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BellaOnline's Stress Management Editor

Stress Can Make You Fat

People who are already battling the bulge seem to really pack on the pounds when they experience stress. Jason Block, MD, whose Harvard research was published in The American Journal of Epidemiology, implicates stress as a trigger for weight gain. Apparently the stress response is gender specific. Men get stressed over workplace hierarchy, difficulty paying the bills, the inability to learn new skills along with workplace demands. However, women have broader categories when they experience stress; they are hit hard by strained relationships and feeling limited by life’s circumstances according to Dr. Block. In fact, I have observed in my own work with stress management clients that most women feel stress more intensely than men and seem to get trapped in a negative worry loop, unable to let go.

For years the research has been out there in disparate studies which lacked the cohesiveness of a big picture: stress creates an inflammatory response for both mind and body. This means you are out of balance not sleeping or exercising enough and eating mindlessly to self-soothe – particularly junk food. In fact, cortisol, one of the stress hormones, is claimed to build fat around the abdomen making you more prone to metabolic syndrome which can lead to heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other ailments. Even worse, stress is contagious. What does this mean for your marriage?

However, don’t get stressed by these findings. Awareness can help you identify the pattern to minimize your stress and maximize your health, happiness and relationship. Stress is a cumulative process. While you might not be able to deal with the big stressors in your life just yet, you can certainly cope with the small stressors. Each stressor that you deal with it raises your stress threshold for the next and signals personal empowerment. You need to have empowerment to lose weight – to know that you can do it with balanced eating and exercise. This mindset helps you go the distance.

I always say, “Metabolize your past by letting it go and you will lose weight.” Anger blows things up out of proportion and you want to avoid anger in all cases, so your waistline doesn’t blow up. This is why forgiveness becomes a necessary ingredient in feeling and looking lighter. By compassionately reinterpreting the resentment you can move past it - instead of fueling it which revs up your stress hormones.

To experience serenity you do not need to live by the sea or in a country cottage, far away from stores, technology and your ambitions. On the contrary when you are serene, you are more productive, creative and flexible. You achieve because you know how to return to your internal reference point. Like ocean waves, you venture out into the world with all its unpredictable, ambiguous and destabilizing situations and then return to your internal, peaceful shore.

The great news is that you can alter your serenity set point. Here’s how to shed stress and the excess weight.
Now that you know the specific stressors of Venus and Mars, it will be easier to create a safe haven in your home. You will be able to choose the right words by giving some thought to how they will be received.

For more information on managing your stress and reclaiming your life read my book, Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life. To listen to archived radio shows with guest experts visit Turn On Your Inner Light Radio Show

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Content copyright © 2013 by Debbie Mandel. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Debbie Mandel. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Debbie Mandel for details.

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