Those darn adrenal glands.  Stress and weight gain,
it is those glands we have to blame and our caveman past! From an evolutionary standpoint, their secretions of adrenaline and cortisol were vital for survival in a hostile world.  When confronted by a predator bearing down on you with a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth it was vital that your body initiated the “fight or flight” response.  It gave us the extra physical energy and strength ripped from our stored supply of carbohydrates and fats.

In our caveman days we were often confronted by huge, snarly predators.  This adrenal response served an important survival function.
We are attacked these days, less by snarly physical predators and more from psychological fears and stresses.  These stresses are a constant in many people’s lives.  Thus, the release of cortisol, is also a constant.  Constant cortisol means the body thinks it needs energy all the time.  So, we release the glucose needed for energy into the blood stream.  But, we are not burning it off like our cave dwelling ancestors, fleeing from real dangers.  So that extra energy is stored as fat most often right around our middle.  The insulin that is released to deal with the increased blood glucose is also being released constantly.  Our pancreas gets overworked and our cells become immune to the effects of insulin whose job is to make them more pliable to receiving glucose.  Type II diabetes is a common ailment of the chronically stressed person.  And weight gain is also inevitable for most of us.

So stress creates a vicious cycle.  Stress makes our bodies feel the need to flee some unseen enemy.  Our adrenal gland pumps out cortisol which makes the body release more nutrients to give that burst of energy.  We feel more anxious because we are now a stopped bottle with this extra energy with no real enemy to spend it on.  We feel stressed and our bodies produce more cortisol and the dance continues.  And our health declines as this extra release of nutrients has nowhere to go but to be converted into belly fat.  There are a few of us who actually lose weight due to stress.  Instead of hunger increasing, for some of us the stress suppresses appetite.  Needless to say, either way you shake it, it is not a healthy lifestyle to keep up.  Stress can kill. But it is sooooo hard to chill when life gets so busy and hectic. [tweetthis display_mode=”button_link”]Stress can kill. But it is sooooo hard to chill when life gets so busy and hectic.[/tweetthis]

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So, how does stress affect your life?  Are you a skinny stress bunny or do you tend to plump out like the majority of us?  Let us know in the comments below.