Explore a few of the factors that link stress to weight gain.

The average American is under constant stress. I’m not talking about huge, life-changing events. I’m talking the day-to-day stressors of life that we’ve learned to just deal with. We feel pressure to perform well at work, have a perfect body, be an amazing parent…and a million other things. Chronic stress has us by the throats, and it’s taking its toll on us not only emotionally, but physically, as well. Let’s look into how stress is hurting our poor bodies, shall we?

Stress makes you overeat

When you’re stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol that makes you crave foods that are high in carbohydrates. So it’s not just your emotional state that makes you want a burger, fries, and soda…your body’s hormones are telling you that you need to eat!

Stress slows your metabolism

A stressed body can’t metabolize food as quickly as a calm one. As humans, we already have a tendency to eat when we’re stressed, but in addition, our bodies simply don’t have the ability to process food quickly and efficiently.

Stress makes you store fat

Being stressed also makes you store extra fat…visceral fat, to be precise. That’s the really nasty stuff that collects around the organs in your abdominal area. High levels of visceral fat lead to heart disease and diabetes.

Stress affects your sleep

When you’re stressed, it can be difficult to sleep at night. If you suffer from lack of sleep, your body can’t produce essential appetite-regulating chemicals. Your body also needs a certain amount of time to reset itself, so it can be ready to burn calories properly throughout the next day.

In a recent study, two groups of overweight and obese people were asked to follow the same diet. However, one group was assigned to get about five hours of sleep each night, and the other about 8 hours. Guess who lost more weight? You got it—the group that got more sleep, even though they were following the same eating plan!

I thought I was doing pretty good on sleep until I got the new iFit Vue. I was shocked to discover that I average about six hours of sleep every night. Depressing, isn’t it? So I’m trying to get more sleep, and then maybe I’ll fit into my fall skinny jeans!

Now that I’ve made you feel like Jen getting a stress test on the hit comedy IT Crowd…don’t worry! In my next few blog posts, I’m going to explore how to keep your stress at bay, so we can make it easier for our bodies to lose weight. Stay tuned!

~Rebecca Sanders