Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Stress and Weight Gain

Ask Glen!

Q. Glen, Can Stress Making me Fat?

If you've ever polished off a pint of ice cream when you were under pressure or consumed a whole bag of chips when you were worried, it will come as no surprise that stress can lead to weight gain. And according to new research, stress puts people at increased risk for obesity because it not only prompts them to eat more, but also because it releases certain hormones that encourage the body to store fat.

Psychology and Biology
According to Pamela Peeke, M.D., assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, stress activates our body's fight-or-flight response. Chief among the hormones released during this response is the stress hormone cortisol.

As Peeke explains, cortisol increases appetite and intensifies cravings for sweets and simple carbohydrates--foods that make insulin levels spike and then plummet, making people feel hungrier. At the same time, cortisol stimulates deep abdominal cells to accept and store fat, which may explain why those who lead stressful, harried lives are at greater risk for gaining extra belly fat.

In addition, a 2007 Australian study suggests that stress may stimulate obesity by "unlocking" the body's fat cells. Researchers at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney discovered that when people are feeling frazzled, their bodies release the "stress molecule" neuropeptide Y (NPY), which unlocks certain receptors in fat cells, causing them to grow in both size and number.

5 Ways to Beat Stress and Shed Pounds
Fortunately, there are ways to minimize your risk of stress-related weight gain. Follow these five steps to get started.

1. Get moving. Daily physical exercise helps the body to relieve tension, and it also releases "feel-good" chemicals called endorphins. Trying jogging, swimming, yoga, or taking a brisk walk--any of these activities will help to enhance your health and go a long way toward reducing stress levels.

2. Improve your coping skills. Stress-reduction therapy, meditation, journaling, and various alternative therapies can greatly improve your outlook and help you cope when things get tough. Be sure to talk to your doctor about finding the best coping strategies for you.

3. Breathe deep. When people are stressed, they tend to take shallow breaths, which can actually increase tension. By contrast, taking several slow, deep breaths can restore a sense of calm. Start by exhaling deeply while contracting your stomach, then inhale slowly as you expand your abdomen.

4. Slow down. When things get hectic, we tend to speed up in order to feel like we're getting things done. But if you feel stressed out, experts recommend slowing down. Take a moment to calm yourself before starting new tasks, and slow down your speech patterns, too. Talking at a rapid pace can cause you to feel flustered and out of control.

5. Adjust your behavior. Reduce the risk of stress-related eating by preparing healthy meals and snacks ahead of time and waiting 15 minutes before giving in to cravings. Also remember that hunger and dehydration can intensify feelings of anxiety. So, no matter how busy you are, be sure to eat regularly and drink plenty of fluids.

Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

My mission is to provide you with "Trusted Advice for a Healthier Life."

Yours in good health

Any questions?

Ask Glen!

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Lawrenceville, Georgia, United States
Is the Founder of Fitness Builders 4 Life,the WorkOut GEM,G350,G180, G90, Eat 4 Life, Clean, Lean & Mean & Ask Glen. The mission of the Fitness Builders is to provide the community with health education and to empower people to change unhealthy lifestyles thereby increasing life expectancy. By educating the community on healthier lifestyle practices it is the intent of Fitness Builders to reduce the ravages of obesity, heart disease, cancer and other lifestyle or self inflicted diseases. Glen is also a AMA Certified Nutrition Specialist and a ACE, ACSM, NASM Certified Personal Trainer has 30+ years in Sports, Exercise Science and Nutritional Food Management, Learning and Mentoring Men and Women on a more Mental & Physical Healthy Life Style consisting of a low fat, low salt, Low carbohydrate, high protein, organic nutrition which also includes moderate exercise and mental awareness. Stay Informed, Live long and be Mentally and Physically Healthy! Any questions? Ask Glen!

Any Questions? Ask Glen!