Stop stressing. It piles on those puffy waistline pounds!

The almost good news is that stress-related weight gain exists. “Prolonged stress causes cortisol (the stress hormone) to be secreted, stimulating insulin release – the body’s attempt to stabilise blood sugar,” says naturopath Sarah Bowles-Flannery.

“Then appetite increases, and cravings for foods high in fat and carbs rocket. While you’ll love that energy boost at first, it drops like a stone afterwards, as the insulin grabs the glucose out of the blood and into the fastest storage area – fat! And, yes, mostly around the middle.”

Some therapists use stress-relieving supplements to temper cortisol and, in turn, help weight control. It could be a move you might like to try. Here’s how…

Start Now: A month of smart supplements Top pharmacist Shabir Daya picks a combo of three supplements that could help with stress-related weight gain: - Magnolia Phellodendron Complex – magnolia helps eliminate excess cortisol. By Doctors A-Z, £21.95 for 90 capsules. Take one to three daily. - Spearole Tea works to enhance calorie burning. Drink three cups a day. By Dr Red, £14.99 for 150g. - 10 Day Downsize contains safe, proven ingredients – green tea, guarana, cayenne, aloe vera and slippery elm to clean your gut and flush water retention. £19.95 for 60 capsules.

w&h readers can get all three in the w&h Midriff Melter Pack for £50 at victoriahealth.com