Is stress making some women overweight? According to a recent study it could be. As if the fact that some foods make you put on weight isn't bad enough, now a new study suggests that stress can potentially exacerbate the effect of high-fat foods on women's bodies by slowing down metabolism and, as a result, speeding up weight-gain. Exercise can be an effective way to dissipate the stresses and strains of everyday life.
Did you know that when you are stressed you are more likely to reach for high-calorie foods? Many women can relate to comfort eating and the idea of using food as some type of security blanket, with the resulting weight gain a cushion against certain strains they are experiencing or have endured in life.
However, an Ohio State University study suggests that on top of this propensity to eat less healthily during anxious times, stress impacts not just what you eat but how your body reacts to what you eat. As well as this, the physical metabolic reaction might transpire the day after stressful events.
58 female participants, with an average age of 53, ate a high-fat meal of 930 calories and 60 grams of fat. Stressful events from the day before were noted and the women's metabolic rates were measured after eating with researchers measuring blood sugar, triglycerides, insulin and cortisol.
Those women who had experienced at least one stressful event within the last day burned on average 104 calories less than the stress-free women, when rates were measured seven hours after consuming the high-fat meal. If this is repeated over time, then this slowing down could result in weight gain as the fat is stored rather than being burned up.
How exercise might help
Exercise tones the muscles and adds some mass so that the body needs more power to move; and as a result burns more calories. As well as this, exercise can be a great stress-reliever. Feel-good neurotransmitters work on the body and the mind, while working out can lower your blood pressure and give you the space you need to totally unwind.
Exercise also takes you into a different zone, almost in a meditative, mindful way, so that you are not just distracted but able to distance yourself and gain some valuable perspective on anxieties and worries, or at least let them go.
Working out can also have a wonderful snowball effect on your health and wellbeing. If you exercise more you might start to think more about your diet and your lifestyle. After all, you won't want to undo all your hard work. Because of this you may strive not to eat too many high-fat meals and this may stop the trigger that makes you eat these calorie-rich foods when you have experienced stress.
On top of this, exercise could help change your appetite and food cravings. Being active can also be a great distraction, so you are less likely to reach for unhealthy foods if you are busy with exercise rather than surfing the television from your sofa.
Are you concerned about your metabolism? What about the foods you eat? Do you have a sound diet and exercise plan in place? If not, or you need to speed up results, then get in touch.