“My days are very hectic. I’m constantly on the go. There is too much to do.” Could that be you? And what has it to do with losing weight permanently over 40?
Stress can be a good thing. Stress hormones put ourselves on the fast track, we are high-energy and powerful. Short time stress is good- but being stressed out all the time can make you sick: Heart attacks, diabetes, high blood pressure are connected with stress.
Even worse: Stress makes you fat and prevents you from losing weight permanently. If you are stressed out day in and day out, you’ll gain weight on your belly and your hips: stress fat. Stress fat is the body’s energy pool to respond physically in stressful situations. This was very useful for our ancestors, facing natural challenges.
Unfortunately, today our reactions to stressful situations do not need to be physical any more- we do not have to run away from or fight wild animals. Today, our responses need to be mental. The stress fat accumulates on and in our bodies, without getting burned. Especially for women stress fat increases the risk for heart diseases, higher blood pressure, high cholesterol, strokes, diabetes and cancer.
In stressful situations the adrenal gland releases adrenalin. The blood sugar rises and the metabolism slows down so there is more energy ready. Under permanent stress you burn fewer calories, preventing you from losing weight permanently. In addition, fluctuating blood sugar levels will cause hunger- drawing you to eat more although you burn less.
When you are under stress, the hormone cortisol is released. It affects your muscles, bones and the immune system. It’s much riskier to get an infectious disease. The bone density is getting less, making osteoporosis more probable. And the muscle mass is down, so you’ll burn less fat.
Cortisol has another serious result threatening your ability to lose weight permanently. The body’s energy storage is filled up when your stress level is reduced. Cortisol will give you a voracious appetite then. Have you ever observed that in stress-reducing, relaxing phases you don’t desire vegetables or fish, but high-calorie food, like sweets, ice cream, chocolate or cookies?
Fat cells become more sensitive to high cortisol levels when they are longer exposed to cortisol. The amount of fat cells increases because of this process, making it tougher for you to lose weight permanently.
Continuous stress means never-ending hunger at a decreased metabolism. When we become older we normally accumulate more responsibilities- and consequently more stress. You need to decrease your stress level if you want to lose weight permanently over 40.
Especially for women over 40 it’s very hard to lose weight permanently when the stress level is high. Women over 40 frequently have points of eating not enough, followed by periods of eating too much if they are chronically stressed. The perpetually varying weight makes it difficult to lose weight permanently for women over 40.