Stress Linked to Obesity

My Bariatric Life Health Guide
  • Have you ever misplaced your car keys, gotten into an argument with someone, been caught in heavy traffic, not gotten enough sleep, waited in a line, been lonely, had your car break down, lived next to difficult neighbors, prepared a large meal, been dissatisfied with your job, had to endure office politics, or had problems with children?

    How about debt? Have you ever been in debt? Or exercise? Do you get enough exercise? Have you ever misused drugs or alcohol? Have you ever been exposed to excessive heat, had excess caffeine, been ill, had surgery, smoked, not gotten enough relaxation, suffered from chronic pain, worried about your health, been very angry, been unemployed, been bored, had to give a presentation, been harassed, taken care of a sick relative, or had a loved one die?

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    If the answer to many of these questions is yes, then you have felt stress.

    Stress as it Relates to Obesity

    Stressors are obviously abundant, and it is well-known that they contribute to a decline in health. It has been discovered that obesity is among these health risks.

    When a person is feeling the effects of stress, body fat cells may become unlocked and stimulate obesity.


    Researchers have found that when a person is stressed the body releases a molecule called nueropeptide Y which frees receptors in fat cells that causes the cells to grow in both size and number.

    Individuals who are feeling stressed often eat high fat, high sugar comfort foods to seek relief. Experiments in which stressed and unstressed mice were fed either comfort foods or a standard diet produced the expected result that those mice given a diet of comfort foods gained fat while those on a standard diet did not. What was also discovered was that stressed mice on the high sugar, high fat diet gained more body fat that unstressed mice on the exact diet.

    Given this result, researchers looked for differences in how stressed mice use and store fat. They found that when certain receptors were blocked, the stressed mice decreased abdominal fat deposits by 40%. Researchers believe that new drugs might be developed to remedy stress-related obesity.

    It has also been found that eating foods that are high in fat or sugar raises the body’s serotonin level, a chemical that effects mood and helps to relieve
    stress.


    It has also been found that chronic stress causes the body to release cortical, a hormone that manages fat store and energy use. Corticol also increases appetite and may produce craving for foods that contain sugar or fat.

    In order to help break the cycle of want for unhealthy foods be sure to not allow yourself to become too hungry by skipping meals, maintain focus on portion sizes, eat only snacks that are healthy, and give thought to what you are eating.

    Most important, deal with the stress itself. Yoga and meditation are good outlets as is exercise. Seek counseling if necessary and keep close to friends. Doing nothing will result in the same.

    References:
    Everyday Health - http://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/food-and-mood/stress-and-dieting/stress-and-other-causes-of-obesity.aspx - accessed 7/22/12

  • Tripod - http://stresscourse.tripod.com/id14.html - accessed 7/22/12

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    WebMD - http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20070702/stress-unlocks-fat-cells-ups-obesity - accessed 7/22/12

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    My Story...

    You can read about my decision to have weight loss surgery back in 2003 and my journey to maintain a lifetime of obesity disease management since that time. My wish is to help you on your own journey of lifetime obesity disease management with shareposts along the way to help you navigate that journey successfully.

Published On: July 22, 2012