If you’re struggling to lose weight in spite of a healthy diet and exercise, one of the key areas to look at is stress levels. In today’s fast paced environment many of us are dealing with high stress levels. While many people can tell when they are under high stress, others do not recognize the impact stress is having on their health.
3 Ways High Stress Impacts Your Ability to Lose Weight
- Imbalanced cortisol levels-if your dealing with high stress levels you’ll very likely have imbalanced cortisol levels. Stress causes high cortisol levels in the beginning and if not dealt with eventually one will not produce enough cortisol. High cortisol levels are clinically shown to cause belly fat. Many people are able to recognize they need to lose in the midsection and often this is where people tend to gain it the most. High cortisol also means you are in a catabolic state which means breaking down muscle tissue. Catabolic is the opposite of anabolic as in building muscle tissue. One of the keys to losing weight is to build muscle which will in turn increase the body’s metabolism and burn fat at a better rate. It is detrimental to be in a catabolic state breaking down tissue. This is one reason why many struggle to lose weight.
- Cravings-higher stress levels mean more cravings. Increases in cortisol often cause more cravings and imbalanced blood sugar levels. When someone is dealing with lots of stress they often will succumb to eating something they know they shouldn’t. Most often this something is sugar. High cortisol also causes low serotonin levels in the body. This feel good neurotransmitter helps our mood as well as our sleep patterns. When serotonin levels are low many will have more cravings and in particular chocolate cravings. Those with cravings need to support blood sugar levels throughout the day. Eating protein with quality fat and fiber is a great way to support steady glucose levels. High stress does a number on cortisol which also impacts blood sugar and sets the stage for more cravings.
- Low Thyroid-those with high stress often also have low thyroid output. The adrenal and thyroid glands are both impacted by stress. Clinically high stress causes a poor conversion of T4 to T3. T3 is what the cell utilizes and if proper conversion is not taking place, that person will be hypothyroid and likely prescribed thyroid hormones. Thyroglobulin joins up with 4 molecules of iodine to produce T4 or thyroxine. T3 is triiodothyronine containing 3 molecules of iodine and is the predominate thyroid hormone the body uses. One of the problems with standard testing is most only get tested for TSH levels and never see T4 or T3 levels. The bottom line is that high stress causes impacts the conversion of T4 to T3 and causes thyroid problems which make it much harder to lose weight.
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