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Is stress making you fat?

This article is supplied by James Jensen, owner of GNC Townsville.

Understanding stress and how it affects your body could be the key to unlocking a better, trimmer version of you.

Whether we realise it or not, stress is a common theme amongst all of us. It may not be so surprising, but stress can actually make some of us fatter, and even prevent our best efforts of diet and exercise in reaching our ultimate goals.

Without getting too sciencey, it’s important to understand that when we’re stressed our bodies produce a hormone called cortisol.

It’s normal for our bodies to fire extra cortisol when we’re placed in stressful situations, like being chased by a lion – it’s all a part of our in-built survival mechanisms. As soon as the danger passes, the hormones go back to normal. Unfortunately, for many of us with our high-stress lifestyles worrying about money, racing here and there, stressful jobs, sick loved ones, misbehaving children or relationship problems; our cortisol level is continually elevated. Here is where the problem lies.

“Most people don’t realise that continual worry and stress can not only harm our sanity, but also our waistlines”

The reason this creates an issue is that while cortisol is essential for survival, and certainly helpful when we’re being chased by lions, if continually elevated it can lead to fat storage, inhibit muscle growth and, in some cases, even lead to adrenal exhaustion.

So a little stress here and there is normal and usually harmless, however most people don’t realise that continual worry and stress can not only harm our sanity, but also our waistlines.

Signs that stress is affecting your body include:

  1. You’re gaining weight even when you’re eating right and exercising – especially around the mid-section
  2. Sleeplessness, or still feeling exhausted despite sleeping well
  3. Your mood and/or sex drive is poor
  4. You get sick easily
  5. You crave sugary or unhealthy foods.

Getting rid of the stressors is ideal, however, is easier said than done.

With a personalised regime of herbs and vitamins we can alter the way our bodies cope with stress and cortisol – making for a healthier mind and body. This approach is often more strategic and effective than traditional ‘fat burner’/’weight loss’ supplements, plus it’s easy and makes sense.

Please note: The information provided is general in nature and should not substitute any health or medical advice. Please consult a qualified professional to assist with any specific conditions or queries. You know the drill ;)

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James Jensen

James Jensen

As a pharmacist, James is gobsmacked by how Townsville is seemingly is undergoing a health boom, yet the rates of obesity and related illnesses still continue to climb. His discussions with patients led him to discover that people didn't understand their health and they were increasingly confused by the fad diets and cures pedalled on social media. It was this confusion that led him to opening GNC Townsville at the Willows Shopping Centre. From here, James and his team give scientific advice and help people with their health goals. "Very rarely do pharmaceutical or Western therapies cross paths with the more 'natural' approach, which places me in a unique position to be able to bridge that divide and help people 'both sides of the fence'," says James.

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