There is a profound relationship between the mind and the body and nowhere is that more apparent than in the manifestations of stress. You might feel the physical effects of stress when your head hurts for no reason, when you find yourself clenching your hands or your jaw, or when you’re tossing and turning, unable to sleep at night. All these stress symptoms and more might be familiar to you, but there’s yet another way that stress affects the body which you may have noticed: it makes it more difficult to lose weight. The first way this happens is psychological: when you’ve had a hard day at the office or a fight with your significant other, for many people the first reaction is to lunge for that bag of chips, or pop that frozen pizza in the oven. When people are stressed out, they tend to go for comfort foods, which are usually high in salt, sugar and fats and low in other nutrients.
The second reason gets a bit more technical, but don’t worry, I’ll break down the medical terminology for you. When the body is stressed out, it releases the hormone cortisol. One of the results of cortisol in the bloodstream is an increase in appetite. Being stressed out, physiologically, makes you really hungry! Not only does the cortisol make you eat more, studies have also shown that it causes people to gain weight on their bellies and hips, exactly where most people DON’T want to gain weight. This is sometimes referred to as “toxic weight” by the medical community, because of the relationship between gaining this type of weight and heart disease and strokes.
But don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to manage stress in a healthy and effective way. Next time you’ve had a rough day, instead of going straight for a doughnut, try to take a walk instead. Exercise is known to reduce stress levels, and who couldn’t use a little extra anyways? If you don’t have time for that, try writing in a journal, call a friend, spend time with a loved one or a pet or play your favorite music. Everybody’s chill out activity is unique to them. Whatever your favorite one is, there are lots of other options than vegging out to deal with stress.
For more: http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=53304