When we get stressed, our body produces more adrenaline and cortisol, which are both linked to the “fight or flight” response.
The origins of this mechanism make perfect sense.
Again, we need to look back to our evolution. If you suddenly became aware of the presence of a predator, you were more likely to survive if you could get energy to your muscles quickly, so that you could either run away, or if necessary, fight.
The “fight or flight” response gives you a rush, and you’re primed for action in an instant. But what’s happened within? Adrenaline release causes stored glycogen in the muscles and liver to be mobilised very quickly, so your blood sugar levels rise rapidly without having to eat anything and then wait.
As you can imagine, this was pretty useful to your ancient ancestor when s/he spotted a lion coming over the hill…
But these hormones also make your muscles more insulin resistant and block insulin getting into cells. This results in a downward spiral of negative emotions, which can make you eat more to try to feel better.
So hopefully we can see that getting stressed just adds to the problem.
Your blood sugar levels go up, and more insulin is released. If you’re not an active person, you know what effect that insulin is going to have. Yes, we’re in fat storage territory once again.
Sleep deprivation also has an effect on insulin resistance. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation increases the amount of blood sugar (released from the liver) and also inhibits the clearance of glucose into muscle cells.