Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Can Stress Cause Weight Gain

Think Before You Snack

Is STRESS making you GAIN weight? [Can Stress Cause Weight Gain?]

You are watching your favorite show late at night, and you start craving something sweet or salty. You automatically reach for the jar of cookies or the bag of chips, without sparing a thought about all the unhealthy junk you put into your body.

Stop and think about what you are eating. Check the label and see how many calories you are consuming. Avoid snacking, especially at night. If you must snack, eat healthy food like fruits, nuts, etc.

Be aware of what you are eating. Most snacks are loaded with refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and other unhealthy ingredients.

After having three full meals, if you snack mindlessly, just because you are bored or unhappy, you will gain weight. Instead of doing that to your body, always think twice before going for a snack.

How To Manage Prolonged Stress Or Anxious Thoughts

The frustrating part about prolonged stress is that you often don’t know when the issues causing the stress will end. Because of this, it’s important to learn two things: acceptance for things you cannot control and healthy stress management skills. Common effective stress management skills include:

  • Deep breathing. Concentrate on calming your mind as you take deep breaths in and out.
  • Light cardio exercise. Going for a brisk walk can help you manage stress more effectively without further depleting your body’s needed stores of energy.
  • Track specific events or situations that trigger your anxiety. Keep a record of meals and caloric intake to better understand the connection.
  • Artistic expression. Drawing, painting, singing or playing an instrument can help you release some of that nervous energy.
  • Relaxing hobbies. Whether it’s crocheting, hiking or singing karaoke, doing something you enjoy can help you calm your mind and quiet your nerves.
  • Maintaining self-care. If necessary, put a reminder in your phone to tell you when it’s time to eat, bathe, or sleep. Above all, exercise basic “sleep hygiene” to ensure your body gets the rest it needs.

Spend More Time With Pets

Animals like cats and dogs are proven to relieve stress due to the way they show unconditional love and loyalty. Pets can make you laugh, make you feel less lonely, and even reduce your blood pressure and boost heart health. Spend more quality time with your pets, or with a friend or neighbors pet to reduce stress.

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Exercise Smarter But Not Harder

And the scenic stimulation of blue sky and nature, means that you come back from your walk usually feel uplifted, not depleted.

  • Move at a moderate pace: I recommend exercise like weight training, use of kettle bells and dancing.
  • Do more gentle forms of exercise: It may seem counter-intuitive to slow your exercise pace to get more benefit but it really is important. Think about animals they dont go on marathon runs or head to the gym every day.
  • Calm your brain with yoga: Yoga is like a moving meditation that connects your mind, breathe and body and induces a relaxation response which helps lower your cortisol levels. At the same time it boosts your alpha brain activity, which promotes greater calm.


Stress Is Divided Into:

How Stress Can Cause Weight Gain
  • Distress. Its the stress were fighting against. If it lasts, it leads to psychological suffering. Prolonged exposure to distress or shorter exposure to the distress of very high intensity can lead to harmful consequences for physical and mental health.
  • Eustress. It is a type of useful stress that motivates us and encourages us to achieve our goals.
  • In this article, we want to deal with distress, i.e. the harmful, negative one, and its consequences on ones health, including weight gain in particular. Lets learn a bit more about distress to be able to understand how it leads to weight gain and how we can overcome it.

    Distress can be:

  • Acute: It lasts for several days, the triggers can be different . Symptoms are very intense, especially those that indicate physical suffering. It rarely leads to serious health conditions but could cause problems in some cases .
  • Chronic: It lasts for a long time, namely for months or years and is therefore difficult to recognize. The person has the impression that it has always been that way, that living always used to feel so and that it has always been an integral part of life. This kind of stress is most often associated with great demands at work, severe illness, partner or family problems. Symptoms are low in intensity, but they last for a long time and can therefore seriously impair health and lead to some of the psychosomatic diseases .
  • Also Check: How To Feel Less Stressed At Work

    How Does Stress Cause Weight

    Though stress can cause weight loss, it doesnt for everyone, and more often, stress causes weight gain or no change at all, says David H. Rosmarin, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and founder of theCenter for Anxiety.

    If people are super busy and stressed out or going through a traumatic situation or feel like theyre totally under water, thats when weight loss, if it occurs, takes place, says Rosmarin. When youre really gunning it, you dont have time to eat and you dont have the appetite to eat.

    Goodpastor explains, When one eats much less than usual, perhaps due to skipped meals when stressed, it can cause the metabolism to slow down. The body essentially goes into starvation mode, stores fat, and eats away at muscle, which leads to short-term weight loss.

    Stress Can Shrink Your Brain

    While stress may be an unavoidable part of life, prolonged exposure can take a toll on both your body and the brain. Overcoming stressful situations in day-to-day life can make us more resilient, but when stress is severe or chronic, it needs to be addressed immediately. Thats because this form of stress can have a huge impact on our brains.


    Even amongst healthy people, stress can lead to shrinkage in areas of the brain which are associated with emotions, metabolism and memory. Higher levels of stress cause raised levels of the hormone cortisol. A raised cortisol level in the blood will impact brain size, function and also performance when individuals are exposed to cognitive tests.

    A study published in the journal Neurology confirmed that people with a higher than average level of cortisol, which is the stress hormone, have smaller brain volumes and worse memory.

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    Wanting To Feel Better

    A stressful situation makes us want to feel better quickly. This is another reason why we crave sugary, comfort food during and after high-stress situations. To understand why that happens, we must first take a look at what sugar does to our brain.

    We have all heard the phrase sugar high. Our brains have been conditioned to believe that sugary food is beneficial since it provides quick energy. The neurotransmitter dopamine is released in our system, and we feel happy. Knowing that sugar gives us this happy, content feeling, we crave it even more.

    When a person craves sweetness during and after a stressful situation, they might naturally want a sugary treat that is loaded with not only sugar but other stimulators, including chocolate and coffee. Alongside dopamine, those two also give us serotonin, another neurotransmitter that makes us feel happy.

    Can Stress Cause Weight Gain

    How Stress can cause Weight Gain Ways you can Prevent it.

    Youre having problems at work or at home. Youre stressed, and its beginning to show — in more ways than one. Youve noticed a bulge around your mid-section that wasnt there before. Where are these extra pounds coming from?

    Stress could be one of the culprits. It plays a role in weight gain. While it can make you have less of an appetite at first, long-term “chronic” stress actually boosts your hunger.

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    Reasons For Stress Weight Loss

    The fact is that the body perceives the long-term nervous experience as a period of illness. As a result, more often than not, people can experience a complete loss of appetite. And when you cannot eat because you are in great excitement or stress, you lose weight fast. But this is perhaps the most obvious reason. In fact, everything is a little more complicated.

    The likelihood of losing weight under stress is higher than gaining weight. It is because a significant amount of cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine are released into the bloodstream. These are the hormones responsible for our emotions and the functioning of the nervous system, brain, and metabolism.

    So, adrenaline is responsible for the production of fatty acids and tissue metabolism. It can enhance the breakdown of fats into simple components. Blood pressure can change under the influence of norepinephrine, and the same hormone activates the work of all internal organs.

    Cortisol, in turn, controls carbohydrate metabolism, which is directly related to the balance of the bodys energy reserves. During stress, the concentration of all these hormones rises sharply. It means that nutrients begin to be consumed in high quantity to make your body ready for any stress. A temporary rush of strength is important and necessary to solve the problem. But if this stressful state is constant, your internal reserves are depleted. As a result, healthy sleep and appetite may disappear, and you begin to lose weight quickly.

    When Is Weight Loss Cause For Concern

    Although dropping a pound or two typically isnt cause for concern, unexpected or undesired weight loss takes a toll on your body.

    See a doctor or other healthcare professional if youve lost five percent or more of your overall body weight in any 6- to 12-month period.

    You should also see a doctor if you:

    • are losing weight without trying
    • have chronic headaches
    • feel persistently on edge
    • find yourself using alcohol or drugs as a way to cope

    Your doctor can determine whether your symptoms are related to stress or due to another underlying condition. Whatever the cause, your provider can work with you to develop healthy coping strategies and prescribe medication, if needed.

    Recommended Reading: Can Stress Cause Heart Disease

    What Can I Do

    Read the labels,” says Miles. “You need to look at the overall energy and calories. Although a food may have a reduced amount of fat, it may still have the same amount of calories.”

    A food labelled “low-fat” may still contain more calories than an alternative. For example, a “low-fat” muffin may contain more calories than a currant bun.

    Find more healthy food alternatives in Healthy food swaps.

    Symptoms Of Adrenal Fatigue

    Can Stress Cause Weight Loss or Weight Gain?  New England ...

    Traditional allopathic Western medicine doesnt recognize adrenal fatigue, even though the changes it can cause are now starting to be confirmed by science. Referring to it as exhaustion syndrome research from UmeƄ University in Sweden has found that people suffering adrenal fatigue have lower activity in their frontal lobes and also altered regulation of cortisol.

    The study also found that people more prone to this condition are often over-achievers and perfectionists. This is not news to functional and integrative practitioners who see women suffering from this problem every day. They arrive feeling absolutely at the end of the line and suffering from these kinds of chronic complaints:

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    Anxiety And Weight Gain: How Stress Can Cause You To Put On Weight

    There are a few feelings that are universal to us all. Anxiety and stress are emotional reactions we all have, in some to a larger degree than others. However, what differs is the way our body responds to these feelings of anxiety.

    It has been established that theres a correlation between our psychological health and our physical health. This is where researchers have drawn the link between anxiety and weight gain.

    So why does this happen to some of us? And what can we do about it?

    Lets take a look.

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    How Can I Lose Weight If I Am Constantly Stressed

    We know that stress and anxiety often cause weight gain, yet the reality is that most of us live with a certain level of stress. But if you cant immediately remove a stressor from your life, how can you lose weight?

    As a general rule, diets dont work for weight loss. Instead, you need a more holistic, sustainable approach to lose weight one that addresses the reasons why you may have gained weight, like poor hydration, imbalances in your body, the foods you eat, and even the amount of sleep that you are getting.

    Ideal You offers a healthy way to lose weight by allowing you to reset your metabolism so that you are burning fat instead of storing it. You dont have to work out, or buy expensive pre-packaged food on the Ideal You program. Instead, youll eat real food, take all natural supplements, and work with experienced weight loss coaches to slim down. By changing your metabolism, you can counteract many of the effects of chronic stress even if you cannot completely eliminate stress from your life.

    At Ideal You, we understand that figuring out how to lose weight can also be a source of stress. That is why we provide you with a structured food list and weight loss journal, and provide support from a team of weight loss coaches. You wont have to worry about how youre going to lose weight, because youll be following our proven strategy.

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    Recommended Reading: How To Meditate To Relieve Stress

    How Can Stress Cause Weight Gain

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    Have you ever wondered whether you are gaining weight because of stress? It is not so unlikely, especially if your diet and lifestyle did not change and you noticed more pounds on the scale. Stress and weight gain are connected.

    Lets learn more about stress and how it affects your health, weight, and metabolism.

    Pace Yourself To Promote Healing

    Can Stress Cause Weight Loss Or Gain? What Actually Happens.

    If you’re tired, wired and overweight, try these ideas to lower your stress levels and heal your adrenal stress so you can stop the vicious stress/weight-gain cycle:

    When you resolve an underlying adrenal stress imbalance, its like a switch is thrown in the body that suddenly makes it possible to let go of the extra weight that your body has been holding on to for so long.

    You can do this! By rebalancing your cortisol levels, you will not only be better able to stop and reverse adrenal weight gain, but youll feel better and more energetic as it happens!

    1 Prentice, A., et al. 2008. Evolutionary origins of the obesity epidemic: natural selection of thrifty genes or genetic drift following predation release? Int. J. Obes. , 32 , 16071610. URL : .

    Speakman, J. 2008. Thrifty genes for obesity, an attractive but flawed idea, and an alternative perspective: The drifty gene hypothesis. Int. J. Obes. , 32 , 16111617. URL : .

    Speakman, J. 2007. A nonadaptive scenario explaining the genetic predisposition to obesity: the predation release hypothesis. Cell Metab., 6 , 512. URL : .

    2 Peeke, P. 2000. Fight Fat after Forty, 3133. NY: Viking.

    3 Dallman, M., et al. 2003. Chronic stress and obesity: A new view of comfort food. PNAS, 100 , 1169611701. URL: .

    7 Peeke, P. 2000. 3133.

    Further Reading

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    How Can You Lose Stress

    Here are a few ways you can avoid and address any extra pounds you’ve gained from stress.

    Focus on exercise

    When you exercise, you’re expending energy that can burn off calories. But there are also a ton of other benefits to exercising, including improving your cardiovascular health and increasing your endorphin levels, which can fight off stress and pain.

    When your body is stressed, it wants to hang onto fat instead, so it can save more energy.

    According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults should get at least 150 minutes to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise a week, or the equivalent of a combo of these two. Working out can also increase your threshold for stress, says Dr. Youdim. “Probably the most compelling reason for exercise is that studies have shown that when you can tolerate physiological stress, like when you push yourself physically, you’re better able to tolerate psychological stress.”

    When you exercise, your body can reduce its levels of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, according to Harvard Health. So not only can working out help you lose and stress-related weight gain, it can also combat the source: stress.

    Cook healthier versions of your favorite comfort foods

    Keep a food journal

    Try mindful eating habits


    Prioritize your sleep

    Incorporate stress relief and self-care into your day-to-day life

    Check in on your mental health

    Health3 Things This Man Did To Lose 105 Pounds

    It would suggest that any method people can use to beat stress could be of benefit, Heaney said. I think the challenge is for people who are stressed often. I dont think jumping into a 30-minute yoga or Pilates class will be enough to address that.

    The kinds of activities that might help are those that need 100 percent of our attention, Heaney said.

    That could mean a game of tennis over running on a treadmill, for example.

    “Certain activities we do are not absorbing enough to distract from stress, Heaney said. “Whereas jogging might be a good healthy sport, you can sometimes still ruminate and be stressed because it doesn’t require your sole attention.”

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