Stress and Fat Go Hand-In-Hand

Aug 20th, 2013

Category: Fat Burning

Stress and Fat Go Hand-In-Hand

Stress and Fat Go Hand-In-Hand

By, Mark Wine CSCS; NASM PT, PES, CES
Founder of Functional Muscle Fitness

Stress and fat are one and the same. Studies show individuals who have more stress are generally much fatter (large waistline). Thus the question becomes, how does one asses how they are managing stress within their own life? Look in the mirror, how does your waistline look? Generally a larger waist line is a result of stress being left untreated or handled incorrectly. Stress leads to overeating and/or starvation, which thus results in the release of cortisol from our body. Cortisol is a testosterone that our bodies produce, which results in an increase in belly fat storage. It is important to mention that cortisol does nothing to relieve stress.

Fat within the belly is stored along the omentum. Fat in the omentum looks like drapes hanging from a rod, with multiple drapes hanging. A larger stomach means more fat is hanging from the omentum. The misconception, all round / hard stomachs are beer guts. If it was only that simple. Belly fat is dangerous and has been given the title “worst type of fat” by numerous researchers and doctors within the medical field.

One common misconception professionals are making within the fitness and health industry is the explanation of where and how fat increases. It is explained that cells and other nutrients are converted into fat within the liver. However, individuals generally see an increase in the cells themselves when gaining fat. The other major misconception has to do with genetics. It is imperative to recognize that genetics do not guarantee being fat and overweight. More often than not, one’s lifestyle plays a much greater role then genetics. In fact, I have been witness and a coach to numerous athletes / persons who go against their genetics by reducing body fat. However, it would be imprudent to declare genetics do not play a role in whether or not you are more likely to attain an elevated amount of fat.

norepinephrine-and-fat

Norepinephrine Molecule

It is vital to understand that there are two kinds of stress humans ascertain. First is immediate stress. The principle of fight-or-flight belongs in the category of immediate stress. Immediate stress is what the body goes through during a hard workout. Our bodies come to the realization that a high level of imposed demands are being placed upon it. It responds by producing the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is produced within the body naturally. Norepinephrine speeds up your heart rate and elevates breathing, which results in elevated metabolic rates. Max exertion and high metabolic rates leads to curbed hunger cravings and elevated levels of fat burning. Immediate stress is short lived and is a response from our bodies defensive mechanism.

The second type of stress is extensive stress. Extensive stress, or mental stress, often results in long periods of starvation. As a result, individuals suffering from stress induced starvation often eat very few meals. During times of starvation, or long periods without eating, our body slows down our metabolic rate and store as many calories as possible. Even though little calories are consumed, the result is a higher level of fat (omentum). The excessive storage of calories is to offset these long periods of starvation in order to maintain energy levels required throughout the day. An analogy that fits this situation, which may help clarify this concept, is when bears prepare for hibernation. Bears eat as many calories as possible while leading up to hibernation in order to better prepare their bodies for stress (i.e. long times of starvation). Fat stores up in excessive amounts and is called upon in these times of long starvation.

It is imperative to understand the concept of hibernation as it relates to starvation, fat storage, and excessive stress. Although it is merely an analogy, it provides insight into our bodies mechanisms. Finding avenues to relieve stress thus becomes crucial in order to limit fat stores. Exercise, for example, is one of the greatest ways to relieve stress and enhance fat loss. Stress is often a result of overworking and a high intensity position within ones job. Deadlines, time crunches, meetings, finances, debt, and various other reasons all lead to stress. When stress piles up excessive fat drapes from the omentum and increases your waistline. If you are interested in getting rid of those extra pounds and extra inches, then get serious about relieving stress.

Copyright Functional Muscle Fitness LLC © 2013

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