Role of the Stress Hormone in Weight Control!

Eating when under stress isn't just about filling an emotional need. Your body has a system of hormonal checks and balances that actually promote weight gain when you're stressed out.

The so-called "stress hormone" cortisol is released in the body during times of stress along with the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine that constitute the "fight or flight" response to a perceived threat.

Following the stressful or threatening event, epinephrine and norepinephrine levels return to normal while cortisol levels can remain elevated over a longer time period. In fact, cortisol levels can remain persistently elevated in the body when a person is subjected to chronic stress.

How does cortisol influence weight gain?

Cortisol has many actions in the body, and one ultimate goal of cortisol secretion is the provision of energy for the body. Cortisol stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism for fast energy, and stimulates insulin release and maintenance of blood sugar levels. The end result of these actions is an increase in appetite. Thus chronic stress, or poorly-managed stress, may lead to cortisol levels that stimulate your appetite, with the end result being weight gain or difficulty losing unwanted pounds.

Cortisol not only promotes weight gain, but it can also affect where you put on the weight. Doctors have shown that stress and elevated cortisol tend to cause fat deposition in the abdominal area rather than in the hips. This fat deposition has been referred to as "toxic fat" since abdominal fat deposition is strongly correlated with the development of cadiovascular disease including heart attacks and strokes.

Whether or not your stress levels will result in high cortisol levels and weight gain is not readily predictable. The amount of cortisol secreted in response to stress can vary among individuals, with some persons being innately more "reactive" to stressful events. Studies of women who tended to react to stress with high levels of cortisol secretion showed that these women also tended to eat more when under stress than women who secreted less cortisol.

Another study confirmed that women who stored their excess fat in the abdominal area had higher cortisol levels and reported more lifestyle stress than women who stored fat primarily in the hips.

What does this mean for weight control?

Experts agree that stress management is a critical part of weight loss regimens, particularly in those who have elevated cortisol levels. Exercise is the best and fastest method for weight loss in this case, since exercise leads to the release of endorphins, which have natural stress-fighting properties and can lower cortisol levels.

Activities such as yoga and meditation can also help lower your stress hormone levels. To effectively reduce elevated cortisol due to stress, lifestyle changes are essential.

Author: Susan Rutter -- Publisher, Nutritionist, and Instructor who assists patients and the public make healthy choices and changes in their lives. Web Site: Healthy YOUbbies - http://www.geocities.com/healthyoubbies/

In The News:


Weight Loss Program - Weight Loss? Why Bother With a Diet Plan? Does Weight Loss Matter?

We all know that weight loss is important. We know... Read More

Maintaining Your Weight Loss Momentum Away On Vacation

Going away for your holidays will also bring with it... Read More

A Mediterranean Diet - How to Lose Weight Safely

If you are looking for a way to lose fifteen... Read More

Weight Loss and Dieting Secret #1 ? IN and OUT

Any dietary plan on the market has some portion of... Read More

Tenuate: Should A Diet Pill Be Part Of Your Weight Loss Checklist?

Maybe your doctor suggested it. Maybe your favorite outfit doesn't... Read More

Beating the Weight Loss Bandits

If you're on a weight loss program you're under constant... Read More

The Atkins Diet

IntroductionThe history of The Atkins Diet goes back to the... Read More

Reasons for Obesity

Causes of ObesityJust like there is no weight loss pill... Read More

What Obesity Debate?

This is a perfect example of how on-line weight loss... Read More

Lose A Pound

Lose a pound of fat? what does it take? Not... Read More

When a Parent has WLS: What to Tell Our Chubby Children

We know that children are becoming obese at an alarming... Read More

Exercise and Low Carb Diets Make Poor Partners

Over the last twenty five years the most common questioned... Read More

Weighing in on Weight Loss

Dieters have long searched for secret paths to easy weight... Read More

How Does Phentermine Work? Learn How To Stop Neurotransmitter Depletion

Why has Phentermine stopped helping me lose weight?Many people are... Read More

Weight Loss Problems ? Or is it a Self Image Problem?

Some of you will not like what I have to... Read More

What You Need to Know Before Starting a Low Carb Diet

In the last 12 months or so, low carbohydrate diets... Read More

Trying To Lose Weight? Dont!

Are you trying to lose weight?If you are, STOP!Funny thing... Read More

1-2-3, Weight Loss & Maintenance Has Become So Easy

Millions of people spend billions of dollars, hoping to achieve... Read More

Can Weight Loss Improve Your Health And Make You Feel Better?

Many people today are interested in weight loss and weight... Read More

The Jack LaLanne Diet - Are You Tough Enough?

There's no way you can separate the Jack LaLanne diet... Read More

Low Carb vs. High

Low carb diets can be classified as food plans that... Read More

The Truth About Fat

Fat has had a lot of bad press and for... Read More

The Natural Truth About Quick Weight Loss

Actually, I was reading about fad diet and suddenly I... Read More

Heading Off Winter Weight Gain Before it Gets Started

Must We Gain Weight Every WinterIt's that time of year... Read More

Understanding Bariatric Surgery

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity... Read More