Studies show that women who experience chronic stress are likely to have excess fat in their abdominal area.1 Still, they can incorporate techniques to minimize stress and stress belly.
Stress belly can be described as fat around the abdomen, resulting from continuous stress.2 It's safe to state that excess abdominal fat is not good for your health, and it may affect your overall wellbeing.
When the body interprets stressors as threats, the body goes through some changes to fight those problems. While stress is useful for meeting demands and expectations, it becomes chronic; it may adversely affect your health.
The body is uniquely wired to overcome challenges. For instance, when a wild animal chases a person, the person's body goes into a fight or flight mood, resulting from the production of unique hormones.3
In addition, cortisol is a stress hormone that pivots a large part of the fight or flight response.4 This hormone is responsible for the increased glucose in the body, helping you respond to stressful situations.
Coupled with adrenaline, it helps the body develop heightened alertness and focus for the removal of threats. While stress is often short-lived, some people experience prolonged stress—which may overwork the body system.
Most studies have reported that it may lead to excess abdominal fat in overweight women. However, not many reports have investigated the harmful effect of the hormone in non-overweight women.
Additionally, having belly fat may affect your mental health. According to research, women with more abdominal fat are may experience bad moods and may also be vulnerable to daily distress.5
What Exactly Is A Stress Belly?
A stress belly results from constant exposure to distress. Although you cannot medically diagnose this condition, you can determine how stress affects your health and lifestyle.
People get abdominal fat based on several factors, such as eating habits, age, and genetics. Fortunately, you can manage your stress to reduce your belly fat.
Whether stress in your workplace or your home, stress is something everyone is exposed to regularly. Still, it serves as the motivation needed for overcoming challenges.6
What makes the difference between people is the way they manage their daily stress levels. It's safe to state that studies show that stress can motivate and encourage humans to grow academically or career-wise.
Without being in distress, you might find it challenging to accomplish new goals. But with distress comes belly fat, which is a health concern, particularly when you find it difficult to manage stress.
In a recent study, the investigation asserted that cortisol is long-term associated with belly fat.7 So, this means that people producing more of the hormone may have higher chances of storing more fat in their abdomen.
In addition, not everyone battling with fat has increased cortisol levels. Some people develop more belly fat because of their diet and genetics.
Indeed, cortisol may affect the body's fat distribution, especially with high-stress levels. This hormone leads to fat storage around the abdomen.
While cortisol is the leading culprit of stress belly, other lifestyle choices can worsen the condition. Lifestyle choices like smoking and consuming alcohol also cause belly fat in general.
Still, you can reduce cortisol production by engaging in some activities that relieve stress. Some of those activities include getting adequate sleep, eating right, and also relaxing regularly.
What You Can Do To Treat Or Lose Stress Belly
Everyone wants to stay fit, but you may develop excess fat around your abdomen when stress comes to play. While most women have fat around the hips, cortisol may affect fat distribution, causing you to store fat in the wrong places.
Naturally, women tend to get fatter when they grow older, resulting from changing hormones and childbirth. However, recent studies show that men can also develop a stress belly; this makes it vital to find ways to lose a stress belly.
Luckily, there are many things you can do to manage stress, and some of them are below.
- Eat a balanced diet: Food has a huge part to play in fat storage. While food is not the only reason for excess fat, it may worsen conditions. It would be best if you ate a balanced diet to keep you healthy, helping you manage stress.
- Make time for relaxation: Since stress is the cause of stress belly, you can manage stress more efficiently when you create time for relaxation. During your relaxation time, you can find new hobbies or visit new places to enjoy the time.
- Exercise: Exercising helps you burn excess fat and also stay energized. This may help you combat stress and also assist in reducing belly fat. Make your fitness routine targeting the stomach area to optimize the process.
- Avoid alcohol or caffeine: Research suggests that alcohol and caffeine may worsen daily stress levels. To prevent t this from happening, reduce your alcohol and caffeine intake by watching your diet.
- Yoga: Yoga is a kind of exercise that helps you relax. If you love yoga, you should create more time for it. It may help you manage stress and also reduce waistline fat.
- Get adequate sleep: Insomnia is a known culprit of heightened stress levels. When you are not getting enough sleep, you may become stressed. You should get sufficient rest to minimize tiredness.
Why Does Stress Cause Belly Fat? The Role Cortisol Plays
Adrenal produces cortisol--a hormone for our benefit.8 This chemical compound assists with metabolism and may also increase blood sugar when the need arises.
Cortisol is not necessarily bad as it helps us achieve new goals, pushing growth. However, this compound is the primary reason for this condition.
Ideally, after the perceived danger has passed, cortisol levels should return to normal. However, this happens when there is a cortisol imbalance.
This imbalance leads to abdominal fat. In this situation, cortisol may move fat from the hips and store it in the abdomen.
Furthermore, when cortisol levels are high, some reports assert that people eat more, storing excess fat. This, in turn, causes people to have excess stomach fat.
Stress management is an excellent way for you to burn your stomach fat. Once you have the right resources for stress management, you will have lower stress levels—helping you maintain good health.
4 Ways To Get Rid Of Stress Belly
Stress belly is a condition that you need to manage by making new lifestyle choices or incorporating healthy habits.
It's important to note that belly fat is largely because of hormones, so when you restore balance, you should notice a reduction in belly fats.
Additionally, you can visit a therapist to find the best way to manage stress thereby controlling the stress belly.
Here are some ways to control the stress belly.
- Meditation: Mediation is useful for relaxing, especially after a stressful day. There are numerous healthy tips for mediation and mindfulness.
- Reduce smoking: Smoking may have adverse effects on your stress levels. Smokers may also experience heightened stress levels. It would help if you reduced or avoided smoking to maintain better health.
- Take a vacation: Vacations are excellent for stress management. If you can afford it, you should take a vacation. This helps you explore new places while managing stress.
- Cut the calories: You should check your diet and also cut foods with many calories. This helps you control overall body fat.
Stress belly is a condition caused by consistent stress, thereby increasing cortisol. Still, you can manage your condition by exercising, relaxing, sleeping well, and visiting a certified therapist.