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How Stress Affects Your Metabolism

February 21st, 2015

Stress eating isn’t the only way that chronic stress can affect your waistline.

Considering that the “fight or flight” stress response evolution gifted to our ancestors gives you a temporary burst of energy, you might assume that stress is good for your metabolism. In reality, this is far from the truth. In this blog we’ll help you understand how stress hormones affect the entire body, including your metabolism.

What Happens to Your Metabolism When You Feel Stressed?

When you find yourself in a stressful situation or even simply confronted with stressful thoughts, your brain will attempt to give you the energy needed to escape the perceived danger. It does this by releasing a whole cocktail of hormones from the adrenal gland, the most important of which is cortisol.

Cortisol releases sugar into the bloodstream in the form of glucose. This helps give your muscles energy to move quickly and your brain energy to think fast. At the same time, the cortisol also works to direct even more energy to your escape by slowing down less urgent functions like immune responses and digestion. Over time, this can slow your metabolism to the point where you may begin to notice problems like weight gain.

Stress and Weight Changes

It’s important to understand that different people respond to stress in different ways, and this can affect their metabolism and their weight. Some people engage in stress eating, which naturally depresses the metabolism even more and leads to weight gain. Other people actually eat less when they are stressed, particularly if they have some kind of stress-related disorder such as anxiety, depression, or PSTD. In some cases, stressed-out individuals may find that they are eating normally but still losing weight. This could indicate a serious thyroid problem and a doctor should be consulted immediately.

Why is Chronic Stress So Dangerous?

Chronic stress resulting in excessive cortisol production is a problem for several reasons. First of all, it may cause increased fat storage in the belly area, which can eventually develop into obesity. Obesity carries a whole host of serious health risks. Secondly, excess cortisol will begin to cause premature aging in virtually every system in your body. And finally, chronic stress can actually exhaust your adrenal gland to the point where it is no longer able to produce any cortisol at all. When this happens, you won’t get the small amounts of cortisol your body needs to function properly on a daily basis.

How Can Renew Woman™ Help?

Renew Woman™ offers a variety of treatment options that can be used to help you maintain healthy cortisol levels and a healthy metabolism. We offer everything from hormone replacement to dietary advice and virtual personal trainer services. Please contact us today to learn more.

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