There are, in fact, so many areas of life that can cause us to feel stressed, it s unlikely that we will avoid all of them, however understanding how stress affects the body, can help us to tackle it in a positive way.
The Amygdala is a small almond shaped part of the brain, and it’s function is to sense danger. This was useful for our ancient ancestors who’s survival depended on the ‘fight or flight’ response, for example; if they needed to ‘run for their life’ to escape falling prey to wild animals. This is also known as the physiological stress response, and this can also occur when we feel negative emotions such as guilt, anger or fear.
Whilst we are experiencing the stress response, the body digestion becomes lower priority to the body. This results in a negative effect on the metabolism, preventing the absorption of nutrients.
In this way, stress causes us to starve our body of vital nutrients, because we are unable to digest our food to maximum effect. As a result of this, our body constantly tells us it is hungry, when in fact, what we need to do is deal with stress.
When we experience the physiological stress response, our adrenal glands make cortisol, which has been linked to sugar cravings and increased appetite, leading to ’emotional eating’.
Comfort eating, due to stress often includes sugary carbohydrate foods which have the effect of increasing the concentration of an amino acid called Tryptophan, which is the building block of Serotonin, sometimes called ‘the happy hormone’, because it makes us feel happier.
Eating unrefined or sweet carbohydrates, such as white bread, pastries, biscuits and cakes, will quickly and temporarily raise the sugar level in our blood, causing us to release insulin into the blood stream. Although this provides us with a short spell of satisfaction, the insulin level in our blood stream soon drops, causing more craving for sweet foods. It is this that can keep us stuck in the circle of eating too much, and which can lead to insulin resistance and diabetes.
It is easy to understand why ongoing stress can have a disastrous effect on our metabolism, and therefore our weight and health, illustrating the importance of finding ways to reduce stress.
Here at Vison, stress relief is always a dominating factor in our individually tailored weight control programs. The basic truth is, that if you do not learn to deal with stress, you are more likely to have an ongoing struggle with your weight and your health.