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How Stress Can Cause Weight Gain, and What You Can Do to Stop It

August 19, 2015 2 min read

As you get older, you may notice yourself having to work harder to maintain the body you desire. You may also notice that you have to take care of yourself much more, including those pesky stress levels that creep up due to work, family and other life situations and obstacles. You may also find that you've developed a tummy that won't quit, no matter how much exercise you do, and no matter how healthy you eat. Because fight or flight hasn't evolved to understand the difference between normal, day-to-day stresses and life-threatening situations, all your worries, from missing your alarm to running late to a meeting add up, so your adrenal hormones make the liver and muscles let go of their stores of glucose. Meanwhile, your muscles let amino acids release and fat breaks down into glycerol — all for the sake of giving your body a source of fuel. If you're dealing with chronic stress, the fat in your body is left alone and more amino acids are taken from your muscle tissue instead. Also, unlike the result of a normal fight or flight, you are not given the repairing testosterone and HGH release since you haven’t done enough physical activity to trigger it. So without the release of physical activity, chronic stress can cause your cortisol levels to spike, which can cause cravings for high-calorie foods, even when you're not technically hungry. Finally, it can cause a depletion of muscle tissue from your arms and legs, and allow fat to be stored in your abdomen. This sounds like a whole lot of negatives! But there are some helpful hints to counteract all of this stress talk: 1. Increase the percentage of protein in your breakfast. This helps stimulate testosterone and HGH production. 2. Incorporate at least two intensive interval sessions a week, which can boost testosterone and HGH levels, keeping unwanted fat from being stored. 3. Train with weights at least once a week. 4. Try to get between 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night to promote HGH secretion. Have you noticed excess fat due to stress? Source: Cycling Weekly

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