Chronic stress leads to obesity, which is a major and growing health challenge. We all know that food and exercise are important but excess weight is actually much more complex than just ‘energy in’ versus ‘energy out.’
A recent study showed that the relationship between obesity and three health factors — total calories consumed; amount of exercise; and type of food — has changed over the past three decades. What has increased is the chronic stress which leads to obesity
Some of the culprits are:
- Exposure to environmental toxins stresses your body. Choosing glass and stainless steel instead of plastic containers to store your food helps avoid toxins. Plus careful washing your fresh food and choosing organic food
- Changes in your microbiome, the growing use of artificial sweeteners and processed foods, both of which have a negative impact on bacteria in the gut. Plus of course antibiotics kill the gut biota as well as the harmful target.
- The use of prescription antidepressants has skyrocketed by nearly 400 percent since 1988, and now 11 percent of people aged 12 years and older are taking at least one of these drugs.
- Chronic stress takes a massive toll on health, resulting in unhealthy behaviours such as overeating. When your stress levels remain high, so do levels of an important hormone called cortisol, which can increase your appetite. Emotional eating — turning to comfort foods when faced with tension, stress, anxiety, depression — can become part of this pattern as well.
- Lack of sleep both causes stress and is caused by stress. We get less sleep today than our peers did back in the 1940s. In 1942, the average was nearly eight hours of sleep per night, compared with an average of 6.8 hours today.
- Then there is the yo-yo effect: weight loss followed by weight gain over and over again. Your body thinks it is in a famine and needs to protect you by storing fat ready for the next self-induced famine.
A very high proportion of the people who come to me for weight loss have long-term stress often going back to childhood, and I can help you to clear this, return to calm, better sleep and lower cortisol levels. Then those who are looking to lose weight can do so.