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We experience it -- stress!  It's a part of daily life; however, if it gets out of control then it can play havoc on your body in many ways such as weight gain, fatigue, exhaustion, mental fog, illness and physical impediments.

Stress management can be a powerful tool for health & wellness. Studies show that too much pressure is not just bad for your health but also for your waistline. People who are under constant stress are more susceptible to ill health from colds to high blood pressure and heart disease.

Have you noticed that when you’re extra stressed your pants are a bit more snug than usual? If so, you’re not alone.

 Stress causes unwanted weight gain. It causes a stress hormone called cortisol which then causes our middles to enlarge. When we’re under stress, the fight or flight response is triggered in our bodies, leading to the release of various hormones that cause fat stores and depression, both of which have an emotional rippling effect on the body.


Stress can cause a long list of health issues. It affects your metabolism to slow down even if you’re exercising and eating a low calorie diet. Too much cortisol slows down the metabolism causing you to gain weight faster and more than you normally would. Stress is a major reason for emotional eating or binging which will guarantee a wider waistline.

Stress raises cortisol which is known as the stress hormone. Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands which are located on top of on either side of your kidneys.  Cortisol has its place it is necessary for normal blood pressure and regulates the metabolism.  However, high levels of cortisol are also released during periods of intense stress which induces the "fight or flight" response in the body.

If stress is intense for days, weeks or even months on end it can play havoc on your waistline resulting in visceral fat and it effects and weakens the immune system.   Cortisol is also linked to an increased appetite and food cravings, particularly for sugary or fatty foods, it’s why the so called comfort food cravings becomes out of hand, it’s because your body is trying to adapt to the high levels of stress and anxieties.

Stress also causes you to not sleep well. People who get less than 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep will have more sugar cravings and will make it difficult to stay on a healthy diet. When you’re stressed you’ll also crave sugary comfort foods which are higher in calories and fat.

Stress can also alter your blood sugar levels which can make you tired, depressed or lethargic and fatigued. If stress is unmanaged it leads to chronic stress which can lead to metabolic syndrome, a more serious health consequence.

Extra stress causes abdominal fat which is known as omentum which is bad fat. Not only is abdominal fat unattractive but it causes  higher health risks in internal organs as well, fat wraps around organs and can cause a fatty liver, diabetes and heart disease to name a few.

Studies show that people under major stress also reach for fast foods; obesity is a major epidemic which is contributed to stress. People that are constantly stressed are usually too busy to stay home and make a healthy meal.

Stress also interferes with finding time to exercise which makes for a sedentary lifestyle. Without daily exercise our bodies can’t handle stress as well, thus in turn it makes you fat!


Stress management is a must for good health and to maintain a healthy body weight. If you are over stressed all the time take time do yourself a favor and slowdown, take time to pause and smell the roses of life.  

  • Take time to rest if even for 15 minutes each day, taking time for rest & relaxation daily will release stress hormones and will allow you to regroup and to clear you mind. Meditation is an excellent way to focus on letting go of stress even if you only do it for 5 to 10 minutes each day.
  •  Another way to release stress is to exercise and to stay active throughout the day.  Aim for at least 30 minutes of cardio or strength training daily
  • Doing these simple changes along with eating healthy meals and focusing on the positive you will be able to keep stress & fat at bay and you’ll lose weight easier too!
  •  Get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.  Quality sleep is essential to good health. When you are well rested you will find that life is much more pleasant than when you are sleep deprived which aids in lowering stress.
  • Reduce stress by taking time for you. Read a good book, take a walk with your pet or call a close friend who makes you laugh & smile. Living in a state of happiness will make for a healthier way of life!

By following the above stress releasing tips you will be able to be able to keep stress at bay which will allow you to live happier and healthier way of life.  

Carol Whitaker
Life Success Coach

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