When you experience danger, it starts a hormone cascade that moves from your brain to your adrenal glands, like a bunch of dominos falling: each one pushing the other to create a chain.
First, a part of the brain called the hypothalamus gets your nervous system ready. It also releases a hormone to trigger the next hormone in the cascade - this is the first domino drop.
Second, the pituitary gland (also in the brain) gets that hormone; it releases a different hormone to trigger the next hormone in the cascade (the second domino to fall).
The name for this connection between the brain’s hormones and adrenal hormones is called the hypothalamic-pituitary-axis, and there is more and more research that shows a link between improper functioning of the HPA AXIS, insulin resistance, and abdominal obesity. And, you want to minimize insulin resistance and abdominal obesity, right?
Cortisol is another stress hormone that affects many things in our bodies including digestion and gut health, inflammation, hunger hormones, insulin release and sensitivity, mood, and sleep. All of these can also affect your client's weight.
Also when you’re stressed, do you reach for a salad? Or do you prefer fatty or sugary snacks? Many stressed people tend to eat more food, particularly comfort food - things that tend to be fatty and sugary. Scientists are now looking at interactions between stress hormones and the ‘hunger’ and ‘fullness’ hormones.
Stress also increases your blood sugar, to make sure that your muscles have the fuel they need to ‘fight.’ If your muscles don’t use up that excess blood sugar (i.e. you are not running for your life), your body secretes insulin to re-absorb that sugar into your cells. This increase in both cortisol and insulin promotes resistance and fat storage, especially around the middle.