Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Can Stress Cause You To Lose Weight

But Why The Sudden Fat Loss In My Case

Can Stress Cause Weight Gain?

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.

Eat In Small Quantities

You might not feel hungry at all when you feel stress, which is why we recommend you consume small quantities of food during such periods. It is going to be tough taking even a bite, but trust the process. Equip yourself to get back up, find your ground, and stay put. For that, you need a human beings basic need food! Eat just a little or make a juice or smoothie and drink it. You will slowly start getting back to your normal food habits.

How To Prevent Future Health Issues

Although decreasing your stress levels may feel impossible some days, you can still manage the effects of elevated cortisol. To begin with, practicing relaxation through mindfulness, meditation, yoga or deep breathing can help bring the production of this hormone back down to normal levels.

Youll also prevent the excess storage of empty calories by ensuring that you consume a diet high in quality foods. Even though your body may be craving a quick fix, aim to eat mostly whole, plant-based foods. Of course, making the decision to eat right isnt always easy, but its worth it. By monitoring your diet, the calories you consume will be turned into energy, not converted into fat and stored by the body.

Finally, exercise is an excellent way to manage your stress hormones too. Whether you go out for a run, take a daily walk with your family or hit the gym, exercising will help maintain your lean body mass. This is especially important during prolonged periods of high cortisol levels.

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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.

Can Stress And Anxiety Cause Weight Loss 6 Tips To Help Your Mind And Body

Can stress cause you to lose weight ?

There is a strong connection between stress, anxiety, and weight loss . For some people, food is a source of comfort when life gets crazy for others, the idea of eating is literally sickening when stress and anxiety are rampant.

Needless to say, mental health undoubtedly influences how our body changes. Its not uncommon to see someone gain or lose as much as 20-30lbs in just a few months when they are stressed out and anxious. Even worse, stress often leads to a lack of motivation and doing less of the things you enjoy.

But stress is a necessary and inevitable part of life. It’s not a matter of avoiding stressful situations it’s about working through them.

This article will give you a better understanding of the physiology of stress and anxiety, how they can cause weight loss/weight gain, and what you can do to manage.

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What Are Healthy Causes Of Weight Loss

Healthy and sustainable weight loss is achieved through a proper diet and exercise. You are advised to eat a well-balanced diet without cutting out any major food groups. Your meals should consist of healthy carbohydrates, healthy fats, protein, vitamins and minerals.

A point to note is that even while consuming a proper and balanced diet, you should ensure to eat at a calorie deficit if you intend to lose weight. For healthy and sustainable weight loss you should ensure to reduce your daily calorie intake by 500 to 1000 calories a day 3500 to 7000 calories a week .

Read More:The Fundamentals of a Balanced Diet: Foods, Benefits, Weight Loss

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.

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Youve Heard That Stress Can Interfere With Weight Loss Efforts But Can A Lot Of Anxiety Cause Fat Loss Even If You Dont Eat Less

Its a no-brainer that weight loss will occur from eating less due to suppressed appetite from stress.

Nobody lives life completely devoid of stress however, there are times in all of our lives when stress and the associated anxiety that can accompany a significantly greater stressful situation than usual, can be more taxing than we even realize, says Richard Kelley, MD, a practicing physician in Texas for 20+ years, and author of The Fitness Response, The Three-Hour Appetite and the ebook, The Fitness Response Diet for Women.

He continues, Prolonged stress and anxiety can take a significant toll on ones health, inducing weight loss, insomnia, gastrointestinal problems and general irritability.

Weight loss as a result of increased stress and anxiety may occur for a variety of reasons.

When we are chronically stressed and anxious, whether we realize it or not, nutrition may suffer due to skipping meals.

For individuals caring for an ill family member for extended periods of time, either at home or in the hospital, ones sense of time can be altered, resulting in skipped meals or prolonged periods between nutrition.

It is not unusual for a family member in the chronic caretaker role, to feel they are eating adequately and even have an increased sense of hunger when they do eat, simply because their schedule, secondary to their caretaking role, is more erratic.

I had unexplained weight loss while caring for my mother following her quintuple bypass surgery.

Hyperstimulation Can Lead To Gastrointestinal Distress

Can stress or anxiety cause weight loss?

Your body slows digestion during the fight or flight response so it can focus on how to respond to the stressor.

This can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort, such as:

  • stomach pain

Chronic stress can amplify these symptoms and result in other underlying conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome.

These changes to your digestive system may cause you to eat less, subsequently losing weight.

Recommended Reading: How To Calm Stress And Anxiety

Summary: Will A Weighted Blanket Cause Weight Loss

The bottom line is that if a weighted blanket can help someone sleep significantly better, it can lead to positive changes in decision making and even hormone levels that make weight loss more likely.

However, weighted blankets dont always work, and dont always produce as large of an effect as you might think.

So while they might indirectly cause weight loss in some cases, it certainly shouldnt be an expectation.

At the same time, if you do believe that a weighted blanket will improve your sleep, its worth a try for the general quality of life benefits that it may come with.

My goal with this post wasnt to try and scare people away from weighted blankets , only to make sure that any purchases are made for the right reasons.

Medical Disclaimer: The information on SnoozeUniversity.com is not intended to be a substitute for physician or other qualified care. We simply aim to inform people struggling with sleep issues about the nature of their condition and/or prescribed treatment.

Schedule Time For Fun

Take care of yourself, especially when you can feel the tension building in your shoulders. Do this by scheduling time for fun.

Make time to meet up with friends, have a museum visit, go ice skating or go-carting with the kids.

And make sure you set time aside for getting a massage, a manicure or pedicure if possible.

Another great way to take care of yourself? Hit the sauna if you can. Sweating in the sauna for 10 minutes boosts your metabolism and circulation AND releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins.

Recommended Reading: How To Relieve Stress At Home

Why Does Your Body React To Stress

This is because your body has evolutionary programming telling you that when you feel stress, its because of danger. Unfortunately, the ancient part of your brain doesnt know the difference between an invading rival tribe or your boss telling you they need that report by the end of the day.

When you feel stress, your body senses danger, and signals to itself, OK, were in danger. We need lots of calorie-dense food now so well have the energy to run from this danger or fight back.

Obviously desk job weight gain is a real thing because we keep getting the internal signals for the high-calorie foods, but we dont burn any calories running away or battling a strong enemy. We just sit at our desk, stare into our spreadsheet, feel panic, and gain weight.

Why This Slow Down Can Be Harmful

How Stress Lose Make Can Weight You

Because your metabolism is responsible for converting food into energy, a change in how this system works can cause potential problems. As outlined by the American Psychological Association, these issues include:

  • Weight gain

  • Health complications, such as high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes

  • Reduced effectiveness of the immune system

Furthermore, the weight that people gain as a result from a spike in cortisol is often around the abdomen. Fat accumulated around the waist area is attributed to the development of cardiovascular disease, earning it the nickname of toxic fat.

Also Check: Can You Sue For Emotional Stress

Try To Avoid Foods That Can Crash Your Blood Sugar And Make You Feel Worse

Although foods high in sugar can provide a quick boost of energy, the comedown is inevitable. When the sugar leaves your bloodstream, it may leave you feeling worse than before.

Foods high in fat and sodium may also make stress worse.

Try to limit or avoid the following until your stress subsides:

  • fried food
  • processed foods

The Takeaway: Take Care Of Yourself

If youve lost a lot of weight without trying, whether youre stressed or not, head to the doctor. But if youre not underweight and its just a few pounds, dont worryit will likely come back when you eat normally again. Less than ten pounds is usually not a big deal from a health perspective, says Rosmarin.

Read Also: Where Can I Find Stress Balls

Treatments For Weight Gain

If youve experienced weight gain after going through a period of stress, know that youre not alone. This is common for lots of people, and is probably just a temporary reaction to that stressful time. Following a healthy diet and exercise regime should help you lose weight and get back to normal.

Of course, some people find weight loss a lot more challenging, even with diet and exercise, which is why medicated treatments are available. Here at Online Doctor we can prescribe the weight loss tablets Xenical or Orlistat to people with a BMI over 30, or anyone with a BMI over 28 who has weight-related health issues.

Find out more at our online weight loss clinic.


Stress Eating Hormones And Hunger

How stress can make you fat…exclusive of Lose Weight Hub

Stress also seems to affect food preferences. Numerous studies granted, many of them in animals have shown that physical or emotional distress increases the intake of food high in fat, sugar, or both. High cortisol levels, in combination with high insulin levels, may be responsible. Other research suggests that ghrelin, a “hunger hormone,” may have a role.

Once ingested, fat- and sugar-filled foods seem to have a feedback effect that dampens stress related responses and emotions. These foods really are “comfort” foods in that they seem to counteract stress and this may contribute to people’s stress-induced craving for those foods.

Of course, overeating isn’t the only stress-related behavior that can add pounds. Stressed people also lose sleep, exercise less, and drink more alcohol, all of which can contribute to excess weight.

Recommended Reading: What To Do When Your Stressed About School

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.

My Face Legs Feet And Hands Are Often Puffy And I Get Lightheaded

Blame it on: Aldosterone

Some women complain that they can swell up with fluid within minutes of feeling stressed. This is not their imagination.

Or, their fluid retention may creep up after repeated stressful triggers over the course of the day. Heres why:

When your body flicks on the fight or flight reaction, it pumps out a chemical called aldosterone. This hormone has the important job of regulating levels water and electrolytes in your blood and your blood pressure.

But when youre under duress, aldosterone sends a message to your kidneys to retain salt, so your body retains as much fluid as possible.

This sodium retention is a survival strategy, just in case you need that fluid on board to face any emergency. This not only leads to puffy face, ankles and tummy, it can also lead to the appearance of cellulite in areas like the thighs, because the high levels of sodium there is pulling more water to those areas.

Frustratingly, this water retention can make you feel like youve gained weight, even though it is all fluid. Yet you may also find that you need to get up go to the toilet at night. This can happen because its the first time in the day when youre not rushing so your body feels safe enough to not have to retain as much fluid and starts to release some of it.

Since aldestrone also regulates your blood pressure, exhausted adrenals can also translate to getting light headed when getting up from a bed or chair.

Also Check: How To Tell If Your Cat Is Stressed Out

When To Talk To Your Doctor About Unexplained Weight Loss

If youre losing weight when youre under stress, but its just a couple of pounds, focus on getting through the stress and taking care of your body. Here are signs, though, that you may need to see a doctor:

  • Youve dropped more than 5% of your body weight without meaning to, or around 10 pounds.
  • The weight loss is happening alarmingly quickly.
  • Youre experiencing digestive problems, such as diarrhea.

Your doctor will want to rule out or treat you for depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, all of which could lead either to weight loss or gain, says Goodpastor. If its a medication thats causing weight loss, you might need an adjustment, and if you are facing food scarcity or economic distress, she may be able to refer you to an organization that can help.

And of course, stress can and does trigger or exacerbate existing eating disorders, such as ARFID or anorexia. ARFID stands for Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, which is extreme picky eating that gets worse over time and that has nothing to do with wanting to lose weight, but nonetheless results in a person not eating enough. ARFID can be pretty bad and Im sure you know anorexia is downright dangerous, says Rosmarin. The bottom line is persistent failure to maintain an adequate weight requires professional intervention.

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