Without a doubt, stress can become one of the great enemies of your diet. Without you realizing it, he may be boycotting your plan to lose those extra pounds that are left over.
“The relationship between weight loss or gain and stress is direct and proven,” begins Dr. Leo Cerrud, Nutrition expert. “However, it is not the stress itself that makes you gain or lose weight, it is the food, as always the only responsible for a person fattening by anxiety or losing weight due to stress,” he adds. But why does this happen to us in principle so antagonistic?
Hormones have part of the ‘fault’
Much of the blame for the problem lies with the hormones. “Our current life is plagued by circumstances that fill us with stress, which causes certain hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol to rise. Also other hormones such as insulin or leptin are affected “, explains Laura Parada, nutritionist at Slow Life House, who details that during stressful situations our body believes that” it is under attack / danger and releases glucose in your blood to provide energy muscles to cope with this danger. But since there really is no danger, you don’t need that energy, and the pancreas will release insulin to lower elevated blood sugar levels. ” As insulin is released, blood sugar levels decrease which creates a great feeling of hunger and low energy.
For this reason it is that one feels more hungry when one is stressed and wants to consume more carbohydrates and food high in sugars. This also happens when there is a bad rest at night, this also affects our hormones and generates weight gain.
The role of cortisol
When we feel stressed, we put ourselves in an emergency situation and we need to solve the problems that we have. “For this we have a hormone that is very useful in solving stressful situations, cortisol, but that can have some adverse effect”, says Dr. Paula Rosso, from the Lajo Plaza Medical Center. “This stress hormone is trying to get us to get sugar for our muscles, for the brain and what it does is be more catabolic. It destroys certain nutrients that we have in the body in order to provoke the production of glucose “, Dr. Rosso details.” Cortisol, on the other hand, also affects other hormones such as insulin (increasing it), and this also causes more appetite and greater storage of fats. fat in factit is as if it were a survival method in which you accumulate this fat to have energy for these stressful situations, “concludes the doctor.
Use the ice cream jar
It is clear, therefore, that stress increases cortisol levels, “stress hormone“, and this increases appetite, “cravings” and the need to eat, as Dr. Cerrud tells us. “We all know the great anxiolytic power of sugar, the famous ice cream bottle for heartbreak (stressful situation par excellence), but unfortunately the effect lasts just until the last spoonful and only the desire for more persists. Furthermore, it is known that cortisol decreases the self-control over what we ingest, that is, that the die is cast: nerves, cortisol, hunger, cravings, zero self-control, outrageous food, weight gain, “explains the doctor.
Two types of behavior due to stress
Dr. Mar Lázaro, in addition, tells us that stress, which increases from 35-40 years due to greater work and personal responsibility, produces two types of behavior:
- As you are overwhelmed with malcomes, you peck during the day, generally caloric products. And at night, when you get home, it is when stress levels decrease and you eat excessively and uncontrollably.
- You eat a lot throughout the day because you think you are relaxing, but it is not true. And in this case too when you get home and often lower your stress level at work, you tend to eat uncontrollably, often with a beer (at a minimum).
What do we usually eat when we are stressed?
“We tend to eat foods rich in carbohydrates and fats when we are under stress, that’s why we gain weight,” says Dr. Mar Lazaro, who clarifies that the ideal is to set guidelines and meal times, and snack on healthy products rich in tryptophan, which favors good humor, such as a little chocolate, bananas, etc. “Healthy foods also stabilize blood sugar. For example, we can chop crudités (carrot sticks, which are already sold that way in supermarkets), a fruit or a handful of nuts. And at mealtime, opt for foods with a low glycemic index, such as whole grains, legumes and vegetables, which help to maintain stable energy levels and reduce anxiety and cravings; On the other hand, processed foods with trans fats and an excess of sugar or salt (watch out for the chips and rest of snacks ) suppose the momentary relief but unbalance the nervous system, ”says Dr. Lázaro.
Are there people who lose weight with stress?
There are cases in which precisely the opposite occurs. “It turns out that cortisol also makes brown fat (the good fat) activate and heat up by consuming calories and improving insulin sensitivity, which also prevents hunger attacks. An ideal formula to lose weight: burn calories from within and little appetite, ”says Dr. Cerrud. “The bad news is that it is known that thinner people tend to have a higher percentage of brown fat, so it could generally be said that thin people lose weight due to stress and overweight people gain it when they are anxious. Another injustice of metabolism ”, he concludes.