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Stay happy-lose weight….

Recently I met my college friend after a long time, but I couldn’t recognize him due to his weight. Because he was very fit during our college days. But, somehow, we identified with each other and started to chat for a while. Slowly I asked him about his family and job. He answered that he was working in a reputed corporate company as a senior manager, and was leading a good life. But during the 2nd wave of COVID-19, unfortunately, he lost his father, also within a month after that; he received a letter from his office as they fired him. He told, he experienced severe stress those days. Then, slowly he recovered and started a small business. Fortunately, now it is showing some growth. He took a deep breath after explaining all this stuff. Somehow, I comforted him, and slowly asked about his weight gain, he replied that “I really don’t know how”. But, I was able to understand what made him gain weight… Yes, the reason is STRESS…

You may think that stress is a disease and how its connected with obesity. Actually, stress is your body’s natural mechanism to manage any threat. For example when a dog is barking at u, suddenly your brain commands u to escape from there, so you start to run. This is due to a FLIGHT OR FRIGHT response. This is an acute (immediate) one and subsides immediately once you reach a safe place.                           

But when we are experiencing stressors like losing a loved one, work pressure, social pressure, marital pressure, etc, those could create chronic stress. This is when stress is becoming a disease and starts becoming a causative factor for many health issues including obesity.

Will stress cause weight gain? 

YES!!! STRESS COULD CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN!!! You may get surprised by my answer.

Do you want to know how?

Let me explain… When you are stressed your body starts to release more cortisol (stress hormone) to maintain a balanced environment.

WHEN YOU ARE STRESSED…

Adrenal glands release adrenaline and cortisol >> Glucose is released into your bloodstream>> escape from a risky situation.

WHEN THREAT SUBSIDED:

Adrenaline drops >> blood sugar drops>> cortisol kicks up >> replenish energy supply quickly. 

While stress episodes, the sugar supply to the body goes up and reaches its peak. On the downside your body wants to consume and store sugar, that too after stressful events. So your brain stimulates you to eat something.

When you start searching for foods, there are more possibilities to reach calorie-rich junk foods, because those are readily available. Excess nervous stimulation, make you eat more than you normally do. This energy mainly gets stored in the form of abdominal fat, which is so hard to shed too.

Even though, if you are not eating food with high sugar and fat, cortisol will slow down your metabolism and make it hard to lose weight.  Stress-related unhealthy habits like emotional eating, sleeping less, skipping meals, and exercising less are also playing role in weight gain.

This is how my friend also would have gained weight. I hope, by this time you also might start to think about your mental health if you are overweight or obese. Best wishes for your weight loss journey.