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Your Chance of Beating Stress And Fat

Your Chance of Beating Stress And Fat

True, a healthy amount of body fat has great powers. It promotes reproductive health, good skin quality and clear thinking. Fat cells also help trigger chemical reactions that control growth, immune function, and other aspects of basic metabolism. But too much body fat (visceral fat around your organs and fat under your skin) does more than make your jeans tight. In addition, it triggers massive inflammation and increases your risk of everything from depression to cancer. And a new study says it sets off a cascade of signals to your noggin that changes how your brain deals with stressful events and metabolism.

In short, excess body fat can interfere with your ability to turn off your stress response, putting you into cortisol-fueled, heart-damaging, immune-system-weakening and memory-decaying, food-craving overdrive. You get sucked into a viscous cycle of overeating, feeling stressed, and then overeating (wrongly) to feel soothed.

The good news, knowing this gives you a powerful way to feel more relaxed -- and lose weight: Get yourself on a Five-Food-Felon-free diet (no trans and little sat fat; no added sugars or syrups, and no grain that isn’t 100% whole); start walking 10,000 steps a day. Then your brain can start helping your body shape up and calm down.

Medically reviewed in September 2019.

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