As I got older, I started gaining weight. My weight gain was mainly from elevated stress levels and consequent overeating. My energy level started to decrease and my body started changing. I eventually became motivated to join a gym and consciously paid attention to how much I ate. This experience led me to think about how someone living with obesity feels with the extra weight they carry around each day. I hope that this blog will shed some light on the impact that stress as a single factor, can potentially lead to the fat belly.
THE HEALTH STATUS OF AMERICA
According to The Journal of the American Medical Associate JAMA, 1/3 of American adults and 17% of our youths are obese. More than 68.8 % of adults are either overweight or obese reports WIN Statistics.
THE EPIDEMIC OF THE FAT BELLY SYNDROME
Gaining weight is very easy, but loosing weight takes a lot of work and dedication. New York has over 3,500 restaurants. Moreover, there are at least one fast food restaurant on every other block. In addition, the USA supports a sedentary lifestyle. Persons have to put extra effort to get in their weekly physical activity.
When you travel travel around New York City or other cities, you can rest assured that 1 in every 4 people, will be observed wearing a fat belly.
The Fat Belly Syndrome described as an increased accumulation of fat around the gut or mid section of the belly. Consequently, a fat belly affects not only your physiological , but also your psychological health.
Impact of Obesity
Obesity is one of the leading cause of many of the chronic diseases. These include, but is not limited to: Type 2 Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Cancer and Cardio Vascular Diseases. We all know that lack of exercise and poor eating habits are contributors to becoming overweight or obese. While these and many other factors contribute to the obesity epidemic in US and other parts of the world, one of the factors that we rarely focus on is STRESS.
How Does STRESS Lead to Fat Belly Syndrome?
Chronic exposure to STRESS, according to many studies is one of the leading contributor to the fat belly syndrome. Accumulation of fat around our mid section, even if you are small frame can lead to a number of health issues.
Living in New York is very expensive. Many families are living from paycheck to paycheck, rent is sky high, food is expensive, we worry about our financial future, student loans debt, travel and education expenses, children, families, and the list goes on. These stressors, if not dealt with properly, can have negative impacts on our overall health. Poor stress management can lead to high elevations of a hormone call CORTISOL.
What Role Does CORTISOL Play In The Contribution To Fat Belly?
What is Cortisol?
CORTISOL, a hormone that is produced in our bodies and released in our blood stream during stressful times. Over time, constant exposure to this stress hormone can lead to weight gain. Cortisol can negatively affect our ability to store fat and utilize blood glucose appropriately. Instead of even distribution of fat around the body, the fat somehow becomes accumulated around the gut leading to a fat belly.
referenced a study conducted by Yale University Psychology Department. The researchers found that lean or slim women with higher abdominal fat had more negative moods and higher levels of life stress.
NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF FAT BELLY SYNDROME
Accumulation of fat around your mid-section, especially the visceral fat that surrounds your organs,can have detrimental effects on your liver, kidneys, cardiovascular system, colon, and pancreas. As your body starts to accumulate fat in your mid section, you can become insulin resistant.Visceral fat is a risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes.
As you become resistant to insulin, your blood glucose becomes elevated. Excess blood glucose can lead to the accumulate fat in the Liver leading Nonalcohol Fatty Liver disease. A fatty liver can later lead to elevated bad blood cholesterol. These include Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL), Very Low Density Lipoproteins (VLDL) and Triglycerides.
High blood cholesterol can contribute to a condition called hypercholesterolemia. Hypercholesterolemia or elevated fat in the blood can lead to Cardiovascular Disease and Heart Disease.
FAT BELLY SYNDROME can lead to a cascade of health problems. In addition to regular physical activity, 8 hours of sleep and healthy eating habits, learning how to effectively manage the stressors in your life can all have a positive impact on your overall health.
So the next time you feel stressed or worried, ask yourself this question: