When you think of stress, you wouldn’t normally associate it with the formation of cellulite, however there may be more of a correlation that you think. We know that stress effects many different parts of the body including your brain and your heart, but new evidence suggest that stress may also effect your cellulite problem areas. Though the idea of this happening may seem a bit out of the ordinary, many aspects of it actually make quite a bit of sense.
The first effect that prolonged stress can have is a change in your hormones. When stressed for an extended period of time, your body starts to secrete cortisol. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone and is produced by the adrenal glands. In and of itself, cortisol is not a negative thing to have your body produce, however, much like many other things, in excess it can be detrimental.
Cortisol is realized after the amygdala and hypothalamus (both parts of the brain) start to recognize a threat. Once this occurs, the hypothalamus releases a chemical named corticotropin-releasing hormone, otherwise known as CRH. This chemical then instructs the pituitary gland to release adrenocorticotropic hormone, ACTH. When this process is complete, the adrenal gland begins to produce and subsequently release cortisol.
Cortisol in moderation is a very positive thing as it allows your body to negate the effects of stress. It regulates the different parts of your body that are not in use as well as helps to maintain your blood pressure. However, when too much cortisol is being realeased, the solutions start to become more problems and these problems are key contributors to the formation of cellulite.
You always hear about people who have stress problems and their doctor tells them that they need to relax because they are damaging their body. The reason this is occurring is because of the problems associated with persistent release of cortisol. Not only can this issue cause high blood pressure, a weakened immune system and acne, but it also promotes insulin spikes, increased water retention and increased storage of excess fat.
Insulin is a hormone that helps to process sugars. You have more than likely heard of diabetics using insulin shots to help to regulate their blood sugar levels and that is exactly what insulin does in a non-diabetics body as well, only automatically. More specifically insulin helps to process the sugar from carbohydrates. This is the reason why it is important to eat healthy carbohydrates, as it is much simpler for you body to process and synthesize them. If you begin to be affected by stress, your insulin levels start to spike.
Insulin spikes cause the other two negative side effects of cortisol that I mentioned above, increased water retention and increased storage of fat. As your body begins to collect and store more water in its cells, the cells begin to become full. This full appearance of the cells may seem minor at first, but when you take into account the amount of cells in your body, the effect is mammoth. Cells that are full and pushing outward can cause the appearance of cellulite that you are trying to avoid. This is made worse by the fact that insulin causes the increased storage of fat. As insulin takes the sugar from carbohydrates, your body uses this energy. However, left over energy that is not used is sent to be stored immediately as fat. The more full cells are, especially when they are filled with water and fat, the more that they begin to push outward against the skin. This, of course, results in the indentured skin we know as cellulite.
These two side effects of insulin spikes can cause cellulite to appear. The solution is to try to decrease your stress levels as that’s where everything started. As if stress wasn’t bad enough, you don’t want to have to deal with cellulite on top of that so why not try to kill two birds and take down your stress levels, but also your cellulite as well! Relieving stress is one of those things that can often be much easier said than done. In fact, I am one of those people who commonly dwell on things and let myself get stressed to points that I should never allow. However, there are techniques, plans and tips to help reduce the amount of stress a person has. Here are a few of those:
Relaxation Techniques – One of the best things that a person can do to relieve stress is to practice their breathing. These can have a very calming effect on the body as they help return a potentially high heart rate caused by stress to a more normal baseline. If you are interested in relaxation techniques, you can look into meditation, breathing practices or listening to music. There are many other options out there; you just need to find the option that you feel helps to return you to a calm place.
Exercise – You may have heard of the phenomenon called “runner’s high” which regards how the body releases chemicals to the brain which help people feel an elated feeling from exercise. What you may not have known is that regardless of the exercise you may be participating it, all forms of exercise are conducive to a release of feel good chemicals in the brain. Simple movement such as walking can be the trigger you need to help release stress .
Adapt to What Stresses You Out – Sometimes stress can be avoided and sometimes it can’t be. It is important to take a seriously look at what it is that causes you stress and evaluate how serious of an issue it really is. Many times we get stressed out over things that can be avoided (i.e. that annoying coworker or that discussion you overhear about politics). Maybe you stress about a laundry list of things you have to do. It is imperative to keep things in perspective that way you can use your time and effort to focus on the things that really are important to you.
Stress can be a difficult thing to overcome. Many times it feels as though some people were just created wound a little bit (or a lot!) tighter than others. However, you can take steps to lower your stress levels. Not only will this help reduce your risk of cellulite appearing but it also just might raise your quality of life too!