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Stress and Weight

Title: Stress and Weight
Bottom Line:
A recent research study found over 75% of people experience at least a moderate amount of
stress every day!
Chronic stress is not fun to deal with, but did you know it can also affect your weight?
When you are stressed your body goes into survival (or “fight or flight”) mode which changes
your hormonal balance. You don’t need to be running from a saber tooth tiger to enter fight or
flight mode. Even everyday events like traffic and stress at work can cause you to have that
physiological response.
Why it Matters:
Recent research suggests that chronic stress can result in:
 high blood pressure,
 changes in your brain,
 and weight gain.
When you are stressed out, it is more likely that you will over-eat and less likely that you will get
enough sleep and exercise. Stress causes your body to release cortisol, a hormone that can
produce a build-up of fatty tissue and cause weight gain. Cortisol increases both your appetite
and the amount of fat the body stores. By recognizing your stressors, and engaging in a few
simple relaxation techniques, you can learn to reduce your body’s natural stress response.
 The hormone Cortisol is released in response to stress and increases your blood sugar.
 Chronic stress can lead to elevated cortisol levels.
 An association has been found between increased cortisol levels and obesity.

Next Steps:
Relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or even simple breathing exercises can help
your body counter the stress response. Also, exercise has been shown to decrease stress
levels substantially.
The next time you are feeling stressed out, take a moment to breathe a few deep breaths and
try to get some exercise into your schedule that day. Not only will you feel better mentally, but
your body will be able to reduce the amount of Cortisol produced which will limit your body’s fat
storage and help curb any thoughts of over-eating. Staying fit and trim does start in your head!

Science Source:
Hair Cortisol and Adiposity in a Population‐Based Sample of 2,527 Men and Women Aged 54 to
87 Years. Obesity 2017

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