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There are generally two types of stresses faced by us. They are acute severe stress and chronic low level stress. Examples of severe stress are falling sick, accidental injury, death of love ones and facing imminent death. Examples of low level stress are job demands, preparing for exams, financial difficulties, unhappy relationships and suffering from chronic illness. Both kinds of stresses are dangerous to your health. However, acute severe stress will make you lose weight while low level of stress makes you fat.

This week you will learn how stress prevents you from losing weight effectively. While acute stress makes you sick and thin (if you lost your way in Maliau Basin for one week, you will get thin rather quickly!), this is not the kind of weight loss that you would want to have. We also know that acute stress happens rarely and if it does, it only last for a short time before it get resolved (or you will die from it). Therefore, this kind of stress is almost irrelevant in your effort to lose weight.

The low level stress is however experienced by everybody and at all times. Both stresses cause the release of a very important hormone called Cortisol. Cortisol will prepare your body in ‘fight or flight’ responses by releasing huge amount of sugar principally from your liver. This surge of sugar however is not utilised by your cells because you are not really ‘fighting’ anything physically or ‘fleeing’ from anything. Consequently, the sugar ended up being stored as fat by another hormone called Insulin. Coincidentally, Insulin is also released in huge quantity when you are stressed.

The release of Insulin and Cortisol in response to low level of stress causes another hormone to be released. This hormone is called Ghrelin. This hormone is the ‘goblin’ of weight gain because it causes you to get hungry and reward your brain with ‘pleasure’ once food is eaten. The pleasure sensation occurs at the same site in your brain where pleasure of sex and addictive drugs act upon. In short, the Ghrelin make you ‘addicted’ to food, especially sugar.

To simplify, chronic low level of stress makes you addicted to eating sugar. It makes you addicted to being fat!

I don’t know about you, but this is a revelation for me when I first knew about it. It is so revolting that I did say a few expletives words in response. Needless to say, since then I would do everything I could to minimise stresses in my life.

Unfortunately, it is beyond the scope of this article to teach you how to lead a stress-free life. There are many books written on this topic already. Suffice for me to say, if you are convinced about this knowledge, that stress will make you fat, you will do everything you can to lead a happy life and attain the healthy weight you have always wanted.

Article contributed by: Dr Rizin H Kusop. MBBS, MSc (Anti-Aging, Regenerative and Aesthetic Med), Dip. Family Med. ( Source is available upon request.

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