STRESS AND THE EFFECTS ON YOUR BODY
It is just over a week into November and I would guess that you are already stressing about the holidays. There are cards to be organized, decorations that need to be pulled out of storage, house repairs that need to be finished, cookies to be made, and lists of wishes to be fulfilled. The holiday season is upon us. We feel joy and that familiar stress that haunts us all year. Take that stress add holiday cookies and a handful of candy canes and you have a recipe for gaining weight.
Dr. Natasha Turner, Naturopathic Doctor (The Hormone Diet, 2010) breaks down the response to stress as a short-term response and a long-term response. Understanding how stress causes us to gain weight, comes from understand these two types of responses.
The short-term response comes in handy when being chased by a bear while out on a hike. Blood sugar levels increase, and adrenaline spikes releasing fat from storage. This fat provides the energy for your body to react quickly. The physical activity of running away from said bear burns off that energy and a state of relaxation follows. The stress comes, it goes, and we deal with it.
Unfortunately, bears are not chasing us. Stress caused by the overwhelming demands and worries of our lives, whether real or imaginary, is the most damaging type of stress. The stress comes, it doesn’t go, and we are not dealing with it. This long-term response to stress is also known as chronic stress.
Chronic stress releases high levels of the hormone cortisol to activate your bodies stress response (adrenaline). The key difference to keep in mind is that the relaxation that follows a stress response is not activated by physical activity (running from the bear) that should have followed. As long as stressful events stay constant in your mind and environment, your body cannot achieve a restful and balanced state. This constant response to life stresses causes your body to encourage a high fatty and sugary diet. Also, known as comfort food. How else is your body going to prepare for the energy requirements necessary when the imaginary bear jumps out to get you? Your worries, anxieties, depression, exhaustion, to name a few, are your “bear”.
We can take back the control of fully recovering our stress pathways. Becoming balanced and rested is possible. You may wonder “how” is one supposed to recover from these stressors? My answer is simple, so stay tuned.
See you in class.
Yours very truly,
Marina, Shop n’ Stroll Instructor (www.runnersandbootiesfitness.com)
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