Friday, December 13, 2013

Holiday Stress - Another Reason for Weight Gain

As if the overflowing food and drinks from parties and dinners this month and early the next aren’t enough reasons to pile on the pounds, the stress we experience during this time is another reason for weight gain.
Preparing meals, buying and wrapping gifts, looking for the perfect outfit to complement each event we attend can leave us in a constant state of motion as we go all over town. Others who do not have family or partners face a different type of stress as they deal with loneliness and depression in the season where everyone is under pressure to be in a festive mood.

All of these add on to the pressures we already experience from our daily life of dealing with projects, bosses, clients, heavy traffic, bills, spouses and children.

What goes on inside – how the body reacts to stress
Our body has a built-in mechanism for handling stress. This set of physiological and biological reactions give you a burst of energy needed during make-or-break, dangerous situations. Whenever you experience an acute stressor, adrenal glands release the stress hormone cortisol into the bloodstream. This results to a surge in blood sugar which the body can use to fuel urgent actions like fighting and running or its modern-day equivalents of slamming on the car breaks, sprinting to catch the last bus or going after the colleague that spreads false rumours about you in the office.

Once the problem has been dealt with, the cortisol exits your system and the body resumes its normal metabolic state. Unfortunately, with our modern pressure-filled lifestyle we simply swap one form of stressor for another as we go through the day.

During the holidays, stress is compounded as we have to deal with additional expenses and additional responsibilities on top of pressures from work and the people we interact with on a daily basis. 
Holiday shopping, writing and mailing Christmas cards, getting the house decorated, preparing for the Christmas and New Year’s Eve meals and the various get-togethers we attend leading up to these two big occasions can leave us feeling overwhelmed. It leads to chronic stress as we feel there is always something that still needs to be done and we don’t have enough time or resources.
Biologically, this causes significant metabolic imbalances and constantly elevated cortisol levels. This means blood sugar is always being readied to provide energy. It doesn’t have a good effect if this happens often.

Most of these mini-stressors we encounter do not require us to exert a lot of physical effort, unlike with our ancestors whose ‘emergency’ situations consisted of fleeing from storms and wild animals or walking long distances to look for food.

All of the excess sugar, generated by too much cortisol that does not get used as energy is stored as body fat. Elevated cortisol also results to a drop in serotonin, the hormone which regulates mood, sleep and appetite, among others. Low serotonin levels send a message to the brain to crave sugar and eat more to address the deficiency. Since most of the food available on the Christmas table is already fatty or sweet to begin with, eating more than what your body needs to deal with stress predisposes it to store more fat.
You can ease your stress, decrease your cravings and get control of your weight today with CortiSLIM!

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