Stress has countless repercussions. For instance, it can cause constipation and pain. I’ve also covered how depression can shift your weight. Nevertheless, it’s time we combine them. How are stress and weight gain related?
Plenty of research has gone into the subject. However, there’s still a lot we don’t know. Likewise, the effects seem to be more prevalent in women. On the other hand, few studies have considered male participation.
Today, I’ll try to clarify a few doubts. What should you keep in mind? Can stress and fat storage share a connection?
Do women gain weight from stress?
The short answer is “yes.” Non-overweight people can experience excess fat in the abdomen. Furthermore, that correlates with higher cortisol levels. Higher abdominal fat also seems to occur along with more negative moods. That includes stress.
The changes appear related to swings in cortisol secretion. Subjects with higher fat accumulation seem to secrete more cortisol. Poor coping capability and reactions can play a crucial role as well.
The latter is a significant observation. Coping differences can dictate our reactivity to stress and fat distribution.
Average people’s stress and weight gain
Interestingly, this study assesses non-overweight women and fat distribution. In these cases, slim individuals still see repercussions. Abdominal fat doesn’t reach overweight levels, yet it’s more significant.
That could also contribute to weight gain above the age of 40. As stressors become more common, weight turns into an issue. Similarly, stress reactivity can be less efficient at older ages.
Is cortisol the link?
Cortisol appears to be the link between both conditions. Exposure to stressors boosts cortisol activity. In turn, that causes increases in weight gain.
Cortisol influences our fat distribution. It moves our fat storage around our organs. As such, cortisol exposure seems to heighten visceral fat in animals. We appear to share this characteristic.
What other factors can we consider?
We must also assess other stressors and consequences. Our lifestyle can be a prominent stressor. Smoking and substance abuse can cause significant stress. Moreover, they also contribute to higher abdominal fat.
Hormonal changes are also worth noting. The same goes for our work environment. Therefore, proper sleep and nutrition should be priorities.
The holistic takeaway
Women seem more susceptible to stress and weight gain. However, everyone should take these considerations. Proper lifestyle changes offer a myriad of benefits on multiple fronts.
If you’re experiencing stress and weight gain, don’t worry. I have several tips to help you. Make sure to check my recommendation for a lean belly!