Why it causes weight gain: If feeling stressed has become the norm for you it may be playing havoc with your weight. Stress related to work, personal relationships and finances are associated with weight gain, found research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
In response to a stressful situation your body releases a cocktail of chemicals, such as adrenaline and cortisol, to help you fight or flee the danger causing your stress. However, everyday stressors such as overdue bills or a demanding workplace can cause stress to become chronic and weight gain is the result.
“Stress raises your cortisol levels, and as a result stimulates your appetite driving you to eat more,” Renn says.
Additionally, a lot of people eat in response to stress and use food as a coping mechanism, she says.
What you can do: Cutting all stress from your life is an unrealistic expectation; instead, learning to manage your response to stress may help keep unwanted kilos from creeping on. So avoid reaching for a block of chocolate next time you’re facing a deadline or juggling the finances and take a quick break.
Research from the University of Sussex in the UK found reading for just six minutes may reduce stress levels by 68 per cent, while listening to music reduced stress by 61 per cent, having a cup of tea or coffee lowered stress by 54 per cent and taking a walk by 42 per cent.