Stress causes the body to trigger the kind of hormonal responses that lead to fat storage in the body and consequent weight gain. Studies have found that women who gain weight because of stress and other lifestyle related issues that cause excess production of cortisol; tend to put on weight in the midsection or abdominal region. This kind of weight gain is more dangerous for health than the fat stored around the hips.

Also since stressed women tend to eat more, there is a clear connection between weight gain and stress. This is the reason that stress management forms a part of a good weight loss program.

When cortisol levels are elevated, it is important to combat these with a number of different tactics. Here are some tips to manage stress to keep off the pounds:

Stress Busting Exercise: Exercise is known to release endorphins, which are nature’s happy hormone which can help to not only fight the fat, but can also combat and lower cortisol levels.

So, exercise is the most effective means of combating the kind of weight gain that results from stress. It can not only help to fight the fat but it can also fight elevated cortisol levels.

Relaxation techniques: Though in a busy stressed life it is difficult to find the time to meditate or to do relaxation therapy, it is worth the effort to try and find time for it, even if you have given up a few minutes of sleep in the morning or you have to do it while driving to work each day.

Learn some meditation techniques or some breathing techniques which will help to center and focus your mind and reduce stress as well.

Healthy Snacks: The next time you are in a stressful situation and feel the urge to reach for a packet of crisps or some calorie laden cookies, stop yourself. Instead reach for a handful of nutritious nuts.

Munch on some delicious carrot sticks or some edamame (made from soy), perhaps some sunflower seeds (non salted variety). Have a refreshing glass of water or chew some gum!

Cook at home: This is something else that is worth making the time for: cooking at home is healthy; you know and control what goes into your and your families’ mouth. Also eating at home is a lot cheaper, so that there is a much less financial stress for you!

Turn off the TV: More and more research is proving the point that TV viewing leads to weight gain. If you want to unwind, go for a bike ride or a walk with your iPod instead!