Have you ever been so stressed that you can’t eat? Me neither. My standard reaction to stress is to find comfort in food. Eating high fat/high sugar foods raises endorphins or happy chemicals that can calm in times of stress. Stress also provides a great excuse as we are “too busy to exercise”, but stress may do something more that actually increases fat even if we are eating the same calories. It raises cortisol, the fight or flight hormone, that actually creates more fat, especially around the belly organs (visceral fat) which can be the most dangerous kind of fat to our health.
The body responds to all stress whether physical or psychological in the same way. When you are stressed, your brain acts as if you are in physical danger and you go into flight or flight mode. The hormone cortisol is released which actually increases fat storage because it thinks your body just burned a bunch of calories fleeing, even though it was only your mind, and you actually burned very few calories. It also tells your body that it is hungry. As long as you are stressed, the body keeps making cortisol and making more fat. Cortisol also slows down your metabolism so you may not lose weight even though you are eating less.
Americans tend to live in a constant state of stress. Our bodies need some stress but lowering stress to a manageable level is not only good for our heart but our waist line as well.
Dr. Deb’s Stress Less, Lose Weight Tips