You will often hear women complaining about what they call their muffin top – the fat hanging over the waist of their jeans or trousers. Carrying that extra fat around your torso doesn’t look great and it’s also bad for your health. Most of us blame that “bulge” on eating too much, but experts have now suggested that this unwanted fat can be caused as a result of stress.
We all deal with stress in our daily lives – whether financial, personal, or work related. When we are anxious or feeling the pressure, our body releases stress hormones that are produced in the adrenal glands and encourages fat to accumulate in our stomach area. The hormone known as “cortisol” gives us instant energy for up to 10 minutes which allows us to respond in stressful situations. As many of us lead busy lives these days; excess cortisol is being stored in our body which can result in weight gain.
It is now claimed that the dreaded muffin top is caused as a result of stress When a stressful situation occurs, the increased level of cortisol causes our appetite to increase. Our body encourages us to eat more food in order to cope with all the activity surrounding us. That is why sometimes individuals with a stressful lifestyle are overweight and find themselves to be hungrier. With stress and cortisol levels high, our body actually resists weight loss while increasing inflammation.
How to manage and beat ‘stress fat’?
Just because we lead a hectic lifestyle, it doesn’t mean that we have to lead an unhealthy lifestyle. Here are some tips to beat the stress and prevent weight gain:
1. Eat three balanced meals a day and snack on fruit and vegetables. By eating every three to four hours, the body’s sugar levels and energy levels will remain stable.
2. Eat a healthy breakfast! Having a healthy breakfast regulates your cortisol levels as well as control cravings the whole day.
3. Avoid foods that raise your sugar levels.
4. Add foods that are rich in protein to your diet. Proteins when combined with carbohydrates, convert into slower releasing carbohydrates which maintain the sugar levels of the body.
5. Eat essential fatty acids which enhance your metabolism. Sources of essential fatty acids are nuts, cold water fish, olive oil, vegetables, etc.
6. Avoid drinking caffeine and sugary drinks. Also, try to lessen your intake of alcohol.
7. Take the time out to exercise regularly.
Stress can be unavoidable in our fast-paced lifestyle of today. But with a combination of eating healthily, exercising and taking supplements you can reduce stress and prevent the dreaded ‘muffin top’! What do you think? Let us know your thoughts and leave a comment below!