Create A Consistent Sleep Routine
Stress and sleep are intertwined. A lack of sleep can make you more vulnerable to stress, but its hard to doze off when youre stressed.
And if youre burning the midnight oil fairly often, sleep deprivation is associated with higher levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin.
This can lead to stress eating.
A healthy sleep routine can help. That includes establishing a consistent bedtime, so your brain learns when its time to wind down.
When you go to bed only when youre tired, youre introducing too much unpredictability into your sleep schedule, says Mia Finkelston, M.D., family practice physician. That can catch up with you.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, spending 5 to 10 minutes on a calming routine like deep breathing or guided imagery can also help relieve stress before bed.
Ways To Beat Stress Fat
Anxiety is a powerful trigger for weight gain. Here’s how to stop itfast.
For most of us, stress is a fact of life. Unfortunately, research reveals that it’s also a fact of fat. “Even if you usually eat well and exercise, chronic high stress can prevent you from losing weightor even add pounds,” says Pamela Peeke, MD, author of Body for Life for Women.
Here’s what happens: Your body responds to all stress in exactly the same way. So every time you have a stressful day, your brain instructs your cells to release potent hormones. You get a burst of adrenaline, which taps stored energy so you can fight or flee. At the same time, you get a surge of cortisol, which tells your body to replenish that energy even though you haven’t used very many calories. This can make you hungry…very hungry. And your body keeps on pumping out that cortisol as long as the stress continues.
But few of us reach for carrots in these situations. “Instead, we crave sweet, salty, and high-fat foods because they stimulate the brain to release pleasure chemicals that reduce tension,” explains Elissa Epel, PhD, a researcher on stress eating at the University of California, San Francisco. This soothing effect becomes addicting, so every time you’re anxious, you want fattening foods.
Obviously, getting rid of all anxiety isn’t an option. But by taking these 7 steps to beat stress, you can get your cortisol levels and your weight under controland improve your health.
Stock Up On Healthy Foods And Snacks
Studies have shown that the food you keep at home greatly affects weight and eating behavior (
On average, Americans eat about 15 teaspoons of added sugar each day. This amount is usually hidden in various processed foods, so you may be consuming a lot of sugar without even realizing it .
Since sugar goes by many names in ingredient lists, it can be very difficult to figure out how much sugar a product actually contains.
Minimizing your intake of added sugar is a great way to improve your diet.
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A Note On Calorie Counting
Counting calories may be a helpful tool for some, but it may not be the best choice for everyone.
If you are preoccupied with food or your weight, feel guilt surrounding your food choices, or routinely engage in restrictive diets, consider reaching out for support. These behaviors may indicate a disordered relationship with food or an eating disorder.
Talk with a qualified healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian, if youre struggling.
You can also chat, call, or text anonymously with trained volunteers at the National Eating Disorders Association helpline for free or explore the organizations free and low cost resources.
Counting calories isnt usually needed to lose weight on a low carb eating plan. But if youre not losing weight or on a reduced calorie eating plan, calorie counting may help.
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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Why Do You Gain Weight When Youre Stressed
Its easy to put on weight when were stressed because we really do crave high-calorie food. And our bodies release stress hormones that make it REALLY hard to lose weight.
High stress causes appetite changes by increasing epinephrine and cortisol levels in your blood.
This throws off a hormone called leptin, which regulates your appetite. Your body will signal that youre hungry even when youre not. When your leptin levels are off, it also causes cravings for high sugar and fat foods.
Also, as research shows, your body doesnt lose as much weight when youre stressed.
In What Other Ways Can Stress Cause Weight Gain And Bloating
Here are a couple of other ways stress adds to your weight:
Chronic stress makes it harder to sleep well, which also spikes your cortisol levels. Lack of sleep triggers excess hunger as your body tries to make up for lack of energy.
Cortisol also tends to make the fat cells gather around the belly and midsection. So even if youre not eating that bad, fat goes right to this problem area.
In other words: with stress weight, you gain a belly.
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Causes Of Unintentional Weight Loss
Unintentional weight loss has many different causes.
It might be caused by a stressful event like a divorce, losing a job, or the death of a loved one. It can also be caused by malnutrition, a health condition or a combination of things.
Some causes of unintentional weight loss include:
Sometimes weight loss can be caused by cancer. It’s important to get it checked if you’re losing weight without trying.
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.
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Easy Ways To Lose Weight Naturally
We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Heres our process.
There is a lot of bad weight loss information on the internet.
Much of what is recommended is questionable at best, and not based on any actual science.
However, there are several natural methods that have actually been proven to work.
Here are 29 easy ways to lose weight naturally.
Being Safe With Weight Loss
Weight loss is generally seen as a good thing, but it’s important that you lose weight safely. If you’re losing weight without a healthy diet or exercise, then you’re putting your body through a great deal of stress. Unexplained weight loss may indicate another health problem in addition to or instead of anxiety.
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Get Your Hormones Checked
So youve followed the previous tips, implemented major lifestyle changes, and established that neither medication nor vitamin deficiency is an issue. Youve even tried increasing your ketone levels for a while . And you still cant hit the normal weight mark?
If this applies to you, it may be time to consider the possibility that hormonal imbalances are the cause of your troubles. There are three common problem areas:
Some people, most often women, can suffer decreased metabolism as a result of thyroid hormone deficiency. Common symptoms of hypothyroidism are:
- Weight gain
In these cases, weight gain resulting from decreased metabolism usually does not exceed 15 pounds.86
Your doctor can easily arrange for you to take a blood test to measure the concentration of thyroid stimulating hormone . If the test comes back and everything looks good, your thyroid gland is probably fine. However, it is possible to have mild hypothyroidism, even though the TSH is within the normal range.
If your TSH is in the upper portion of the normal range, yet you suspect you may have hypothyroidism, it is worth measuring a free T4 and thyroperoxidase antibodies. If the free T4 is frankly low or the TPO antibody test returns high, it is possible but not definite that you will benefit from thyroid hormone treatment.87
To Lose Weight Faster Control Your Stress Heres How To Do It Effectively
A busy lifestyle goes hand-in-hand with stress. And while stress is known to cause anxiety, headaches, insomnia, and exhaustion, among other things, it is also linked to weight gain. So, this may be the reason why you are not losing weight exercising and eating right.
A new study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, shows how chronic exposure to stress is linked with obesity due to the relationship between fat cells and the timing of stress hormones. 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, says Mary Teruel, assistant professor of chemical and systems biology at Stanford University School of Medicine in California.
Nutrition and fitness consultant Munmun Ganeriwal says in times of stress, our body releases hormones such as cortisol. Cortisol is linked with insulin resistance, sugar cravings, and weight gain. The equation is higher stress equals higher cortisol which means a greater craving for junk food which leads to more belly fat, she says.
The effect of stress over time
What to do
The strategies to beat stress and associated weight gain involve relaxing the brain, calming the nerves and cells, as well as stimulating the production of repairing hormones- HGH and testosterone which counter the negative effects of cortisol. Heres a simple four-step approach suggested by Ganeriwal and Thacker to do so:
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Take A Break To Relieve Stress
The day to day stress of life can often take its toll. It becomes chronic stress that then leads to weight gain because it is the same problem of work and life day in, day out.
Take a break from your ordinary life.
This does not have to be a whole week away in an exotic location , but can simple be an afternoon exploring a local area or hiking away from your city.
Often taking a step away from the day to day normal activities can benefit you by allowing you to breathe.
When you come back to working and studying youll find your more in control of your emotions and feelings. Taking a break can be a great way to reduce stress to lose weight.
Journal To Reduce Stress
Sometimes we cant do much about the situations that cause us stress. Life is not always in our hands.
However, we can find positive ways to manage our emotions and thought patterns.
The constant run of thoughts and worries in our mind leads to chronic stress and high levels of cortisol. Sometimes writing down your thoughts and documenting your feelings can be a way to stop you always overthinking about things.
Grab a notebook and spend 10 minutes each night writing down any worries you have as well as all the positive things that are happening in life.
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/9what Is Stress Belly And Ways To Get Rid Of It
We all experience stress from time to time. But prolonged stress can lead to a number of health issues, including mental and physical. One of the most common things stress leads to is stress belly. And abdominal fat as we all know is linked with serious health issues, including heart, diabetes and kidney disease. But there is a lot you can do to get rid of the stress belly. Read the article to know more.
What About Calories And Portion Control
If you opt for a low carb eating plan, its not necessary to count calories as long as you keep your carb intake low and eat mostly protein, fat, and low carb vegetables.
If you find yourself not losing weight, you may want to keep track of your calories to see if thats a contributing factor.
You can also download free, easy-to-use calorie counters from websites and app stores. Heres a list of 5 calorie counters to try.
Note that eating too few calories can be dangerous and less effective for losing weight. Aim to reduce your calories by a sustainable and healthy amount based on your doctors recommendation.
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Why You Crave Comfort Food When Youre Stressed
Chronic stress has an almost diabolical effect on the metabolism. Chronic stress may influence our brains reward system in areas such as the amygdala and hippocampus, which may promote food cravings, says Chao.
The secretion of cortisol in response to a stressor also tells your body to store belly fat, says Shawn Talbott, PhD, an exercise physiologist and nutritional biochemist in Salt Lake City, and author of The Cortisol Connection. A review published in July 2018 in the journal Medicine found that belly fat not only adds pounds but increases your risk for heart attack.
In addition, a study published in February 2017 in the European Journal of Neurology revealed a connection between belly fat and ischemic stroke in women. At the same time, hormones released in response to chronic stress can prompt the loss of skeletal muscle, according to a study published in January 2014 in the Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research. Muscle tissue is the largest calorie burner in the body, so overall metabolism drops, Dr. Talbott says.
Research has repeatedly found that social support can help decrease stress levels and thus lower the likelihood of weight gain. In a study published in May 2017 in the journal Behavior Modification, researchers found that while most first-year college students gained weight, students with lower levels of social support at the beginning of college had greater increases in body mass index .
Stress And Weight Gain: Fast Facts
Can stress cause weight gain?
Yes, stress can make you gain weight for different reasons. Stress could cause you to seek comfort in unhealthy food habits. That can lead to unwanted weight gain. Stress-related weight gain could also be the effect of higher cortisol levels.
Whats the link between stress, cortisol, and weight gain?
When youre stressed, your body amps up production of cortisol. Cortisol can increase your blood sugar levels and increase your appetite. This can promote weight gain.
How to stop cortisol weight gain
Tackle stress with calming activities, including:
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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.
How Does Stress Cause Weight Loss
Because our bodies think that we need energy to take quick physical actions, proteins are broken down to supply this energy. It is much faster for the body to use muscle tissue as fuel supply, than producing energy from fat sources. Cortisol is anabolic to fat and catabolic to muscle . This is the first step.
The second step is decreased synthesis of proteins and bone formation. You have less muscle mass and weak bones, which affects the number on the scale.
What you see in the end is weight loss, but itâs due to muscle loss and reduced bone density..
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Alteration Of The Hpa Axis
The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis controls the bodys response to stress, which affects cortisol levels.
When the body is under stress, the pituitary gland signals to the adrenal glands to release cortisol. This hormone increases the bodys fuel for energy by releasing fatty acids and glucose from the liver.
Cortisol also helps regulate the bodys immune response and reduces inflammation.
Chronic stress impairs the functioning of the HPA axis, causing changes in metabolism and eating habits.