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Due dates. Cash issues. Relationship weights. The due date driven computerized world we live in has made anxiety an essential piece of our lives. Aside from influencing mental and passionate wellbeing, anxiety can likewise influence one’s physical prosperity. The anxiety hormone, cortisol, has been connected to expanded measures of fat tissue and can prompt weight pick up.

The Asia Pacific edition of the ‘Staying@Work’ survey conducted by Towers Watson ranksstress as the No. 1 lifestyle risk factor – above physical inactivity and obesity, making it imperative that we tackle this risk factor.

Wondering how exactly does stress affect weight loss? Let’s hit the basics

What causes stress?

The APA Stress report refers to work and family obligations, the economy, cash administration, and family wellbeing issues as the main 5 reasons individuals are worried. Other than these, there are physical components, for example, poor/absence of rest, obscure nourishment sensitivities, poor air quality, glucose dysregulation, and polluted water.


How does the body respond to stress?

At the point when the body detects any stressor – an outer jolt, natural condition, or an occasion that causes stress, it discharges cortisol, a steroid hormone, delivered by the zona fasciculata of the adrenal cortex inside the adrenal organ.

What does cortisol do?

Cortisol is the hormone of vitality and readiness. It isn’t terrible for you – the length of the body discharges it at the correct time. It is a diurnal hormone so levels must top in the morning to feel invigorated; they should gradually drop during that time so you can nod off around evening time. In individuals with an ordinary cortisol cycle, this hormone burns fat in the morning.

How does cortisol affect weight loss?

Emotional and physical stress leads to continuous release of cortisol, which can hamper weight loss efforts.

The body reacts in three ways:

1. It makes cells less responsive

Cortisol affects the receptor sites of other hormones, making cells less responsive to signals. If the body doesn’t read the insulin signal, it may lead to insulin resistance and diabetes. If the brain can’t read signals from leptin, a hormone that is extremely important when it comes to losing weight, you can get leptin resistance. This can cause you to feel hungry all the time and lead to overeating.


2. It increases inflammation in the body

Cortisol increases inflammation throughout the body. This lifts the likelihood of storing visceral fat, the unhealthy fat that lies within the body and surrounds the organs. A “beer belly” exemplifies visceral fat. Higher the visceral fat, higher the release of inflammatory signals, resulting in a cycle of inflammation and storage of visceral fat.

3. It mis-manages hunger hormones

Cortisol negatively impacts weight loss as it dysregulates hunger hormones, mainly ghrelin and leptin. Leptin helps control the appetite, while ghrelin is released when one’s hungry. The combination of lesser leptin and increased ghrelin causes people to make unhealthy choices and over-eat. High blood sugar leads to insulin spike, typically followed by a sharp drop in blood sugar which results in release of cortisol to help stabilise blood sugar and thus, increases the level of hunger hormones.

There is a way out of the cortisol cycle! Here’s what you need to do to stay on track with your fitness goals:

Exercise Regularly

Setting aside a few minutes for a session of cardio is great, yet clearly high-force workouts or overtraining can raise cortisol levels! Attempt lively walk or sets of push-ups. Consistent and imperative practice additionally oversees stress.


Zero dieting

Research shows that constant dieting can spike cortisol levels rise by 18 per cent. This can also lead your blood sugar haywire, making you ravenous and prone to bingeing.

Lesser caffeine

A study at University of Oklahoma showed that consuming the equivalent of 2½ to 3 cups of coffee while under mild stress boosted cortisol by about 25 per cent and kept it up for 3 hours. This can alter the body’s cortisol levels and affect weight loss.


Ample sleep

Lack of sleep can affect weight loss. A University of Chicago study found that an average of 6½ hours of sleep each night can increase cortisol, appetite, and weight gain. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours.

Meditation & yoga

Mindful breathing exercises such as yoga and tai chi can calm your mind, reduce stress levels and curb impulsive eating. Meditation can also help reduce cortisol levels.


Reading, listening to music, and staying connected with family and friends can also help.

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