Have you ever wondered why your weight loss efforts do not seem to bear fruits at all, even after trying a number of proven weight loss methods? The simple and most unlikely answer to this question is that stress could be solely responsible for this state of affairs.
According to a new study whose results were published in the journal Obesity, depression and high levels of stress make hard for you to achieve your weight loss goals. Other studies in the past have also helped to show that there is a connection between weight gain and stress. For instance, an APA survey conducted in 2013 showed that 37% of the population admitted that they often overindulge in unhealthy foods as a result of stress.
Apart from overeating, stress can sabotage your weight loss efforts in other ways. Here below are 5 disturbing ways stress sabotages your weight loss goals:
1. Lack of sleep
High levels of stress can lead to loss of sleep, which is in return linked to weight gain. This is because insomnia is known to interfere with the hormones that are responsible for turning your appetite on and off, and which are also responsible for telling your brain whether to burn your body fat for energy or store it instead. Essentially, what happens is that your brain receives mixed signals, and ends up telling the rest of the body not to burn the stored fat, but keep it in storage instead. The end result of this state of affairs is that you end up being hungry and tired and not really knowing whether you are full or not. Essentially, you end up storing fat instead of burning it. In addition, you will most likely refrain from exercising and also eat unhealthy foods.
2. Interfering with digestion
When your body is under constant stress, your digestion is affected, leading to weight gain. This is because when your body is in such a state, it is fighting perceived threats and therefore shuts down all things that it does not consider vital for survival. Essentially, your rate of metabolism slows down significantly, making it impossible for food to be digested properly.
Failure to digest your food properly causes your body to retain excess water and fat, resulting in sluggishness and puffiness. In addition, it leads to poor absorption of nutrients, which is known to cause excess fat and lead to hunger. All these things only help sabotage your weight loss goals.
3. Increased production of cortisol
When you are under constant stress, your brain produces high amount of cortisol, which is then released in your bloodstream. High levels of cortisol in the bloodstream makes you become less sensitive to leptin, a hormone whose main role is send signals to your brain, informing it that you are full. If this fails to happen, you are likely to overeat because your body thinks it is necessary to eat more in order for you to survive. Essentially, this will sabotage your weight loss goals.
Women who are undergoing menopause experience a lot of stress, which can in return sabotage their weight loss goals. Women’s bodies react to stress by increasing the production of cortisol. This is because as women enter the perimenopause phase, their estrogen levels begin to drop considerably, leaving them unable to regulate cortisol effectively. This is what leads to increased stress during menopause.
The reason why menopausal women fail to meet their weight loss goals is that cortisol, together with the chain of events that take place during menopause, send warning signals to the brain, causing it to sabotage their weight loss efforts.
5. Interfering with the thyroid function
When you are continuously stressed, your brain thinks that you are under threat. Your brain then sends signals to the adrenaline glands, thus making them release adrenaline in order to prepare your body for action. The effect of this is to increase your heart beat as well as blood flow. Increased production of adrenaline and cortisol as a result of stress interfere with thyroid functions, leading to depression, weight gain, and fatigue. Increased production of these hormones is also associated with other health problems, including disrupting the digestive system, leading to indigestion, bloating, as well as irritable bowel issues.
These problems interfere with how your body digests food, and end up sabotaging your weight loss efforts. In women, problems with thyroid functions can interfere with the balance of estrogen and progesterone in their bodies, compounding the problem of weight gain further.