Stress triggers the release of cortisol, often referred to as the "stress hormone." Elevated cortisol levels can lead to increased appetite, particularly for high-calorie and sugary foods.
Many people resort to emotional eating as a way to cope with stress. Comfort foods, often high in sugar and unhealthy fats, may be consumed in larger quantities during stressful periods.
Chronic stress is associated with the accumulation of abdominal fat. This visceral fat is metabolically active and has been linked to an increased risk of various health issues, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Stress can disrupt regular eating patterns, leading to irregular meals, skipped meals, or excessive snacking. These changes in eating behavior can contribute to weight gain.
Stress can interfere with sleep patterns, leading to insomnia or poor-quality sleep. Lack of adequate sleep has been associated with weight gain and an increased risk of obesity.
Stress may lead to fatigue and a lack of motivation, resulting in decreased physical activity. A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to weight gain and other health issues.