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Hectic work schedules, family responsibilities, money or relationship issues, mind non- stop thinking, little sleep and the list continues… But did you know that consistent high stress levels make you gain fat?

Not any type of fat, the worst one: visceral fat which is your belly fat.

Chronic stress related to work was linked to increased central fat stores (belly fat) in subjects over a 19-year period.

Even if you’re eating healthy and exercising to lose weight, high stress levels can slow down your weight loss progress.

When you’re under physical or emotional stress, your body releases cortisol, your stress hormone.

Cortisol is not bad for you, your body needs cortisol to regulate your glucose metabolism, immune response and blood pressure; but above normal cortisol levels are problematic. When your body releases cortisol, the production of one of the hormones for building muscles, testosterone, drops resulting in a reduced muscle mass on the long term.

This slows down your metabolism and makes you burn less calories and therefore gain weight even if you’re having the same diet and workout routine.

Also, cortisol plays a role in mobilizing fat from your storage depots and relocating it to your fat cells in your abdomen.

On other words, moving fat from your periphery to your belly!

So high cortisol levels trigger excess fat storage.

The good news is that there are many ways to avoid high cortisol levels to beat stress related belly fat.

Here are the most effective ones: Many people tend to drink a lot of coffee when stressed, especially those stressed because of work. So if you’re stressed, you body is releasing cortisol and if you drink a lot of coffee on top of that, then your cortisol levels are above the roof.