You've developed a spare tire—even though you feel like you've been eating the same sad desk salads for months.
Studies have found a connection between excess abdominal fat (even in normal-weight women) and excess cortisol, the hormone we produce when stressed. Cortisol stimulates the production of new fat cells as well as the growth of existing cells in and around the belly. (In some people, it also stimulates appetite, so you could be snacking more without knowing why.) An excess of midsection fat, otherwise known as "visceral fat," which wraps around your organs, increases your risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and dementia and also has been associated with breast cancer.