Not only does stress affect your mental health — it can also lead to extra pounds being stored around your midsection.
Even when you eat well, exercise and avoid certain foods, excess belly fat can still be a concern for many of us.
The real kicker…the stress of not being able to lose belly fat often exacerbates the problem and can make it even harder to lose – causing a never-ending battle with their belly!
How stress and mental health issues can lead to stomach fat
Women in a healthy weight range can also be susceptible to the effects of stress and excess fat in the abdominal area.
Cortisol, the stress hormone, affects fat distribution by causing fat to be stored centrally around organs (an evolutionary throwback to protecting and feeding them when survival is threatened) – this is known as visceral fat.
People often deal with stress by self-soothing with “comfort foods” but unfortunately that means eating prepared foods, which are more likely to be highly processed, sugary, high in fat, and contain empty calories.
It can also lead people to drink more caffeine to boost their energy in the morning and alcohol to feel relaxed at the end of the day.
How to reduce and rid yourself of abdominal stress
Avoid fad diets
You can become even more stressed with fixes that are too restrictive and quick that don’t work.
We all have stress. There is 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 improvement is only one of the benefits. Daily exercise can help you reduce visceral fat, even if it doesn’t show up as a loss on the scales.