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Do You Have a Stress Belly? Top Tips To Control It

Do You Have a Stress Belly? Top Tips To Control It

30th January 2022

We all experience stress every now and again. But did you know that stress can cause health problems and unwanted weight gain without you even realising the cause?

There is absolutely no doubt that belly fat is an unwanted attribute. We’re awfully sorry to be breaking the news to you, but that little pouch of abdominal fat that you have tried ever so hard to be rid of may be a stress belly. That’s right – eat well, exercise regularly, and you still can’t win. 

The good news? We’ve put together a few tips as to how to get rid of stress belly.

What is Stress Belly?

Stress belly is not a condition that tends to be medically diagnosed by your GP. Instead, it is a means of describing how stress and stress hormones can have an impact on your weight.

The primary stress hormone, Cortisol, has been associated with abdominal obesity and weight gain in other areas of the body. Cortisol, among other hormones such as adrenaline, is linked to the body’s function of ‘fight or flight’, a response that occurs when a person is confronted by a crisis. 

Science says that your body will automatically dissolve your appetite, halting other activities such as reproduction and tissue repair since these are not 100% fundamental for survival, it can put all focus on your safety.

This response was a great aid back in the early days when we were escaping from predators, or hunting for food. So much so, that in the centuries since, it has continued to develop so that it still remains a natural part of our life to this day.

Subsequently, during a stressful event, cortisol levels have been scientifically shown to rise in a quest to give you the boost of energy needed to help you combat the stressful event. Once the stress is addressed, everything once again returns to balance.

Raised Cortisol Levels

Prolonged and consistent feelings of chronic stress encourage your cortisol levels to be raised and out of balance for long periods of time, and that isn’t good news for more than just a stress belly. 

Stress and hormones affect the abdominal fat found at your lower core, but worse than a little extra pouch to play with and potential poor self-image, this extra layer can be an indicating symptom of an unhealthy body and linked to far worse health problems, including heart disease, type two diabetes and even breathing problems.

4 Ways To Lose Your Stress Belly

1.Eat a balanced diet

Again, we hate to be the bearers of bad news, but one of the biggest side effects of stress is the desire to consume more food, and food that’s bad for you in particular. 

Think about it: after an exhausting day at work, how often do you come home and feel consumed by an unshakable urge to eat something? That, ladies, is caused by an excess of cortisol.

In order to break this habit, adopt a balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. It is no secret that a healthy diet can help you lose, reach or maintain your desired weight.

Research suggests that eating foods high in B vitamins can help relieve stress. With this secret tip in mind, you should consider sprinkling your diet with an abundance of dark, green, leafy vegetables, bananas, fish, legumes, among other food groups.

You should aim to eat every two to four hours, snacking healthily in between main meals to keep your cortisol levels from peaking as a result of no food intake.

2. Be more active

A balanced diet and regular exercise go together like chocolate digestives and a cup of tea.

We’re all aware that an inactive lifestyle can dramatically increase the risk of a variety of minor to serious health problems, weight gain included. 

Daily exercise can help you reduce belly fat and boost your mood to deter stress, so is a power tool when it comes to combatting the stress belly. 

The NHS recommends that adults should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week, combined with strength training to work major muscle groups at least 2 days a week. 

This, combined with ensuring that you reduce your time spent sitting or lying down throughout the day, will make a huge difference to your daily routine and improve your lifestyle in ways you couldn’t have imagined.

3. Have a good night’s sleep

Are you trying to lose weight? It has been found that the amount of sleep you get in may be just as important as your diet and exercise. Happy days, right? Who doesn’t love a lie in.

Unfortunately, many of us are not getting enough sleep.

Short sleep — usually defined as fewer than 6–7 hours — has been repeatedly linked to a higher body mass index (BMI) and weight gain.

Meeting your rest needs also has a huge impact on your stress levels, so by doing so you’re ultimately killing two birds with one stone! 

4. Manage your stress levels

This one may seem a little obvious, but it is so important to look for ways to reduce your stress and implement these things into your routine as often and consistently as possible.

There are many tactics that can help relieve stress and help you stay relaxed and calm – yoga, mindfulness, and meditation, etc.

Wrapping Up

The bottom line is, ladies, whether you have a stress belly or are lucky enough to have escaped one, a sensible lifestyle will help prevent disease and promote a healthier, fitter life. 

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