Believe it or not, an excess of cortisol - a hormone released during periods of prolonged stress - can alter your blood sugar levels and slow your metabolism, causing more weight gain than you would normally experience. This is not only aesthetically undesirable but is also linked to various health risks (such as hypertension and type-2 diabetes).
You can help prevent the damage caused by chronic stress with regular practice of relaxation techniques. These can trigger a physiological relaxation response and help stop the cascade of negative changes that occur when you’re stressed. Rhythmic exercise such as running, cycling and walking may help to moderate your stress levels and in turn help reduce the numbers on the scales.
If your busy lifestyle means you often opt for processed or convenience foods over homemade cooking, try setting yourself a new goal to gradually improve your food intake each week. You could start by having a fresh salad with your dinner each night, buying nourishing soups rather than pre-packed sandwiches for your lunch or making an effort to always cook one meal from scratch over the weekend. You'll both look and feel better for it.