The JCCSF Fitness and Community Wellness Manager Laura Greenfield publishes her column, Laura's Corner, in the monthly Member Newsletter, delivering up-to-date information on classes, workshops, new activities and special discounts at the JCCSF Fitness Center. Check out Laura's tips and insights in the latest issue or sign up to receive this monthly newsletter.
Laura's Corner: April 2014
JCCSF Fitness &
Community Wellness Manager
Stress & Weight Gain
“Often, our response to stress today is to sit and stew in our frustration and anger, without expending any of the calories or food stores that we would if we were physically fighting our way out of stress or danger. Often, eating becomes the activity that relieves the stress.”
– Shawn Talbott, PhD,
The Cortisol Connection
Many of us are prone to gaining weight when we’re stressed, but there’s often more to it than overeating. The ways that stress can lead to weight gain are both physiological and emotional.
Cortisol: This ”fight or flight” hormone released during times of stress slows down metabolism. Some studies have indicated that higher levels of cortisol lead to increased abdominal fat. Increased levels of cortisol also dull the body’s response to leptin, the hormone that makes us feel full, making us eat more.
Leptin & Ghrelin: Stress often results in insomnia. A lack of sleep may disrupt the functioning of leptin and ghrelin, chemicals that control appetite.
Serotonin: If you find you are binging on carbohydrates when you are stressed, no surprise. That is your body’s attempt to raise levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin (the “mood elevator”), which is temporarily raised by eating fatty, salty and sweet carbo-loaded foods.
Instead of reaching for the chips during stressful times, try to implement some stress reduction techniques into your daily routine. Exercise can decrease cortisol and trigger the release of serotonin. It can also help speed up your metabolism to burn off the extra indulgences. But meditation, yoga, nature walks, mindful eating and even socializing can help too. You’ll advance faster!
|Have questions about fitness or training? |
Email Laura Greenfield.