Mental Health And Losing Weight
If theres one salient takeaway from this article, its that stress and anxiety can cause weight loss through several insidious mechanisms. Everything starts in your mind, so mental health and losing weight are closely intertwined. It’s only natural that anxiety disorders and stress-related conditions will throw your body out of rhythm and disrupt eating habits.
Moreover, chronic stress and anxiety often lead to a lack of motivation to stick to your fitness goals and hit the gym. By the same token, when youre feeling good mentally and know how to reduce stress , your appetite regulation, well-being, and body composition will improve dramatically. As the great hip-hop artist Ice Cube would say, “Get your mind right get your grind right.”
Explore The Issue More Deeply
Now that your client has admitted that stress is a problem generally, youll want to ask a few questions to help your client make the connection between stress and fat loss.
- Use open-ended questions that help your client investigate possibilities.
- Listen to and affirm whatever your client has to say.
- Ask for permission to fill in any holes in your clients understanding.
- Include your client in the solution.
The conversation might go like this:
|Coach: Crazy question: You mentioned how stressed you are. Are there any ways it might be affecting your weight or your eating? What are you noticing?|
|Client: I dont know. Usually? I eat out more when Im stressed because I just dont have time to cook.|
|Coach: Thats great that youve noticed that. Youre spot on. Funny enough, there are lots of other ways that stress affects body weight too. Are you okay if I share those with you?|
|Coach: Well, you already mentioned that it can lead you to eat differently. But lots of people dont know that stress can also drain your muscles of energy, leaving you feeling tired and achy. And it can also slow metabolism and interfere with sleep. What do you make of all of that? Does any of that seem like it might apply to your situation?|
|Client: Yeah, yeah. I think youre onto something. That might be it.|
|Coach: How do you want to approach this? Is this something that you want to address now? Or do you want to set it aside for a bit and see if we can do other things first?|
How To Maintain A Healthy Diet For Depression
It is seen that having a healthy diet and certainly help you fight depression. Here are a few things you can do to alter your diet and consume healthy food.
Mediterranean eating routine: There is some exploration to help that a Mediterranean-style diet, which is high in natural products, nuts, vegetables, and olive oil, and low in immersed fats, diminishes the danger of depression.
Omega-3 unsaturated fats: These substances are found in cool water fish and have been demonstrated to be significant in cerebrum work. A few investigations show that they may upgrade an individuals reaction to stimulant meds. You can find Omega 3 food in Fatty fish , Flaxseed, Canola and soybean oils, Nuts, especially walnuts, and Dark green, leafy vegetables
Nutrients and supplements: Examination shows that inadequacy of supplements, for example, nutrient B12, nutrient B6, and tryptophan can negatively affect mind-set. Subsequently, helpless nourishment that outcomes from loss of hunger can additionally intensify depression.
Selenium: it is believed that there is a direct link between Selenium deficiency and depression. Selenium is one of the most important nutrients to consume. research studies have indicated that taking selenium may decrease feelings of depression. Selenium can be found in nuts, whole grains, beans, seafood, and lean meats. However, too much Selenium can be toxic too. Therefore make sure you consult with a doctor or a dietitian before you start with the intake.
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Can Stress Cause Weight Loss Even When Eating
Yes, it can. We have all experienced it from time to time and it can be caused by different factors such as financial problems, pressure at work, family issues, romantic and platonic relationships, grief or loss, and other life changes. That being said, what exactly is stress? It is described as your bodys reaction to pressure from an event or situation . Other than weight loss, this reaction can manifest itself in the following ways :
Concerning weight, stress could either cause you to gain or lose weight. This is mostly connected to appetite changes experienced during this time. A study done on 72 women aged 17 to 26 years old showed 81% of the women experienced a change in appetite when stressed and of those, 62% reported an increased appetite..
But what happens if you are stressed, are not experiencing appetite changes, but are still losing weight without trying? How can stress cause weight loss even when eating and making healthy food choices?
Stress And Weight Loss
While many people put on weight during periods of stress, others lose weight.
Stress is known to cause a loss of appetite for some people, meaning that they end up eating less food. The circumstances surrounding the stress may also lead to poor eating habits for instance, if youre working long shifts or irregular hours, you may not find the time to cook for yourself.
Whats more, the stress hormones that our bodies release can speed up our metabolism, causing us to burn calories faster.
In more extreme cases, prolonged stress may lead to depression, which can also cause weight loss.
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What Is Stress & What Causes It
Stress can be anything that causes physical, mental, or emotional strain. It can be triggered by many different things like anger, aggression, sadness, and even nervousness.
We all have been stressed out at some point. Maybe it was an exam, a job interview, or the apprehension you feel before meeting your partners parents for the first time. These kinds of stress triggers are pretty common, and with time and the passing of the event, the stress naturally diminishes.
Short bursts of stress are linked to positive health benefits too. For instance, you might get stressed out about an approaching deadline and suddenly find the motivation and drive to finish the work on time or ahead of time therefore boosting your work productivity.
On the other hand, prolonged, laden, and constant stresses can lead to anxiety, depression, heart disease, gastrointestinal issues, metabolic disruptions, and plenty of other harmful effects.
The short term stress is called acute stress, and the long time is called chronic stress. Chronic stress is responsible for weight loss even when you are not doing anything to lose it.
Stress Eating Can Ruin Your Weight Loss Goals The Key Is To Find Ways To Relieve Stress Without Overeating
There is much truth behind the phrase “stress eating.” Stress, the hormones it unleashes, and the effects of high-fat, sugary “comfort foods” push people toward overeating. Researchers have linked weight gain to stress, and according to an American Psychological Association survey, about one-fourth of Americans rate their stress level as 8 or more on a 10-point scale.
In the short term, stress can shut down appetite. The nervous system sends messages to the adrenal glands atop the kidneys to pump out the hormone epinephrine . Epinephrine helps trigger the body’s fight-or-flight response, a revved-up physiological state that temporarily puts eating on hold.
But if stress persists, it’s a different story. The adrenal glands release another hormone called cortisol, and cortisol increases appetite and may also ramp up motivation in general, including the motivation to eat. Once a stressful episode is over, cortisol levels should fall, but if the stress doesn’t go away or if a person’s stress response gets stuck in the “on” position cortisol may stay elevated.
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Adjust Your Meal Proportions
If there’s a chance that you’ll burn fewer calories in the hours after eating due to stress, shift your servings a bit to slash calories without having to eat less food. For example, eating one and a half cups of mixed veggies and a half cup of brown rice instead of one cup of each can save you 60-75 calories. Or instead of one cup of quinoa, mix half of that with half a cup of spinach to save about 100 calories.
I think you see where I’m going with this. Trading in a portion of your dense grains, even healthy ones, for low-cal, fiber- and water-rich veggies is the easiest way to accomplish a quick calorie savings that doesn’t require sacrificing volume.
Your Bodys Fight Or Flight Response Can Speed Up Your Metabolism
When youre stressed, your body goes into fight or flight mode. Also known as the acute stress response, this physiological mechanism tells your body it must respond to a perceived threat.
Your body readies itself by releasing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline prepares your body for vigorous activity, but it can also minimize your desire to eat.
Meanwhile, cortisol signals for your body to temporarily suppress functions that are nonessential during a crisis. This includes your digestive, immune, and reproductive system responses.
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But Why The Sudden Fat Loss In My Case
After all, my body already had the muscle development.
Prolonged anxiety, in and of itself, may result in a tendency to lose weight, says Dr. Kelley.
Anxiety may enhance adrenal activity, producing higher levels of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which increase heart rate and blood pressure.
This would also represent an elevation in metabolic rate, which over time, could result in the loss of weight.
Elevated cortisol levels have traditionally been viewed as increasing ones tendency to store abdominal fat.
Its role, if any, in the weight loss process, as a result of prolonged stress, is not well-understood.
Though the argument could be made that prolonged stress and anxiety result in a more consistent elevation of adrenaline than cortisol, over time, or that the impact of the fight or flight hormones simply exert more visible impact over the course of time, than that of cortisol.
Dr. Kelley also points out that stressed caregivers sometimes subsist largely on coffee, soda and cigarettes to stay alert, and these substances elevate adrenaline and suppress appetite.
Ultimately, I believe prolonged stress and anxiety may have a tendency to skew our view concerning the accuracy of our nutrition recall.
In my own weight management practice, I can say with certainty that most individuals have very poor recall of exactly what and how they have eaten, over the course of several days, a week or a month, if they dont journal their food intake.
When To Seek Medical Attention
Talk to your doctor if you lose more than 5% of your body weight without trying in a 6-month period.
You should also talk to your doctor if:
- Youre becoming overly focused on food or weight loss as a way of coping with stress
- You experience panic attacks, or other possible signs of an anxiety disorder
- You have chest pain, chronic muscle pain, or persistent headaches/migraines
- You find yourself using drugs or alcohol to manage the stress in your life
A doctor can help you find ways to better manage your stress and get you on a plan to get back to a healthy weight.
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Sign #: Only Someone With Superpowers Could Do Their Life
Your client might, in passing, mention that they have a full-time job as well as a side hustle. A little later, the same person reveals theyre raising three beautiful childrenall under age 5.
And one of them has a chronic health condition.
Oh, and their in-laws just moved in.
Such people might wear stress like a badge of honor. But youre left wondering: How are they still walking around?
What Causes Stress Or Anxiety That Affects Weight Loss
There are two kinds of stress: immediate stress and prolonged stress. Immediate stress occurs when you’re overwhelmed, surprised, or afraid. Prolonged stress occurs when ongoing stressors affect your emotional, physical, and mental health. Some things that cause prolonged stress include:
- Work, employment, and career stress
- Academic stress
- Mental health and chronic illness
- Financial stress
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Inflammation & Vagus Nerve Can Be Triggered
Inflammation is our bodys response to something harmful. For instance, if you somehow cut your fingers, then your body will produce an inflammatory response.
Stress can also cause unwanted inflammation. Stress causes poor dietary choices, which can lead to widespread inflammation. This inflammation can also activate the vagus nerves of your body.
The vagus nerves start from the brain, come to the neck, and branch out to various organs. If you are stressed out, your vagus nerves will be disrupted, affecting your bodies ability to absorb and process food and cause weight loss.
Why Does Stress Affect My Weight
There are two main reasons why stress can affect your weight:
When were feeling stressed or anxious, our bodies release cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones help our bodies prepare for scary situations, causing our hearts to beat faster, and making us feel more alert.
If you often feel very stressed, your body will be releasing these hormones regularly. Over time this can have a big impact on your body and make you feel physically unwell, causing symptoms such as the following:
- Problems sleeping
- Avoiding exercise
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How To Deal With Stress
Weight isn’t the only reason it’s important to manage high stress levels: A prolonged stress response is linked to increased risk for metabolic and chronic diseases, Dr. Fertig says.
Per the Cleveland Clinic, set yourself up to better handle stress Ã¢â¬â and offset its downstream effects, like weight changes Ã¢â¬â by practicing the following habits:
- Get consistent, quality sleep
Stress Can Cause Digestive Issues
When you feel threatened, your body releases the hormone cortisol .
Cortisol redirects blood flow away from your digestive system and toward your brain and muscles. This is your bodys natural stress response, and it makes sense: when youre in immediate danger, its more important to think and move than it is to digest.
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These symptoms can make it difficult to eat, causing you to lose weight over time.
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Cortisol Can Lead To Weight Gain
Cortisol stimulates your fat and carbohydrate metabolism, creating a surge of energy in your body. While this process is essential for survival situations, it also increases your appetite. Additionally, elevated cortisol levels can cause cravings for sweet, fatty and salty foods. This means youre more likely to indulge in french fries and a milkshake than you are a well-balanced meal.
An excess of cortisol also can lead your body to produce less testosterone. This may cause a decrease in muscle mass, as well as slow down how many calories your body burns.
Stressed Out Why Stress Might Be Stopping You From Losing Weight And What To Do About It
The idea that too much stress is bad for long-term health is not news to anyone. The media provides constant reminders that stress is linked to heart disease, mood disorders, and other chronic conditions.
Stress can also lead to weight gain or impede weight loss efforts. If you find yourself gaining weight despite eating healthy foods and exercising, stress may be the culprit.
The dangers of stress have sparked a conversation about reducing stress and pursuing more balanced lifestyles to avoid long-term impacts. Taking control of stress is of course easier said than done!
Even with all of this attention on stress reduction and prevention, finding your zen can be difficult. Not to mention if you are trying to lose weight and think that stress is preventing your success, you may feel even more discouraged and stressed out.
Learning about why stress can prevent weight loss may help you address the root causes of your stress and see more results.
Read on to learn more about the connection between stress and weight loss, and how you can start using simple techniques for stress relief!
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Local Dietitian Warns That Stress Can Cause Weight Gain Over Time
Weight-management advice often focuses on what to eat and how many calories to burn with exercise. However, another factor can play an essential role in whether or not a healthy weight can be reached and maintained: the stress level.
Research has indeed shown that there is a connection between the bodys stress response and changes in weight, said Amberly Malone, clinical dietitian at AdventHealth-Central Texas in Killeen. Stress can cause changes in our habits and behaviors, but we can also see these changes at a molecular level.
Scientists have found that chronic stress is connected with weight gain over an extended period of time. People with higher markers of the stress hormone cortisol were more likely to have a higher BMI.
The hormone cortisol is essential for many processes in the human body, including controlling blood pressure, metabolism and insulin release for blood sugar control.
But a chronically high level of cortisol from stress can disrupt your metabolism and increase our cravings for high-calorie foods, Malone said.
Historically, stressful situations required a physical response and, therefore, lots of energy. But evolution has changed our society and todays stressors are primarily psychological, causing the excess energy being mainly stored as belly fat.
Chronically elevated stress hormones can cause an increased appetite. Due to biological factors, comfort foods are even more appealing when feeling anxious.