|Let me ask you a question. Does your mood ever affect what you eat? Or do you ever use food to boost your mood? Most women out there are probably nodding frantically, ‘Oooh, yes, absolutely.’ And let’s face it, who hasn’t been known to grab an eclair/chocolate bar/ice-cream sundae in order to brighten up a bad or troublesome day?
The truth is stress can contribute to cellulite on two levels. Firstly, being in a state of stress may actually make you fat. This might seem strange to you: how can this be so, given that many people actually find it hard to eat when they’re under short periods of stress, and often end up losing weight?
Sure, that happens. But long-term stress can make you fat because it often increases the appetite for carbohydrate-rich ‘comfort’ foods.
It’s a hormone thing. Experts have found that the adrenal hormone cortisol, which is released when you are stressed, can increase fat storage in the abdominal area (where many of us get cellulite). That’s because the deep fat in the abdomen contains receptors that the cortisol prefers.
Cortisol basically boosts your appetite, making you want to eat vast quantities, and making you fancy sweets and carbohydrate-rich foods too. These cause insulin levels to spike and then plummet, which may leave you feeling hungrier than ever – and eating again.
And stress can also compromise your overall nutrition because it makes the food pass more quickly through your digestive system, which means less of it is actually absorbed.
Secondly, stress also has an aging effect on your skin. Stress causes hormonal changes in your body, which affect the function of cells in your vital organs. These changes are then reflected in your skin.
The key, then, is to seize control of your stress levels before they end up on your tummy, bum and thighs.