Continuous Stress Can Lead To Weight Gain
The findings, says Teruel, why treatments with glucocorticoid drugs, which are often essential for people with rheumatoid arthritis and asthma to even function, are so linked with obesity, and ways in which such treatments can be given safely without the common side effects of weight gain and bone loss.
Additionally, the senior investigator notes how the research illuminates the process of stress-induced weight gain in people, as well as offering clues for how to control it.
Yes, the timing of your stress does matter, she says. Since conversion of precursor cells into fat cells occurs through a bistable switch, it means you can control the process with pulsing.
Our results suggest that even if you get significantly stressed or treat your rheumatoid arthritis with glucocorticoids, you wont gain weight, continues Teruel, as long as stress or glucocorticoid treatment happens only during the day.
But if you experience chronic, continuous stress or take glucocorticoids at night, the resulting loss of normal circadian glucocorticoid oscillations will result in significant weight gain.
The Importance Of Sleep And Exercise For Stress Management
In several experimental studies, short-term sleep deprivation led to increased calorie intake and weight gain.
This may be because of changes in the appetite-regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin, and a greater intake of high-calorie foods and sugar-sweetened beverages. Most adults should aim to get seven hours or more of sleep each night, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Exercise helps lower stress levels and may help decrease symptoms of anxiety, according to a systematic review of randomized clinical trials published in August 2015 in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.
But the benefits of moving regularly dont end there. Exercise can have direct effects on weight by helping burn calories and increasing lean muscle mass, which helps with weight control, says Chao. Regular exercise can help improve your physiological toughness when facing stress. Exercise can lead to beneficial adaptations in the stress response system that improve how your body reacts to future physiological stressors,;which may result in the body being more efficient at coping with psychological stressors.
Exercising regularly can also help you more rapidly recover from stressors and decrease negative feelings following a stressor. This lessens the overall wear and tear that the stressors have on the body, says Chao.
Lose Weight First To Keep Your Body Leaner For Longer
When you first start your weight loss journey, its very hard for you to gain muscle because your muscles are significantly smaller.
As time goes on, youll notice that your muscle mass will increase with each passing day.
However, if you lose the weight first before starting to build muscle, then your muscles wont fill out as much as they would if you started building muscle after losing the weight.
This means that you will lose more weight than if you started building muscle first.
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Is There A Treatment
Treating weight loss isn’t necessarily related to anxiety itself. You simply need to make sure you’re eating, talk to a doctor to rule out other symptoms, and keep exercising to ensure that you’re promoting good health. There is nothing you can do in the short term to regain weight that’s healthy for your body. ;
Anxiety can cause a lot of nervous movements, changes to diet, and other activities that may contribute to weight loss. Weight loss as a symptom is not typically something a person needs to address unless there are dietary issues, but because anxiety can be harmful to the body, it is still important to treat anxiety overall.;
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Why This Slow Down Can Be Harmful
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:;
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.
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Why You Lose Weight
Stress and anxiety are commonly associated with weight gain, and for a good reason – during times of anxiety, the body releases heavy amounts of cortisol, which is a hormone that contributes to weight gain – especially around the midsection. Anxiety also causes further inactivity as people stop engaging in many activities, which can also increase weight gain.
Yet for various reasons, weight loss is also a problem that may occur with anxiety. There are several factors that cause this weight loss to occur:
It’s important to remember that anxiety itself makes you worry about things that shouldn’t necessarily be worried. Weight loss may also simply occur naturally. But if you were not suspecting to lose weight, this can cause significant health concerns. It’s simply the nature of anxiety to cause people to worry about their health.
What Are The Risks Of Stress And Weight Gain
When we live in a constant high-alert state, our cortisol levels remain unnaturally high and can cause all kinds of symptoms and long-term health problems.
Weight gain is often the most noticeable outward sign of chronic adrenal stress. But this isnt just about your jeans feeling tight. Hormonally driven weight gain increases your risk for many serious health issues:
- high blood pressure
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Stress And Weight Loss Studies
If high cortisol levels are causal for weight gain, can lowering cortisol levels induce weight loss?
Glad you asked. Addisons disease is the opposite of Cushings syndrome when it comes to body weight.
Therefore, its most common side effect is weight loss. Addisons disease is adrenal insufficiency. Due to a damaged adrenal gland, cortisol levels are low.
The primary symptom of Addisons disease is weight loss. Accordingly, about 97 percent of people who have Addisons disease experience weight loss due to low cortisol levels .
Similarly, prednisone withdrawal from patients caused a significant loss in body weight and more interestingly abdominal fat .
In conclusion, the reverse of the argument that chronic stress can make you fat is correct. Since there is scientific proof, lowering cortisol levels causes weight loss.
How To Break The Cycle Of Stress And Weight Gain
When you’re stressed out, healthy behaviors likely eating properly and exercising regularly can easily fall by the wayside. Maintaining a schedule and/or routine can help make these healthy behaviors a habit and combat stress-related weight changes. Here are a few strategies that can help you break the cycle of stress and weight gain:
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How Stress Can Cause Unwanted Weight Loss Or Gain
Reviewed by Dr.;Jay Cowin
Stress is something everyone has experienced at some point in their life. It can also wreak havoc on our bodies and mental health, which can sometimes be out of our control. If youre already stressed, one of the last things you want to add to your plate is helping unexpected changes in your weight due to the stress itself.;
Sometimes people will express their opinions if your weight changes, particularly if youve lost weight. This can be troubling if you didnt intend to lose weight, and the only cause points back to stress. Weight change that you didnt plan or try to achieve can be alarming, and if youre unsure of the cause, you may want to see your physician.;
However, if you think stress may be the cause, its important to know how to recognize stress, understand the effects, and how to manage your stress better. In other words, you may need to learn to de-stress.
Stress Makes It Harder To Get Good Sleep
Cortisol is a hormone related to alertness, so one of its most important jobs is to help keep us motivated, awake, and responsive to our environment. Cortisol levels are typically highest in the morning, decreasing throughout the day, and then dropping to their lowest at night, around the time we should be headed to bed.
When levels of cortisol, and other stress hormones like adrenaline, are abnormally elevated throughout the day, it can be difficult to fall or stay asleep, or you may wake up very early feeling wired but still groggy. This lack of sleep can directly impact weight maintenance, as a lack of sleep affects levels of leptin and ghrelin, the hunger hormones that dictateappetite and feelings of fullness after eating.
Can Anxiety And Stress Cause Weight Gain
As previously mentioned, anxiety and stress can also cause weight gain.
Here are some ways these two emotions can cause weight gain:
- Cravings for unhealthy foods . Some people crave foods like chocolates, pizza, fries, and more unhealthy foods while stressed. These are high-calorie foods, and regular consumption of these foods is likely to cause weight loss.;
- Lack of sleep. Some people, when they cant sleep, will always find themselves snacking at night . This snacking at night can cause weight gain since you are eating. On top of that, you are not going to be burning the calories you ate since its at night, and your body is inactive. This often leads to weight gain.
- Reduced motivation to do anything . People who are stressed find themselves tired most of the time and would just be lethargic. Lack of physical activity can lead to weight gain since you are just eating and lazing around without doing anything that would help burn the calories youve consumed, resulting in weight gain. ;
It Takes More Time To Lose Weight
When youre trying to lose weight first, then you should eat less than your body needs while exercising on a regular basis in order to burn fat at a faster pace than normal.
Doing this will help to ensure that you dont put any extra calories into your body, which will cause you to gain weight as a result.
When building muscle before losing weight, then it takes longer for you to build muscle as a result.
Can Stress Hormones Cause Weight Gain
Yes, because you cant run away from chronic stress, it keeps cortisol levels high. The primary stress hormone cortisol mobilizes energy in the form of glucose. High blood glucose triggers the secretion of the primary storage hormone insulin. As a result of the persistent stress hormone secretion, high levels of insulin are causing weight gain.
Anxiety Can Cause Weight Gain
Weight gain can be a symptom of anxiety. But anxiety doesn’t always cause weight gain. That’s because the relationship is fairly complicated. The causes of gaining weight from anxiety are as follows:
- Cortisol The key reason that some people with anxiety have trouble managing their weight is because of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is released during times of stress, which means that it’s also released during anxiety. Cortisol causes fat to build up around the midsection, and is one of the primary reasons that those with stress have trouble maintaining their weight.
- Excess Eating In some people, anxiety can also trigger excess eating. This may occur for two reasons. First, some people find that food provides a valuable coping tool, because it may release endorphins which improve the mood. Second, some people experience more hunger when they’re stressed. Not everyone experiences either of these reactions, which is why not everyone gains weight. The differences may also be very subtle, and you may not realize you’re eating more than you used to.
- Inactivity In addition, some people find that anxiety is very draining. They may sleep more, or they may sit at home more than they used to. This level of inactivity means that they’re burning fewer calories, which in turn means they gain more weight.
Symptoms Of Excess Cortisol & Cortisol Dysregulation
The symptoms of excess cortisol vary widely among people but there are several “key” symptoms that most people tend to express.;
These symptoms include:;
- Weight gain especially in the belly area
- Reliance on caffeine and carbohydrates as energy sources
- Characteristic crash around 2-3pm each day
- Characteristic “second wind” in the evening
- Difficulty getting up in the morning or increased fatigue first thing in the morning
- Strong cravings to sugary carbohydrates
- Difficulty sleeping at night, constant waking up in the middle of the night, difficulty falling asleep
- Changes to mood to include increased symptoms of depression or anxiety
- Racing mind or thoughts
- Feeling of “burn out” or not enjoying your work or social life
This list of symptoms is quite non-specific but it may help you to nail down the diagnosis.;
Many of these symptoms may be caused by other problems including hormone imbalances, lack of sleep, etc.;
The important part to understand is if you are experiencing these symptoms that you then move on to the next step which is evaluating or testing your serum cortisol level.;
Choose Your Fats Wisely
If stress causes your body to burn less of the fat you eat , aim to include some healthy fat in your mealsbut avoid doubling up. For example, many clients tell me they order a healthy salad for lunch, but the toppings include both olive oil and avocado. Or they might snack on nuts alongside popcorn cooked in oil.
I’m not saying you should eat low-fat meals; fat is important for satiety and it’s one of your body’s key building blocks. But to keep it in balance, choose only one high-fat item per meal. For example, if you want avocado on your salad, dress your greens with balsamic vinegar rather than an oil-based vinaigrette.
How To Lose Weight First Gain Muscle Second
If you want to lose weight first before going back to building muscle, then its going to be a good idea for you to make a few changes.
Here are some ideas on how you can lose some fat before adding some muscle:
- Eat as Few Calories as Possible
When youre trying to build muscle, its also important for you to eat more calories than your body needs so that more energy is converted into fat.
However, if your goal is to lose weight first, then you should consume fewer calories than your body needs per day.
For example, if your body needs 2000 calories per day, then you should try and eat slightly less than this so that the extra energy will be stored as fat.
- Cut Down On Refined Sugar
Refined sugar doesnt have any nutritional value to your body, so its best for you to avoid it.
When you cut back on your sugar intake, then youll be able to adhere to your weight loss plan much easier.
- Choose To Eat More Protein
Foods such as protein shakes, eggs, and lean meats can help you to lose weight because protein takes longer to digest than carbs and fat.
This means that your body will burn calories at a slower rate and allow you to lose weight faster.
- Have More Meals Instead of Snacking
Quitting junk food cold turkey will be too hard for most people.
Instead, you should try and have more meals throughout the day instead of eating snacks between your meals.
- Make Sure to Exercise Often
Lifting weights and doing cardio will help to ensure that your body can burn fat at a faster pace.
How To Keep Stress From Ruining Your Progress
Okay, okay, you get it! Stress plays a huge role in your ability to lose fat and/or gain muscle. The next question is what can I do about it?.;
Since the brain cant self-regulate when youre stressed and cortisol levels are running high establishing goal-supporting habits, adding stress-relieving activities and creating cortisol-reducing strategies ahead of time is critical to your success.;
In a perfect world, you would be able to eliminate ALL stress from your life, but lets be honest, stress is unavoidable these days. So why not build some armor to protect you and your goals when stress creeps into your life?
The trick is to retrain your brain and create go-to routines that support your goals instead of working against them. That way, when your brain goes into autopilot, you still make progress.
Habits save you from having to make in-the-moment decisions which we know tend to do the opposite of support our goals. Here are some habits you can work on:
Coax Yourself Into Hitting The Gym
Ugh. We fully understand. Getting to the gym or heading outside for a workout can feel so overwhelming when youre laid out with anxious feelings. But its one of the best things you can do for your body and brain.
Its like a positive feedback loop that will leave you feeling better mentally and physically.
If your anxiety is making it hard to work out on a regular basis, start slow. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, a 10-minute walk can be just as effective for relieving anxiety as longer, more intense exercise.
And once your anxiety is in check, itll be easier to get to the gym and start doing the kinds of workouts that will move the needle on the scale.
The important part is to start small, then increase your involvement, which will lead to less anxiety and more assurance: Short walks can lead to longer walks, which can lead to alternating walking and running, and eventually lead to a 5K.
Set goals along the way for continued improvement, but start wherever you are and keep at it. It also helps a lot to let somebody know what you plan to do.
Talking about a goal can help you make it real and enable the first steps toward smashing it.