When we encounter something stressful, our nervous system and adrenal glands send signals to the rest of the body to help us think more clearly and be ready for a physical response - should it be required. This is a basic instinct that we have evolved to help us cope with potentially dangerous situations and is known as the "fight or flight" response.
However in modern life we can become stressed for many reasons other than impending danger and yet our bodies' reaction is the same. With their pre-determined instincts, our bodies' still prepare our minds in this instinctive way and give less priority to other, less urgent, functions. Digestion is one such function that is given a lower priority during stressful situations, this is not good as poor digestion can make us feel unwell and this in turn can be a source of stress.
Chronic (long term) stress has been linked to the tendency of the body to store fat around the middle (stomach)./p>
Poor stress-management, for some people, is perhaps the most significant barrier to weight loss.
Being aware of how your body works and deals with stress can help you to manage stress and stressful situations. After a stressful period the human body can go into a 'recovery mode' where increased appetite and food cravings become more prevalent. At the same time metabolic rates drop to conserve energy. Being aware of these patterns can help you manage your stress levels and through nutrition and diet you can help your body recover from stressful periods more rapidly and minimize negative effects such as weight gain.