Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Chronic Stress Equals More Belly Fat!?!

Are you an apple or a pear?


I find myself in a weird and unfamiliar predicament. All my life I have been too skinny. Even after having my daughter I dropped the weight pretty quickly. After the holidays and all the food filled parties, I weigh the most I ever have (besides when pregnant) and although I want to gain weight, I don't like where it is showing up. All of it is in my belly and hips, whereas my arms and legs are still sticks! I look very disproportionate. But I guess beggars can't be choosers.

I took a look at my eating habits and lack of exercise and found LOTS of room where I can improve. I also came across this article that explains the difference in body shapes. An apple, vs. a pear (gaining weight in your midsection vs. gaining weight in your thighs and buns):
"We crunch. We Ab Blast. We eschew carbs. Heck, we'll even go under the knife to get rid of ab flab.
Unfortunately, recent research shows that you can crunch until you crumble and diet till you're drained of energy, but if your days are full of stress, the perfect six-pack--or even a flatter midsection--will continue to elude you.
That's because fat in the abdominal area functions differently than fat elsewhere in the body. It has a greater blood supply as well as more receptors for cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortisol levels rise and fall throughout the day, but when you're under constant stress, the amount of the hormone you produce remains elevated. With high stress and, consequently, high cortisol levels, more fat is deposited in the abdominal area since there are more cortisol receptors there.

But ab flab is not the only price you'll pay for chronic stress (the kind created by a marriage that's unraveling, a job you hate, problems with your health--rather than, say, tension caused by a traffic snarl). Chronically high cortisol levels also kill neurons in the brain and interfere with feel-good neurotransmitters--such as dopamine and serotonin--which can lead to depression and feeling more stressed.
More stress = more fat
In short, the whole issue of abdominal fat goes far beyond how you look in a bikini: The fat at your waist--what researchers call central obesity--is associated with higher rates of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and several types of cancer. And while it's true that heredity plays a role in overall body type (that is, whether you are more of an "apple" than a "pear"), says Brenda Davy, Ph.D., R.D., an assistant professor at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, "genetics accounts for only 25-55 percent of the tendency to develop the most serious diseases associated with abdominal fat--the remainder is lifestyle."'
Knowing that the odds are stacked against me, I am taking some steps to get my body in less of an apple shape, and more of an hourglass shape :)

Monthly Challenge Update

I took a break from the monthly challenges in January, mainly because life has been so busy I needed the time to really figure out what was next. Starting February first, I will do another monthly challenge, this time for being more healthy.

Why am I telling you this now? Because in order to have success, a trendy diet isn't going to work. Being healthy is a LIFESTYLE change. And that's what this is all about. Changing our lives and health for the better. Take some time and think about how you can be more healthy and what you are realistically willing to do. If you want to start exercising, than what program will work best for you? Is it a gym membership? Is it a treadmill in your home? Will you start jogging? What kind of changes can you make to your diet?

Some stuff to think about. Oh by the way, there will be a giveaway as well :)


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6 comments:

Senior Life Settlement said...

These are Good for our health...
Thanks for the post...

Meredith said...

Hi Amy! Don't you wish when we put on weight we could just put it on evenly all over instead of those problem spots? ha ha. I am very skinny as well and I feel like when I put it on it goes mostly to my stomach and hips and then it looks funny! : ) I think exercise is very therapeutic for anxiety sufferers. Now if I could only find the time while taking care of a two and four year old! : )

Aimée said...

Hi Meredith,
So true. I just signed up for a gym membership where they have practically free daycare for two hours a day! I am really excited. I figure I can go and work out for an hour and then do some real work for an hour kid free! I know a few gyms are now offering daycare services. Maybe that would help you too? Best of luck!

Dan @ Anxiety Support Network said...

Interesting post - I always enjoy reading more about the mind-body connection! In addition to this, I believe that chronic anxiety and lack of managing it has led to a couple of backaches for me - to the point where I couldn't walk for 2 days! Now that the anxiety is back under control, however, my back has been feeling great! It's very interesting to see how this works in the world! Nice post!

Ferdiyan said...

I have anxiety too you can also try natural herbs to reduced anxiety.nice article

Tom said...

The chronic anxiety must be controlled because it can affect our lives in all aspects whether our working lives as loving.
There are many ways to control one of these forms is the taking of drugs such as hydrocodone.

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