Why is it Difficult to Lost Weight in Times of High Stress?
Sure, many of us seek refuge in a pint of ice cream when we’re stressed out, but why? What makes fatty, sugary foods so appealing when we need comfort? Even more puzzling, why does stress make it hard to lose weight, even when we’re resisting these temptations?
How the Body Handles This Stress
Normally, you burn fat to make energy at a slow, happy pace. But when you’re stressed out, fight or flight hormones tell your body to burn sugar, giving you a quick burst of energy that will help you deal with a crisis.
But what happens when you, like most of us these days, are stressed out all the time? Your body never goes back to burning fat. Sugar powers you for short bursts, a few hours, so you have to keep eating to feel like to can get through the day.
You keep burning sugar, and you crave more sugar to keep the fire going. And all the fat in those sugary foods is stored away in your body for safekeeping.
Even when you avoid the classic sugary foods like donuts, cookies, and ice cream, your body is prioritizing the sugar in carb-heavy foods like bread and pasta, so you keep building up fat.
With all this sugar coming in, you might notice actually feeling tired instead of peppy. That’s because when your body is overloaded on sugar it starts a process to turn it into something else. It’s a slow, energy-intensive transformation that may make you want to take a nap. What is the sugar turning into? More fat! How frustrating! Everywhere your turn, it’s fat and sugar.
So What to Do?
Diet and exercise are a necessary part of any healthy lifestyle, but they’re not going to fix your weight problems when there are so many underlying factors. For real change, you need to address the stress.
Stress can come from many different places; it’s not just emotions, but physical stress, other health issues, our environment, overwork. These stresses are what are keeping your hormones in a sugar-prioritizing rut, and it’s through dealing with them that you can break the fat-building cycle.
Here’s To A Better Life,
Dr. Steve Puckette