Stress not only affects your mental health – it can even lead to extra weight being stored around your middle.
Even when you eat well, exercise and avoid certain foods, excess belly fat can still be a source of distress for many of us.
The real kicker… the stress that is caused by not being able to lose this belly fat often exacerbates the problem and can make it harder to lose – causing a never-ending battle with their tummy!
How stress and mental health issues can lead to stomach fat
Women in the healthy weight range can also be vulnerable to the effects of stress and excess abdominal fat.
Cortisol, the stress hormone, affects fat distribution by causing fat to be stored centrally-around the organs (an evolutionary throwback to protect and feed them when your survival is threatened) – this is known as visceral fat.
People often deal with stress by self-soothing with ‘comfort foods’ but unfortunately this means grabbing convenience foods, which are more likely to be highly processed, sugary, high in fats and contain empty calories.
It also can drive people to drink more caffeine to prop up their energy in the morning and alcohol to feel relaxed at the end of the day.
How to reduce and rid yourself of stress belly
Avoid fad diets
You can become even more stressed from highly restrictive and extreme quick fixes that don’t deliver.
Reduce psychological stress
We all have stress. There’s no way to eliminate it from your life, but there are some practical things you can do to reduce and manage it.
Exercise every day
Mood-boosting is only one of the benefits. Daily exercise can help you to reduce visceral fat, even if it doesn’t show up as a loss on the scales.