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ARTICLES: The Connection Between Stress, Weight Gain and your Health

A wealth of new research in the area of health and fitness has shown that there is a connection between stress and weight gain.

In brief, the research has demonstrated that any kind of stress is likely to increase levels in the body of a hormone called cortisol. It has been discovered that when high levels of cortisol go unchecked that the body will increase its storage of fat. One of the main goals of a specific health program is to help you reduce the level of stress in your life so that you can better manage your weight.

Since the research on the connection between cortisol, stress, and weight gain suggest that you may in certain circumstances actually increase your weight if your physical activity program causes you increased stress, we want to highly emphasize the importance of reducing the stress in every area of your life including your physical activity program if weight reduction is your overall goal.

Some of the most important findings on the connection between stress and weight gain include the following:

  • Metabolism drops and gastric acid increases, maximizing the calories you get from your food.
  • The body retains vital chemicals, such as sodium causing a bloated feeling.
  • High-energy fats and blood clotting agents are release into your blood stream.
  • Energy is diverted from your immune system.
  • Cholesterol could increase.
  • Stressed individuals may experience feelings of depression, anxiety, frustration, and fatigue, leading to lowered self esteem and self confidence.
  • Stress can change the shape of your body. Since the stress reaction mobilizing the body's fat reserves for energy. It stores that fat near the liver, which processes it so it can be metabolized in the muscles.
  • Fat cells in the abdomen are especially sensitive to cortisol and people with a high concentration of those hormones tend to accumulate fat around their middles, a potbelly, even if the rest of the body is thin. Researchers know that waist to hip ratio, the relative circumference of those two body parts, can be a useful way to identify people at risk for stress-related disease.
  • Stress also can increase your appetite, which will cause a gain in your weight.

Personal checklist:

Reducing Stress in My Physical Activity/ Weight Management Program:

To counteract the affects of stress on weight gain, it is important to manage stress when you are making healthy changes to your lifestyle. As you plan your activities for the week, be sure you take into account your attitude about those activities. It will give you the advantage of being successful in the following ways:

  1. You will have an active role in determining what's right for you, not what's wrong with you that helps you to utilize your natural strength.
  2. Find ing a workout/healthy eating plan you enjoy and that feels good.
  3. Enable you to choose a wellness professional/ trainer who will help you activate your natural motivators.
  4. Understand that a workout is a wise use of time when it unlocks your own personal power, physically and emotionally.
  5. When you finish a quality workout with an effective instructor, you don't just feel better, you feel better about yourself.
  6. Creating a picture of how you want to look and feel.
  7. Know that the way to succeed is to want to succeed!

If you see results, and feel good after physical activity/healthy eating, it is more likely that you will enjoy the journey, instead of just looking at the end goal. Set realistic goals and make sure your physical activity is FUN and REWARDING.


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