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How stress affects belly fat and how you can manage it

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  • More than 50% of the population had excess belly fat over the past decade.
  • It can be caused by hormones, lack of physical activity or a poor diet.
  • Find out how stress affects visceral fat.

Find out how stress affects belly fat! When it comes to being overweight, the data is alarming… In the last decade alone, studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than 50% of the US population, including children, had excess belly fat.

The accumulation of abdominal or visceral fat can occur due to different factors, but perhaps among the most common are hormonal imbalances, poor nutrition and lack of physical activity, which can all be exacerbated by stress. Continue reading to find out more!

Elevated cortisol: How does stress affect belly fat?

How stress influences abdominal fat: Cortisol

There are many ways to tell how stress influences abdominal fat and one of them is hormonal imbalance, especially when there are elevated levels of cortisol, known as ‘the stress hormone’. This affects various functions of the body, and one of them is the way in which your body metabolizes fats, proteins and carbohydrates.

The direct influence that cortisol has on metabolism explains why a good portion of the adult population suffers from excess visceral fat, a characteristic that contributes to diseases such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension and fatty liver.

Lack of sleep

Lack of sleep

How does stress influence belly fat? Chronic stress causes a number of issues such as sleep disturbances. You may not know it, but when you’re very stressed and can’t sleep, your hormones can get out of balance, leading to fat gain and muscle loss.

A study in Scientific American found that people who sleep around five hours a day are more likely have a higher percentage of body fat, even when they eat a balanced diet and do moderate physical activity.

Emotional eating

How Stress Affects Abdominal Fat: Emotional Eating

This is how stress influences belly fat! Many people find themselves gaining weight after weeks or months of stress. This could be due to emotional eating that leads to excessive calorie consumption.

Elevated cortisol levels affect both a person’s mood and appetite. For some, stress can lower your motivation, leading to overeating and not exercising. In the long run, this leads to more belly fat.

How does stress affect belly fat?: Fatigue


Lack of sleep, hormonal imbalance and lack of physical activity are also a consequence of stress and emotional exhaustion that could be the result of situations like the death of a loved one, a heavy workload, childcare issues, or financial problems. All this leads to other symptoms such as extreme tiredness and lack of motivation to perform physical activities such as exercise.

Even mild fatigue can make people less likely to exercise or burn enough calories to maintain a healthy weight. Thus, fatigue can lead to an increase in abdominal fat. If you have any of these symptoms, do not hesitate to consult your doctor to find an appropriate treatment for your needs.

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