Is Stress Making You Fat?

Is Stress Making You Fat?
September 29, 2016 1 Comment Stress Management Anna Kirkpatrick
“I’m too fat!”  How many times have you or your friends said this in the past year?  Let’s face it.  Having babies, being stressed at work and the body images of svelte models with those you-are-not-OK advertising messages don’t help.

What if I were to tell you that regular massage helps you LOSE weight?  Well it can.  Here’s why.

Stress in the United States has reached heart stopping levels.  In a recent study, it was discovered that 68 percent of US citizens have trouble sleeping at night because of stress. For some it is a night-after-night occurrence. For some, three to four nights of sleep in a month are destroyed by worry that results in hashing things out in the middle of the night and then feeling bummed and bloated the next day. Can you guess what night of the week most people have the most difficulty sleeping? If you guessed Sunday, you are correct.  Going to work on Monday mornings after a couple of days off is one of the most stressful for many working adults.

This causes hormone spikes, which makes you hungrier during the day – especially for salt and sugar, which increases your body’s inflammation response.  Think water gain.  Think about those body twinges including migraine headaches a day or two after you have binged on an entire bag of vanilla filled chocolate cookies.  Sure it’s fun to unscrew them, scrape out the filling with your teeth and pop the yummy chocolate cookies in your mouth with no conscious thought of the next one as the pile of cookies in front of you grows.  I know. I’ve been there.   

What curbs the adverse hormone response and makes you sleep better at night is regular relaxation massage. The operative terms are relaxation and regular since your body is responding to worry and fear when it pumps out too much of one body tearing down (catabolic) hormone — cortisol.

 How Massage Works To Curb Stress and Body Fat
Medical research on weight gain finds that when people are stressed, their entire metabolism shifts by pumping cortisol into the blood stream causing people to be more hungry starting a spiral of weight gain.  There is also the added insult of creating conditions of insulin resistance, which makes building muscle more difficult to do.  According to the research the hormone changes caused by stress have also linked weight gain to different forms of cancer.  So this is serious.

 Sleep is important to the stress recovery process. Massage therapy promotes better sleep patterns  and also releases endorphins that neutralize cortisol in your system. 

From a sports massage standpoint, massage can actually improve the quantity and quality of sleep. By getting more and deeper sleep, the athlete is able to perform at his or her best. The lifter who goes to bed in a stressed out  state will have difficulty getting to sleep and may often wake during the night or wake too early. All of this compromises muscle recovery because cortisol makes muscles more difficult to build. Massage will reduce some of that tension and promote deeper and longer sleep.

 Effective stress management is NEVER a one-time event.  It requires intention and follow-through and there is nothing better than a relaxing massage to shed stress and short circuit the resulting weight gain.
 If  you are losing sleep due to stress, are experiencing weight gain because you are hungrier during the day after not getting enough sleep and then work out hard to make up for it, consider getting a weekly massage.
Copyright (C) Head to Heal Therapy, LLC


About Head to Heal Therapy
Head to Heal Therapy is a Bend, Oregon massage and bodywork practice offering therapeutic massage and body treatments designed to heal, relax and rejuvenate you from head to heal. Call 541-388-1969 to schedule an appointment today.


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  1. 1


    This is a great tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere.

    Simple but very accurate info… Thanks for sharing this one.
    A must read article!


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