Once your body reaches a certain stress level, it starts to produce a hormone, cortisol (“the stress hormone”), that can cause you to overeat. Why?
“Because your body thinks you’ve used calories to deal with your stress, even though you haven’t”, says Pamela Peeke, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland. “As a result, it thinks you need to replenish those calories, even though you don’t.”
Elevated cortisol levels, triggered by stress, causes problems with sleep, weight gain, appetite, and fatigue. In fact, fat cells in the belly have four times more cortisol receptors compared to fat cells elsewhere, so when your stressed losing weight, especially around the midsection, is more difficult.