Stress Is Blocking Your Fat Loss! Do You Really Want To Lose Unwanted Body Fat?
Do You Really Want To Lose Unwanted Body Fat? How stress is blocking your fat loss? Full-time job, family, friends, exercise, healthy eating, and not enough time.
Stress is normal for many.
According to a Forsa survey, every second American suffers from time pressure at work, everyday life, and the family, and even every third person suffers health concerns.
If “stress” is also an issue for you, welcome to the club.
Today is the right time to take countermeasures because:
Excessive stress can seriously threaten our dream body project.
The prolonged stress’s effect on our bodies can make the hunt for a six-pack an impossible battle.
A direct connection between chronic stress and obesity has long been scientifically proven.
The good news is that if you know what causes stress, how you recognize it, and how it affects your body, you can do something about it. This article will help you with that.
Today you will find out the answers to the following questions:
- What is stress, and what effects does it have on our body?
- How does stress affect weight loss and fat burning?
- Recognize stress factors: This is how you create the basis for stress and thus fat loss.
Causes: How does stress arise?
Psychological and physical factors can cause stress.
Psychological stress arises in situations to which we mentally give a negative meaning. These can be conflicts and situations that we believe overwhelm us, such as:
- Deadline and performance pressure at work
- responsibility in work and family
- social conflicts
- money worries
- health problems
- Bad news
What are the effects?
The figures published by the federal government in the “Stress Reports Germany 2012” are alarming.
Every second American complains about stress-related mental health problems:
- Fatigue and tiredness (53%)
- Headache (39%)
- Irritability and nervousness (35%)
- Trouble sleeping (32%)
- Dejection (27%)
Suppose we expose ourselves to excess negative stress for years. In that case, the best resolutions for training and nutrition are often useless:
English researchers examined over 10,000 people for 14 years and established a clear connection between chronic stress and obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes.
Stress can also be caused by physical factors affecting our bodies, often without realizing it. Examples:
- Lack of sleep and sleep disorders
- unknown food intolerances and allergies
- insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity
- pollutants and drugs
- quality of breathing air
Even if many factors could stress us – that’s not my point.
The point is this: Our body doesn’t care where the source of the stress lies, whether negative thoughts or external factors, our body’s response to a stressor is always the same.
Stress symptoms: How does your body react to stress?
“Houston, we have a problem!”
With this radio message, the astronauts on the Apollo 13 mission switched on the red warning light 40 years ago.
If our body perceives a problem, it also sends a signal, not by radio but by releasing a hormone: cortisol.
As we have already established, the “stress hormone” cortisol blocks the action of two important hormones in our body:
- Cortisol as an anti-testosterone disrupts the body’s buildup of proteins.
- Cortisol as an anti-insulin: It pulls proteins out of the muscles and converts them into glucose (sugar).
It is obvious: that cortisol has a muscle-depleting (catabolic) effect. That alone can torpedo the success of your look-good-nude project.
Now there is a second factor.
Cortisol has what it takes to make you fat: It inhibits fat breakdown.
This point is so important that I will discuss it in detail in the next section.
Let’s do a thought experiment. Think of your perfect day!
The perfect day: zest for action and fat burning through cortisol
In the morning, you wake up refreshed and without an alarm clock and go about the things that are important to you relaxed.
You are giving your body the nutrients and exercise it needs to function optimally.
There are so many situations today that you can laugh at that you stop counting.
To be too good to be true?
No, rather: “There’s still something going on!”
Cortisol is a daily hormone:
- On your perfect day, cortisol gets you going when you get up.
- Your cortisol levels are highest in the morning.
- As the day progresses, your body releases less and less of the stress hormone until you fall asleep again in the evening.
So cortisol gives us energy and alertness.
On our perfect day, the stress hormone even has a fat-burning effect – in the morning when our insulin levels are low, and testosterone levels are high.
Unfortunately, most people live where their “normal” daily cortisol cycle is disrupted.
The (for many) sad truth: tired in the morning, awake at night.
Are you one of those people who can’t get going in the morning without caffeine?
Many of us need our “dose” in the morning because our bodies are not producing enough cortisol.
Caffeine stimulates the adrenal cortex – our body’s cortisol factory – and our stress hormone levels rise to levels that make us “fit for work.”
Unfortunately, too much coffee can cause our adrenal cortex to become overstimulated, and we become increasingly dependent on caffeine.
If you’re getting an extra energy boost late in the evening or even at night, that’s another sign of a perky daytime stress signal.
You can’t get to bed, you don’t get enough sleep, and you wake up exhausted the next morning.
This puts you in a vicious circle that can last for years.
Stress Blocking Fat Loss: How does stress affect fat loss and fat burning?
Time travel: Let’s go back 10,000 years to our Stone Age ancestors. When the hunter-gatherer faced danger, stress quickly provided him with energy.
In the Stone Age, the dangers were usually acute: maybe it was a wild animal, maybe a storm approaching. In such situations, our Stone Age ancestors had to mobilize all their strength to survive.
Today, many are constantly exposed to stressors that trigger our “fight or flight” instinct.
Chronic stress has many negative effects on weight loss, fat loss, and overall health, especially when unhealthy factory foods have been specially developed to make our brain release cortisol-lowering feel-good hormones.
Cortisol becomes our constant companion if we constantly expose ourselves to internal and external stress factors. Chronic cortisol levels interfere with fat loss in three ways.
Stress Blocking Fat Loss – Problem #1: Cortisol numbs our cells
Cortisol numbs the receptors that make our cells respond to other hormones. You become resistant to these hormones.
1 – Resistance to insulin
Type 2 diabetes is a disease in which enough insulin is produced, but our cells no longer respond to this messenger substance. This condition is called insulin resistance.
If this condition persists for a long period, diabetes develops.
A high insulin level – which happens with insulin resistance – causes your body to eliminate less or no fat from the fat cells. This keeps the fat “trapped” in your body, even on a diet.
2 – Resistance to leptin
Our fat cells secrete the hormone leptin. It acts like a thermostat: Leptin signals how much fat we have stored and how quickly we lose fat.
A high level of leptin signals our brain: “I am full. Don’t eat anymore!”
When leptin receptors are numbed by cortisol, this signal is absent. The hunger remains, and we continue to eat.
Constant stress can lead to a constant appetite.
1 + 2 = diet frustration
Those who are resistant to insulin are usually also resistant to leptin.
For those who want to lose fat to look good naked, this combination is downright deadly: on the one hand, the excess fat remains trapped in the cells, and the hunger remains.
Losing weight thus becomes a hopeless struggle for those who want to limit their energy intake and lose weight.
Certainly one of the reasons why many diets don’t work.
Stress Blocking Fat Loss – Problem #2: Cortisol increases inflammation
Cortisol promotes inflammation in our body and thus indirectly blocks fat breakdown.
We store fat in many ways: Most prominent is the “tangible” fat stored beneath our skin – subcutaneous or subcutaneous fat. There is also the fat that surrounds our organs – visceral fat.
Beer belly carriers usually have a lot of visceral fat – the stomach looks “bloated.”
If you expose yourself to constant stress, your body prefers to store visceral fat.
“Too much” visceral fat is dangerous for two reasons:
- Visceral fat sends the same inflammatory signals as cortisol.
- It can restrict your organs’ function by directly enveloping them.
Let’s recap: too much stress leads to too much cortisol. Cortisol favors visceral fat.
Cortisol AND visceral fat promote inflammation.
Inflammation leads to even more stress.
Another vicious circle arises.
Stress Blocking Fat Loss – Problem #3: Cortisol throws the satiety hormones out of balance
In addition to leptin (see above), cortisol unbalances another satiety hormone: ghrelin. While leptin is responsible for making you feel full, ghrelin increases your appetite.
On your perfect stress-free day, the two hormones do their job:
- Ghrelin = hunger! You release ghrelin when you need energy, and you get hungry.
- Leptin = full! As soon as enough energy is “tanked up,” your body releases leptin, you are full, and you stop eating.
This is where cortisol comes into play: cortisol dramatically INCREASES ghrelin release and makes your brain cells resistant to leptin.
This leads many of us to overeat when we are constantly stressed.
Why do we eat chocolate and gummy bears rather than broccoli and turkey breast when stressed?
The fast carbohydrates from sugar make our insulin levels skyrocket.
Insulin causes cortisol levels to drop, and our stress levels drop. With our desire for sweets, our body wants to reduce their stress level.
Not a bad idea. And yet just another vicious circle!
Because the sweets are digested quickly, with the blood sugar, the insulin level plummets, and our body releases cortisol to stabilize blood sugar.
The craving for sweets is quickly back!
Is stress blocking your fat loss – Conclusion
In addition to the right training, diet, and sufficient regeneration, dealing with stress correctly is a key success factor if we want to change our bodies.
Losing weight with constant stress is like fighting a windmill: Many of us put extra stress on ourselves with our diet and exercise – and are frustrated when we continue to gain weight instead of losing weight.
This reinforces the stress-related vicious circle.
My goal is to make you more aware of your stress levels. Many of us are unaware of the situations we wear out excessively and how our bodies react to them – almost as if remotely controlled.
You only have a chance to take active countermeasures if you consciously recognize yourself in a stress cycle.
You can only then actively eliminate many stress factors through your behavior – thinking and doing.
Therefore, there will also be a sequel in which I would like to give you some concrete tips on how to deal with stress.
Sequel articles about stress:
First Article: 5 Ways To Better Manage Your Daily Stress
Second Article: This is how you can improve your stress management.
Third Article: Is Stress Blocking Your Fat Loss? (this article)