We can all pretty much agree that extra body fat stinks...right? It hides your abs from the world, makes your favorite clothes not fit, and increases your risk of heart disease and cancer. But did you know that you know that it can impair how your body responds to stress?
Here's how. Increased levels of visceral fat (i.e. not the stomach fat you can pinch, the fat sitting around your organs) lead to increased level of cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that have been shown to decrease mental performance.
I just came across a pretty cool study that looked at body fat and its effect on one's ability to handle emotional stress...the results were not good if you have extra belly fat as the researchers found that the people whom had the lowest body fat percentage had the greatest ability to rebound from bouts of emotional stress (in the study they used sky diving).
So the connection is more belly fat leads to more cortisol which leads to decreased brain power and ability to cope with emotional stressors.
I'm sure that some of you may question whether body fat is the cause or not but I don't think that whether or not body fat is the cause really matters.
The people with lower body fat percentages are probably more active and athletic thus their bodies were accustomed to dealing with stressors or they may have better nutrition which could also help them cope better with stress. Better nutrition and more exercise are important factors that allow them to have lower body fat levels and deal with stress better.
The key point is that you need to get rid of the extra body fat hanging off your body as it is literally stressing you out. Many people's lives today are high pressure and always on the move. We need to be able to function at the top of our game at all times. When things are stressful you want to know that you are going to be able to function at your best.
To be at your best under stress (and not under stress for that matter) you can't have extra body fat slowing your down and metabolically contaminating your success by decreasing your body's ability to cope and respond to daily stressors.
Lose the weight and you will feel and perform better. Aside from the scientific evidence that shows extra body fat decreases our ability to properly respond to stress, think about it for a minute. When you are lean, don't you feel better about yourself? Don't you have more energy? I'm guessing that you answer yes to both of those questions right?
How to you lose weight? The fastest way to do this is metabolic resistance training and a solid fat loss diet rich in protein, fibrous vegetables, fish oil, and a variety of different fats (olive oil, butter, walnuts, flax, coconut oil, etc). Combine these two, lose the weight, and you'll brush stress off your shoulders - no problem.
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