Stress has a short term effect of lost of appetite; the brain releases corticotropin hormones that reduce hunger. Adrenaline is also released, which activates the fight or flight response in the body to temporarily decreases your appetite. However, if you are experiencing constant stress, the suprarenal gland will start releasing cortisol which actually increases appetite as well. Cortisol levels will fall once the body returns to homeostasis, but if the body continues to be subjected to stress in the long term, cortisol levels will remain high and can negatively affect your health.
How Cortisol and Stress Increase Eating
When your body is under pressure and stress with cortisol
in an elevated state, your body tends to crave foods that are higher in sugar and fat. This is considered emotional eating. Emotional eating can be so strong that many eaters feel powerless over their food cravings; they can’t control their desires for unhealthy food or eating it.
Additional factors include the sleep deprivation, increased alcohol intake and a decrease in exercise for those experiencing physical or emotional distress in the long term. All of these factors exacerbate stress and may play a large role in weight gain.
Decrease or Address Stress, Get Plenty of Sleep and Eat Well
There are many ways to reduce stress to prevent weight gain. First off, you should avoid buying foods high in fat and sugar. If they are not easily within reach, you are less likely to eat them. Meditation is also a great technique to reduce stress and also become more mindful of your eating habits. You may want to try tai chi or yoga because they are a combination of meditation and exercise which helps to significantly reduce stress.
Take Control of Your Health!