Why Stress Can Make You Fat
These days with our high-paced lifestyle, longer working hours and increased pressure to do well and fit in with society, our stress levels are on the increase. With increased stress comes the longing for high-calorie 'comfort' foods and these foods are normally carbs.
When life comes at us hard and fast we release cortisol which stimulates our hunger for carbs. Eating these leads to the release of insulin which is a cortisol antagonist and this means as insulin goes up, cortisol goes down. This is a genius way our bodies regulate the amount of cortisol in our bodies which keeps our stress levels from getting out of control.
Stress increases your appetite and food intake but it diminishes your brain's sensitivity to intake which means it doesn't register that you're eating and so doesn't lower your hunger. Because of this, many people will continue to eat, unaware that they have reached and surpassed the calories they need.
Stress also impedes your ability to make rational food choices. The side of the brain that craves pleasurable foods kicks in and unfortunately, the goal-orientated part of your brain shuts down. This is why you may have all the best intentions of having a healthy dinner when you wake up but after a horrible, stressful day in work you end up eating pizza, crackers and cheese, wine and similar carby foods.
Skipping meals can cause a cortisol spike and this is one of the reasons we recommend you have breakfast within an hour of waking up.
Plan what you're going to eat in advance and have it close at hand so you will eat it, even when the rational part of your brain is shutting down through stress. These meals should all contain a good quality source of protein.
So finally: Use proper nutrition as a tool to lower stress and help get the lean body you crave!