For a lot of us, one-liner definition of stress is “when you wake up screaming and realize you haven’t fallen asleep yet.”You never thought stress could be one of the reasons for weight gain, in that case read the full article and then decide
Food for your Mind: To simplify this complicated affair of Stress & fat, I am dividing stress in 2 types:
• Acute short term stress examples are examination time, first few days of severe injury and illness, giving public speech for the first time, death of loved one, divorce hearing, first day of breakup! And then is
• Chronic stress examples are every day stress of city life, time pressure, job pressure, family pressure, relationship pressure, business pressure etc. basically chronic pressures are never ending
In acute stress, it’s very common for people to lose weight. This type of Stress can easily reduce your appetite for a short term. You might have noticed, for people under severe stress to lose up to 5 kilos in a week or 2 is no big deal like in illness!. Acute Stress can increase metabolic rate “as you might have observed in you exams if you remember those dreadful days”. Remember the day When you were going to examination hall , Your heart was pounding as if it would burst out of your cavity, you were so impatient and incredibly nervous. Acute stress also makes the food that you eat; move faster in your intestine thus less food is absorbed. So under these circumstances of acute stress NO, stress doesn’t make you fat.
However, long term stress can make you fat!!
Long stress of everyday life or after few days of acute stress if prolonged, releases a hormone called cortisol released in your circulation by adrenal glands. Cortisol increases fat storage in your stomach region because in deeper parts of your abdominal area, there are maximum number of cortisol receiving gates what we call “cortisol receptors” in medical language. So you can say that cortisol is concentrated around your tummy more than any other region of body. One of the key functions of Cortisol is to increases blood sugar in your body which is converted into fats for later use, the reason for extra layer of tummy fat in stressful situations. The other reason for a lot of people to gain weight in stress is that they eat comfort food to reduce it. A lot of times when something is not going the way we want to, opening a packet of chips or chocolate or few shots at local pub to distress makes a lot of sense ….so Yes Stress can make you fat is also true Basically “ it DEPENDS “ is just a bit more appropriate answer.
Being able to take control (being a Control Freak) leads to more chronic stress. Here’s a simple questioner you can answer to check if you are a control freak.
Just answer the following questionnaire to find out whether you have a nature of “being in control”:
1. I sometimes manipulate people in doing things my way, for example, by making them feel flattered or guilty. Yes/no
2. I feel uncomfortable with any uncertainty. Yes/no
3. I can feel irritated if small things are not done my way. Yes/no
4. I get stressed when I feel I don’t have much influence over the situation. Yes/no
5. I often find myself using the words such as ‘should’ and ‘ought’. Yes/no
6. I see high standers for myself and others. Yes/no
7. I find it almost impossible to delegate- at work or at home. Yes/no
8. I feel insulted when someone disagrees with me. Yes/no
9. I make a list of everything. Yes/no
10. I dislike surprises- even supposedly nice ones, such as parties. Yes/no
If you picked yes for 3 or more than 3 questions, you have an element of controlling nature. If you ticked yes for 5 or more, the need for control is probably having an impact on your life and making you overweight.
Why do we need to be in charge?
It’s a human nature to be in control. Most of us feel more comfortable when we have some influence over what’s happening in our lives. In fact the research shows that the feeling that we lack control is one of the biggest inducers of stress and then we opt for mindless eating eventually leading to weight gain.
There is an element of illusion: Clinging to a need to be in charge of life can become a source of stress in itself. Why? Because we often don’t have much control over what’s going on. After all we live in relationship with others, which means most of what happens to us is at least partly dependent on other people, whether they are our parents, children, colleague or friends. And there are life changing experiences like illness, accidents, stroke of good and bad luck that happen randomly.
We are never truly in control- we just think we are when things happen to go our way. If we think otherwise, we are setting ourselves up for major stress, struggle and disappointments.
Remedy is letting go: the best way to get piece of mind is not to expect things will go the way you want them to. First, recognize you have a need to be in charge- this could apply to different degrees in different areas of life. Notice when controlling thoughts pass your mind. Clue is that if you catch yourself thinking something should happen, or someone ought to do something, you have strong expectations. ‘I Hope’ or ‘If Only’ at the start of each sentence are other indicators. If you need to be in charge, that’s an indication that you are uncomfortable with uncertainty. Learn to sit with it. Understand that difficult feeling come and go. In time, practicing these methods will help you get some control and gain greater piece in yourself.