In this day in age, everyone experiences some degree of stress. Whether it be minor or major, good or bad, stress impacts the way the body functions. When it comes to weight loss, managing stress is essential and here is why:
1. Elevated stress levels slow down your thyroid.
a. The Thyroid gland is responsible for metabolism. It works by first receiving a chemical signal from the brain called TSH which then tells the thyroid to convert inactive thyroid hormone (T4) to active thyroid hormone (T3). Elevated stress levels prevents TSH from being released, thereby inhibiting the conversion of T4 to T3. Thyroid hormone production decreases and overall metabolism slows down.
2. Elevated stress affects blood-sugar levels
a. Elevated stress levels can lead to insulin resistance, subsequently resulting in increased fat storage, mainly around the abdominal region. Ultimately, increased insulin resistance causes sugars to be stored as fat!
3. Stress can affect your sleep
a. When you’re feeling stressed you’re more likely to have ruminating thoughts at night leading to difficulty falling or staying asleep. If you get less than 7 hours of sleep your hormones Leptin and Ghrelin become affected. You may notice that you’re always hungry and never satisfied! A lack of sleep is a major cause for overeating. Moreover, if you’re not sleeping well at night you may feel tired and sluggish the next day. You may not have the energy to take a walk or work out. Less exercise and the intake of more calories is a simple cause for weight gain.
4. Stress can cause food cravings and lead to emotional eating!
a. When you feel stressed you may notice cravings for sugary or salty foods. It’s rare to crave a salad during a period of intense stress! Sugar cravings often happen when stress levels are high; when stress is prolonged and the body gets tired of releasing the stress hormone salt cravings take over. Regardless of what you’re craving, you’re likely to overeat. Coupled with a slower metabolism and insulin resistance, it’s not wonder it’s so easy to pack on the pounds!
If you’re experiencing stress of any kind it’s important to strategically manage it. For some it’s as simple of taking a few deep breaths while for others supplementation to address stress hormone imbalance is necessary. Massage therapy and acupuncture treatments can also reduce stress levels as well as improve sleep. If your goal is to lose weight, speak with a professional who can address all aspects that may be affecting your weight loss success!