and blood pressure. And, since the extra energy has to come from somewhere, our body converts glycogen reserves into glucose, and increases the levels of free fatty acids.
Now, that should be okay, if you only experience occasional bouts of stress. But if you’re chronically stressed, your body is on perpetual energy overdrive. What does this do to your body? Your body is always producing more insulin (to process the glucose), and the free fatty acids make your body more insulin-sensitive, too. And it’s the insulin that causes weight gain. To make things worse, weight gain worsens insulin sensitivity even further.
What can you do?
What this means is that it’s not enough to diet and exercise. A total, comprehensive weight loss plan includes stress management. Don’t rely on those supposed miracle stress pills that block stress hormones—not only are they not clinically proven, your body needs these hormones to maintain equilibrium. You’ll be seriously messing up your body chemistry.
So find some ‘me time.’ Try meditation. Get a hobby. And if you hate the word exercise, then just get active. Play with your kids. Go bowling with your friends. Do something that’s fun (try these cool exercise trends) and gets you moving around, because at the very least, it will give you a positive outlet for stress and get your insulin levels under control—and that’s a great step towards weight loss and overall health.
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