I have a stressful schedule as a physician. and managing this stress is something I worked on during my weight loss journey. A recent Wall Street Journal article discusses the link between stress and obesity, basically stating that the more stressed you are, the more likely you are to be obese. This is attributed to the effects of stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Cortisol in particular,
stimulates a brain chemical called neuropeptide Y, which boosts carbohydrate cravings. It also makes the body churn out excess insulin and accumulate fat, particularly in the belly where it raises the risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and other diseases. People who feel chronically stressed often use food for energy and comfort and rationalize that they’ve earned it.
Exercise and increased physical activity help to relieve stress. Not only does exercise help relieve stress and encourage weight loss (the more weight I had lost, the less stressed I became which encouraged me to keep going), it also helps to eliminate a lot of the negatives associated with obesity, like sleep apnea.