Anita Kemp Ph.D. Blog

Ideas for a healthy body, mind and spirit.

Stress and Overeating

Chronic stress leads to weight gain. Stress increases ghrelin, an appetite stimulant, and this also increases the preference for high sugar and fat foods. Then there is a release of endogenous opioids which help us to feel good and this seems to be a natural protector from stress. However, these opioids then stimulate the intake of food and  those we find very tasty (often fatty or sugary). Then the stress increases cortisol which leads to visceral fat accumulation (the worst kind) and makes the brain more sensitive to rewards of tasty food. The end result is weight gain and often around the middle. Ever hear of metabolic syndrome?

What can you do now? Check out Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction or other approaches like this. They are based on simple breathing, noticing the moment, noticing how your body feels. That’s it. Simple and very effective for stress reduction.

February 20, 2011 - Posted by | weight management

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