Ask: Is stress causing me to gain weight?

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Question : Is stress causing me to gain weight?

Stress is harmful to our health. Excess stress can cause headaches, digestive problems, sleep disturbance and depression. It can also do a number on our metabolism.

Stress can lead to weight gain because it produces high levels of the hormone cortisol, which drives up appetite that leads to cravings for junk food. It is directly related to increased belly fat, especially in women.

Let’s face it; most of us go to food when we’re stressed. And we certainly aren’t always going to the gym to release it. Instead of reaching for an apple or a banana, we’re more likely to go for the cookies or chips because they are packed full of sugar that will offer a temporary high, or relief from the stress. It’s important to be careful not to make this a habit.

The bottom line is that more stress equals more cortisol, which equals higher appetite for junk food, which leads to more belly fat.

Reducing stress is easier said that done. Some common tips for stress relief are to get outside and into the sun for a Vitamin D boost, sweat it out at the gym or on a run, get a massage, listen to music, have a hot bath, find a friend and have a laugh and unplug. Everyone is different and finding ways to reduce stress that work for you and your lifestyle are a vital part of living a healthy, balanced life.

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