Women's Guide To Handling Stress: Symptoms And Tips To Fight Fat Gain!

What can you do to relieve stress, build antibodies, and get rid of fat all at the same time without taking hours out of your day to drive to the gym, workout, shower, and get on with your life? Learn more.

Article Summary:
  • When stressed our bodies release cortisol which left unchecked can cause weight gain.
  • Be aware that pills to treat cortisol release could have worse side effects than benefits.
  • There are many options you can take to relieve stress that don't come in a bottle.

  • Women's Guide To Handling Stress:
    Symptoms And Tips To Fight Fat Gain!

    We've all seen those commercials on TV that warn of "stubborn belly fat" brought on by too much stress. The pills being hawked on these programs promise to block the stress hormone, cortisol.

    Ever wonder if there's any truth to what they're saying?

    Can women really get fat from being stressed? If you were to go without eating for an entire day, but were stressed out the entire time, does that mean you'd gain weight?

    Sounds preposterous. But it's true!

    The Truth

      Cortisol is a corticosteroid hormone produced by the adrenal gland in your adrenal cortex. It's your body's modern-day answer to the "fight or flight" responses we had in reaction to stress (back when we were true hunters and gatherers).


      • Increases blood pressure and blood sugar
      • Breaks down lipids and proteins (in case you'd rather 'fight' than 'flight')
      • Acts as a water diuretic hormone (leading to dehydration)
      • Physically eats away at the pleasure centers of the brain (producers of norepinephrine, epinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine)

      So cortisol does exist and is indeed harmful to the body if left unchecked.

    When Do You Feel Stressed?

      Studies have shown that most women are more stressed than they truly know. In today's modern economy, where women are becoming more likely to branch out on their own and start their own businesses, female entrepreneurs are often faced with multiple stress levels:

      Child care, household finances, peace of mind, shared financial obligations with the spouse, and other such obstacles are creating more stress for women who own businesses.

      Some Symptoms Of Stress Include:

      • Trouble sleeping
      • Headaches
      • Constipation
      • Diarrhea
      • Irritability
      • Lack of energy
      • Lack of concentration
      • Eating too much or not at all
      • Anger
      • Sadness
      • Higher risk of asthma and arthritis flare-ups
      • Tension
      • Stomach cramping
      • Stomach bloating
      • Skin problems, like hives
      • Depression
      • Anxiety
      • Weight gain or loss
      • Heart problems
      • High blood pressure
      • Irritable bowel syndrome
      • Diabetes
      • Neck and/or back pain
      • Less sexual desire
      • Harder to get pregnant

    More And More Women Today Are Learning About The Stress Of Owning Your Own Business.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    More And More Women Today Are Learning About
    The Stress Of Owning Your Own Business.

    Before You Buy A Magic Pill

      Don't place your order with the number on the bottom of your screen just yet... there's a catch (isn't there always?) Most of these pills rely on dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a natural steroid hormone with calming affects on the central nervous system.

      Possible Side Effects Of DHEA:

      According to the Mayo Clinic's website (mayoclinic.com), possible side effects include, but are not limited to:

      • Nausea
      • Abdominal discomfort
      • Fatigue
      • Nasal congestion
      • Headache
      • Acne
      • Rapid/Irregular heartbeats

    What If Any Of The Side Effects Of DHEA Have You Experienced?

    Abdominal Discomfort.
    Nasal Congestion.
    Rapid/Irregular Heartbeat.
    2 Or Three Of The Above.
    Most Or All Of The Above.
    None Of The Above.

    But Wait, There's More!

      Straight from Mayoclinic.com: "In women, the most common side effects are abnormal menses, emotional changes, headache, and insomnia. Individuals with a history of abnormal heart rhythms, blood clots or hypercoagulability, and those with a history of liver disease should avoid DHEA supplements.

      Because DHEA is a hormone related to other male and female hormones, there may be side effects related to its hormonal activities. For example, masculinization may occur in women, including acne, greasy skin, facial hair, hair loss, increased sweating, weight gain around the waist, or a deeper voice.

      Other hormonal-related side effects may include increased blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, altered cholesterol levels, altered thyroid hormone levels, and altered adrenal function.

      Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hyperglycemia, high cholesterol, thyroid disorders, or other endocrine (hormonal) abnormalities. Serum glucose, cholesterol and thyroid levels may need to be monitored by a healthcare professional, and medication adjustments may be necessary.

      In theory, DHEA may increase the risk of developing prostate, breast, or ovarian cancer. DHEA may contribute to tamoxifen resistance in breast cancer. Other side effects may include insomnia, agitation, delusions, mania, nervousness, irritability, or psychosis.

      High DHEA levels have been correlated with Cushing's syndrome, which may be caused by excessive supplementation." (Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dhea/NS_patient-dhea, Copyright 2008)

      In easy to understand terms... that's turning women into men! And since when is cancer a good trade-off for losing weight?

    What Is Cushing's Syndrome?
    Cushing's syndrome (also called hyperadrenocorticism or hypercorticism) is a hormone disorder caused by high levels of cortisol in the blood. This can be caused by taking glucocorticoid drugs, or by tumors that produce cortisol or adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). Cushing's disease refers to one specific cause, a tumor (adenoma) in the pituitary gland that produces large amounts of ACTH, which in turn elevates cortisol. It can usually be cured by surgery. It was described by Harvey Cushing in 1932.

    Symptoms include but are not limited to rapid weight gain, particularly of the trunk and face with sparing of the limbs (central obesity). A common sign is the growth of fat pads along the collar bone and on the back of the neck (buffalo hump) and a round face often referred to as a "moon face". Other symptoms include hyperhidrosis (excess sweating), telangiectasia (dilation of capillaries), thinning of the skin (which causes easy bruising and dryness, particularly the hands) and other mucous membranes, purple or red striae (the weight gain in Cushing's syndrome stretches the skin, which is thin and weakened, causing it to hemorrhage) on the trunk, buttocks, arms, legs or breasts, proximal muscle weakness (hips, shoulders), and hirsutism (facial male-pattern hair growth), baldness and/or cause hair to become extremely dry and brittle.

    What Does It All Mean?

      Numero Uno - There's no 'magic pill' that will get rid of the stress and block cortisol (without killing you in the process). So what can you do to relieve stress, build antibodies, and get rid of fat all at the same time without taking hours out of your day to drive to the gym, workout, shower, and get on with your life?

    The Women's Guide To Handling Stress

      Step 1: Stretch

        There's nothing like a good, fifteen minute total-body workout that focuses on muscle toning and deep breathing to relinquish stress and help you lose weight - I'm talking about yoga! And let's face it, you've never seen a woman look like a muscle-y linebacker when she's finished with her yoga session, have you? Who wants to risk even more with hidden dietary nightmares in a pill?

    You've Never Seen A Woman Look Like A Linebacker When She's Finished With Her Yoga Session.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    You've Never Seen A Woman Look Like A Linebacker
    When She's Finished With Her Yoga Session.

      Step 2: Make Time For Yourself

        As women, we tend to "tend and befriend", to focus on the needs of everyone else around us rather than our immediate issues. We feel "mommy guilt" for taking time to grow a business rather than put a band-aid on a booboo.

        In the evenings, I schedule bath time for myself. Bubbles, a good book (I recommend Healthy Selfishness by Drs. Rachael and Richard Heller), and I'm in heaven! Other "you time" can include scrapbooking, working on cars, sewing, candlemaking, or anything that will allow you an escape. Heck, even a good movie will work!

    Make Time For Yourself. Do Anything That Will Allow You To Escape.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    Make Time For Yourself. Do Anything
    That Will Allow You To Escape.

      Step 3: Take Care Of Yourself

        You can't very well be of any use to others if you don't take care of you! Getting proper nutrition, sleep, and exercising regularly (or at least, when you can) will make all the difference in the world in your energy levels, overall health, and even mental acuity!

      Step 4: Talk To Your Friends

        Often times, the women you surround yourself with (the like-minded ones) can be so therapeutic. Coffee and my best girlfriend are a recipe for laughter, de-stressing, and make for one relaxing morning.

        And finally...

      Step 5: Don't Be Afraid To Be Emotional!

        Picking your battles can be the fastest route to a stress-free environment. Most female entrepreneurs (myself included) find that when something doesn't go our way, we rely more on our emotions than we should.

        But that's what's so great about being a woman! Sometimes, a good cry is all it takes to get rid of whatever I'm trying to hold back. Then I can wipe away the tears and get back to my day. Sometimes, I just wanna yell. I do, feel better, and get back to what I'm doing.

    Sometimes The Best Way To Get Rid Of Stress Is To Just Let It Out.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    Sometimes The Best Way To Get Rid
    Of Stress Is To Just Let It Out.


    Whatever you do to eliminate stress in your life, do so with the knowledge that you're not only contributing to your overall health, but you might actually be losing weight in the process!

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    About The Author:

    Rachel D. Young is a certified Fitness Trainer and Editor-in-chief of Beautiful Curves, a monthly newsletter full of recipes, exercise, and motivational materials centered around how women can easily become healthy and beautiful, naturally and quickly. Learn more about her at http://www.whatifyouwerethin.com/.

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    18 Ratings



    Showing 1 - 4 of 4 Comments

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    • rep this user

    I know i have Stress in my life

    Article Rated:
    Apr 23, 2012 8:53pm | report
    • rep this user

    I like :)

    May 12, 2013 5:51pm | report
    • rep this user

    Love this article thank you for being honest about supplements and how dangerous they can be.

    Jun 24, 2013 3:42am | report
    • rep this user

    I definitley need to stretch more and make time for myself!

    Article Rated:
    Dec 20, 2013 12:55am | report
    Showing 1 - 4 of 4 Comments

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