Stress can be caused by different reasons. We can be stressed because of pressure at work or if we are in real danger of getting physically hurt. The body responds to this situation by getting ready to fight or preparing to evade the situation in any way possible. The body answers by a sudden burst of energy, change in metabolism and blood flow and other changes.
Stress leads to gaining weight in several ways:
People under stress tend to have much more cravings than under normal circumstances. They desire much more fatty, salty and sugar-rich foods. Those can be sweets, processed foods and pretty much anything that is bad for your health and leads to weight gain.
The medical term for this is stress-induced eating. Research on this topic clearly states that women are at much higher risk of gaining weight when they use eating as a means for coping with stress. Studies prove that women who use food and drinks to deal with mounting stress have much higher body-mass index (BMI) than their male counterparts. Higher BMI increased the risk of development of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and many other conditions.
Furthermore, research reveals that the reasons for becoming a compulsive eater are different in the two genders. Men start eating excessively after a divorce or losing their job while women start when they do not receive enough emotional support.
Stress also affects where we store the fat from the increased eating. Stressed people tend to gain weight in the abdominal area. Fat there is not only unappealing, but leads to more health complications that anywhere else on the body.
Permanent stress leads to changes in the blood sugar levels. This causes mood swings, exhaustion and hyperglycemia. When people have higher blood sugar levels they cannot absorb this energy in the cells fast enough. The body starts requiring more which makes us eat more.
People often gain weight when they are under stress. This can happen even if they continue to have the same amount of food as before. When we are under stress the body releases significant amounts of the cortisol hormone. It slows down the metabolism and as a result the human body amasses weight. This happens at a faster rate than normally experienced. It also makes it much more difficult to lose weight as the metabolism is slower. As a result of this women often start using different diet pills which can promise only temporary results.
To sum up, it turns out that when we are more relaxed, we will gain less weight and will therefore be healthier.