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Stress and Fat Storage

There are many reasons your body stores fat. One, out of the many reasons, is that you are stressed or deal with chronic stress.

How does the body do this? I will share some information that I found interesting from a book that I am reading.

                “To fuel the anticipated activity of the muscles and the brain, epinephrine immediately begins converting glycogen and fatty acids into glucose. Traveling through the bloodstream, cortisol works more slowly than epinephrine, but its effects are incredibly widespread. Cortisol wears a number of different hats during the stress response, one of which is that of traffic cop for metabolism. Cortisol takes over for epinephrine and signals the liver to make more glucose available in the bloodstream, while at the same time blocking insulin receptors at nonessential tissues and organs and shutting down certain intersections so the fuel flows only to areas important to fight-or-flight. The Strategy is to make the body insulin-resistant so the brain has enough glucose. Cortisol also begins restocking the shelves, so to speak, replenishing energy stores depleted by the action of epinephrine. It converts protein into glycogen and begins the process of storing fat. If this process continues unabated, as in chronic stress, the action of cortisol amasses a surplus fuel supply around the abdomen in the form of belly fat. (Unrelenting cortisol also explains why some marathon runners carry a slight paunch despite all their training—their bodies never get a chance to adequately recover.) The problem with our inherited stress response is that it mobilizes energy stores that don’t get used.”

I feel that gives a good, basic understanding. There are some unfamiliar words in that paragraph and reading comprehension is improved when you know what the heck some of those words mean.

Here are some of the terms used:  

Epinephrine:  is adrenaline, a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands

Glucose: one form of sugar found in food and is also the type of sugar circulating in the bloodstream

Glycogen: the stored form of glucose, found in liver and muscles

Cortisol: the stress response hormone secreted from the adrenal glands to help the body recover from an acute fight-or-flight stress response. It is secreted in response to low blood sugar, physical or psychosocial stress, intense and prolonged exercise, and sleep deprivation.  

Insulin: an anabolic (building/storing) hormone secreted by the beta cells of the pancreas in response to ingestion of energy, most notably from carbohydrate.

Insulin resistant: your cells become resistant to the hormone insulin. When someone is insulin resistant, the pancreas needs to secrete ever increasing amounts of insulin to pull glucose from the bloodstream.


Feel free to go back and re-read the paragraph.               

Stress can certainly do a number on your health. Be sure to stay on top of your well-being by being aware of what stress is, what it can do to you, and even asking yourself…”Am I Stressed?”.

Find ways to relieve your stress.  

Some ways might include:


-Better sleep

-Breathing better

-Breathing exercises


-Better nutrition


I hope you got something out of that. I sure did. I think it helps to know what is going on in your body at a ‘scientifical’ level to understand the importance of certain issues you may have.


Take care!


Books I got information from:

Spark –The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John J. Ratey, MD

It Starts With Food by Dallas Hartwig & Melissa Hartwig


Grimstrong © 2020

Eric Grimsley
Sienna Plantation, TX

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