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Stress and ObesityStress causes your body to release hormones. These hormones cause your brain to become more alert, your muscles to tense, and your pulse to increase. In other words, these reactions are beneficial because they can assist you in dealing with stressful situations. This is your body's way of protecting itself. When you have chronic stress, your body remains alert even when there is no danger. Over time, this puts you at risk for health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression or anxiety, skin problems such as acne or eczema, and menstrual problems.

Chronic stress can result in "comfort eating," which often concerns overeating foods high in fat, sugar, and calories, which can lead to weight gain. Stress causes the brain to produce a corticotrophin-releasing hormone, an appetite-suppressing hormone. Signals are also sent to the adrenal glands during times of stress, causing them to produce adrenaline, which temporarily suppresses any feeling of hunger as part of the fight-or-flight response. On the other hand, chronic stress causes the release of a hormone called cortisol. This hormone raises a person's appetite, and if the stress does not subside, cortisol and appetite levels remain elevated.

It is possible that you are not aware that these symptoms are caused by stress. For example, diarrhea or constipation, forgetfulness, frequent aches and pains, headaches, lack of energy or focus, sexual problems, stiff jaw or neck, tiredness, trouble sleeping or sleeping too much, upset stomach, use of alcohol or drugs to relax, and weight loss or gain are some symptoms of stress. These are some alternative suggestions to prevent stress resulting in obesity:

  • Exercise: When a person exercises vigorously, cortisol levels rise, but only temporarily. Gentle exercise, on the other hand, has been shown to reduce cortisol levels for longer periods.
  • Meditation: Numerous studies have shown that meditation can reduce stress. This practice may also encourage people to be more conscious of the foods they buy and consume.
  • Emotional support: Having emotional support from friends and family appears to be beneficial in dealing with stress. Individuals working in typically stressful environments are also significantly less likely to have mental health problems if they feel supported by those around them, according to research.

Find ways to reduce stress in your life and concentrate on making healthier food choices. Stress is unavoidable in life, but it does not have to lead to weight gain.

JEZER Z. CALINGACION, RND
PNFP ZSP

References:

Berger, F. (2020).    Stress and your health. Retrieved November 12, 2021, from the Medline Plus website: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003211.htm [Last updated: May 10, 2020]

Dissertations Expert. Causes of Obesity Essay. Retrieved November 12, 2021, from the Dissertations Expert website: https://dissertationsexperts.com/essay/causes-of-obesity-essay.html

Robertson, S., & Cuffari, B. (2021). Obesity and Stress. Retrieved November 12, 2021, from the News Medical Life Sciences website: https://www.news-medical.net/health/Obesity-and-stress.aspx [Last updated: May 23, 2021]

Scott, K., Melhorn S., & Sakai, R. (2012). Effects of Chronic Social Stress on Obesity. Retrieved November 12, 2021, from the NCBI website: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3428710/#R14 [Date published: March 2012]