You’re stressed, and it’s beginning to show -- in more ways than one. Most of us become overeaters when we're feeling a lot of pressure. You’ve noticed a bulge around your mid-section that wasn’t there before. This happens thanks to your fight-or-flight response, a.k.a. Because your body thinks you’ve used calories to deal with your stress, even though you haven’t, says Pamela Peeke, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland. While it can make you have less of an appetite at first, long-term "chronic" stress actually boosts your hunger. survival mode -- once your body reaches a certain stress level, it does what it feels it needs to. As a result, it thinks you need to replenish those calories, even though you don’t. Levels of "the stress hormone," cortisol, rise during tension-filled times. Because increased levels of the hormone also help cause higher insulin levels, your blood sugar drops and you crave sugary, fatty foods. So instead of a salad or a banana, you’re more likely to reach for cookies or mac and cheese. That’s why they’re called “comfort foods.” Jason Perry Block, MD, an assistant professor of population medicine at Harvard, says eating can be a source of solace and can lower stress. amoxicillin kidney infection There’s nothing more frustrating than realizing you’re gaining weight. Unexplained weight gain can actually be a side effect of an underlying health condition you may not know you have. A doctor can help diagnose and treat these issues, which will get your weight back on track. Caused by unusually high cortisol levels, Cushing’s syndrome is more serious than the average weight-related issue, says Healthline. Depression, stress, and even some medications can cause the stress hormone to elevate. Your chances of being diagnosed are extremely rare. However, if the symptoms seem familiar, check with a medical professional; Cushing’s can be fatal if left untreated. 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