Friday, March 17, 2023

How Does Stress Make You Lose Weight

Prolonged Stressing Is Harmful To Your Health

How Stress Makes You Gain Weight

This comes as no surprise as too much of almost everything becomes harmful to your body, and it goes the same for stress. Long-term stress can affect your digestive system, immune system, sleep, and even your reproductive system. With time, it can cause one to develop certain cardiovascular diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, and various mental disorders like anxiety and depression.

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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.

How To Get Rid Of The Weight Loss Anxiety Symptom

Similar to eliminating any anxiety symptom, you can eliminate anxiety-related weight loss by dealing with your anxiety issues, reducing your bodys stress, and giving your body ample time to respond favorably. As your body recovers from hyperstimulation, anxiety-related weight loss should subside.

Faithfully practicing your recovery strategies, including addressing the underlying factors of your anxiety so that your bodys stress can diminish, can help resolve anxiety-related weight loss.

As hyperstimulation is eliminated, and as your stomach and digestive system return to normal functioning, youll likely find that your weight stabilizes and eventually returns to normal.

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How To Tell If Your Stress Is Causing Weight Loss

When I was 22 years old, my father lost his battle with cancer. I had just graduated college and had no plan for my immediate future, other than paying my rent and hanging out with friends.

After he died, I was spiraling. The stress of my grief and lack of a plan for my life took a major toll on my health. Even though I thought I was eating regularly a slice of pizza here, a bowl of Easy Mac there it turned out that I was barely consuming any food. I was so completely overwhelmed that I dropped weight in a matter of weeks.

People deal with stress in a multitude of ways . Its important to monitor your response to anxiety, grief or any other negative emotion in order to keep your health in check, according to experts.

Below are a few stress-related behaviors and effects that could lead to unhealthy weight loss:

Easy Calories Low Motivation

How Stress Can Cause Weight Gain

In both of the studies, people self-reported their weight, and the researchers didnt collect any information about physical activity. But, one can cautiously assume that most of the weight changes were due to people gaining or losing body fat.

So why did people gain or lose weight this last year? And what explains the dramatic differences?

Many people find comfort in high-calorie food. That is because chocolate and other sweets can make you happy by boosting serotonin levels in the short term. However, the blood clears the extra sugar very quickly, so the mental boost is extremely short-lived, leading people to eat more. Eating for comfort can be a natural response to stress, but when combined with the lower motivation to exercise and consumption of low-nutrient, calorie-dense food, stress can result in unwanted weight gain.

What about weight loss? In a nutshell, the brain is connected to the gut through a two-way communication system called the vagus nerve. When you are stressed, your body inhibits the signals that travel through the vagus nerve and slows down the digestive process. When this happens, people experience fullness.

Also Check: Does Stress Affect Your Blood Sugar

To Lose Weight Faster Control Your Stress Heres How To Do It Effectively

Soma Das

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:

Stress Anxiety And Weight Loss: Role Of The Endocrine System

Cortisol , glucagon, and adrenaline are the primary stress hormones in humans. These hormones are largely regulated by internal and external stressors that evoke a response from the nervous system.

However, not all stress is inherently bad. Stress is a necessary part of life, and certain stressful events may actually feel great . The “bad” stress we experience is more appropriately called distress.

Likewise, anxiety is not synonymous with stress they are related but not the same. Anxiety is a fear or apprehension of future events, and distress often results from that. Therefore, anxiety is a cause of stress.

Below, we’ll take a brief look at how stress hormones and anxiety affect weight loss.

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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.

What Is Extreme Weight Loss

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

Extreme weight loss can be defined as the loss of more than 1 kilogram a week. According to the CDC, healthy and sustainable weight loss means a loss of 1 to 2 pounds a week . Anything more than that is considered extreme and unhealthy.

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Hyperstimulation Can Lead To Gastrointestinal Distress

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.

Have A Cheat Day Or At Least Dessert One Day A Week

You dont have to eat perfect ALL of the time. If you really miss chocolate cake or ice cream, allow yourself ONE cheat day or just a cheat dessert on Saturday for example.

Thats right! Im talking about even refined food!

This has been an essential part of how to lose stress weight for me. I love my cheat day. I dont feel deprived, and then my body is so used to healthy food, that Im excited to go back to my anti-inflammatory diet the next day.

Make sure this is something you plan for, not an impulsive decision that keeps happening over and over again. That will defeat the purpose and you wont lose the weight.

For a good mid-week treat, I recommend at least 70% or 80% dark chocolate because its lower in sugar, high in antioxidants, and its so decadent.

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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.

The Takeaway: Take Care Of Yourself

Can Stress Cause Belly Fat?

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.

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Why Does Stress Cause Weight Gain There Are A Few Reasons This Could Be Happening Lets Dive Into It

Whether youre dealing with stress from work or family, stress always hurts your mental and physical health. According to research, 77% of people in the U.S experience stress affecting their physical health, and 73% experience stress affecting their mental health.

Stress can leave you feeling overwhelmed and anxious. You might find yourself feeling restless and lacking motivation when you are stressed out. It can also lead to physical symptoms like headaches, body pains, and fatigue.

Interestingly, stress can also cause weight gain. You might wonder how being stressed increase your body weight. When youre under a high level of stress, your body reacts to it by producing a stress-relieving hormone called cortisol.

Cortisol, in its appropriate amount, helps your body burn fat and stabilizes your blood sugar levels. But in excess, it can lead to weight gain. High levels of cortisol increase your appetite for food, causing you to overeat. It also slows down your rate of metabolism and makes it difficult to lose weight.

As a society we tend, erroneously, to burn sugar for energy . When you are stressed, your body produces high-level cortisol and interprets it as a need for energy. This is why when you are stressed out, you start craving fast food and snacks. However, high amounts of sugar can lead to stored fat and increase weight gain.

Stress also causes you to pick up unhealthy habits like:

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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Production Of Stress Hormones

When you have anxiety or stress, your body goes into a mode of fight or flight. This mode is also referred to as acute stress response, and it is your bodys way of responding to the thing causing you stress or anxiety. When it is in this state, your body produces adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones help you react and stay alert during stressful, dangerous, or unknown situations. The problem with these hormones is that they come with side effects.

Adrenaline prepares your body for a vigorous physical activity like running away or fighting. This hormone also reduces your appetite . When you dont have an appetite, you will consume fewer calories than your body needs and will help promote weight loss. Adrenaline also causes a faster heartbeat and breathing, and this helps burn more calories.

On the other hand, cortisol is responsible for minimizing some body functions that may seem unnecessary during a stressful occurrence. Some of the body functions that are usually suppressed are digestive, reproductive, and immune function, among others. When digestion is stopped or minimized, it means your body is not absorbing nutrients and might be discarded as waste. This could lead to weight loss since you are not able to digest and absorb food, hence creating a calorie deficit.

Disruption Of The Vagus Nerve

Does Stress Cause Weight Gain? (Stop Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Efforts!)

This nerve is described as the bodys superhighway, it originates in the brain and once it gets to the neck it branches out in multiple directions going down to the torso . Some of its functions include controlling the muscles used to speak, the regulation of internal organ functions such as digestion, heart rate, and respiratory rate, reflex actions like sneezing and swallowing, etc . When you are stressed, the functions of this nerve are interrupted which in turn affects how your body digests, absorbs, and metabolizes food.

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Losing Weight When Stressed Despite Eating Well

You may have noticed that when you are under stress, you tend to start losing weight even if you are eating all your meals every day. It is necessary to know why you lose weight when stressed even when you eat well, so that you can maintain your health and weight in a better way.

Sometimes in life it so happens we suddenly come under a lot of stress and life demands a little too much from us. The reason for such a stress can vary from one person to another be it relationship issues, financial crisis, sudden illness, problems at work or taking care of a sick family member for example. However, no matter what the reason is, stress not only affects a persons body psychologically but it also has a negative impact on the physical well-being of the body in general. Many people often experience changes in weight during periods of extreme stress. Some may experience weight gain later on, while some may initially lose weight even when eating well.

In some cases, people under stress tend to overeat, in order to find comfort in it and also to bury their worries and compensating for their life problems. One of the most common physical changes that people under stress experience is weight loss even after eating really well. Though this does not occur in one day, if you have been under a lot of stress for quite some time, you will begin to notice that you have lost a good number of pounds without compromising on your food.

Why Stress Causes Weight Loss Sometimes And Not Others

The kind of stress youre being slammed with may also point to whether youll gain, lose, or show no weight change. Thats because theres a difference between the type of act-right-now acute stress and the chronic, grinding stress that hits you when, say, youre in a long-term caregiving situation or perhaps an abusive relationship in which youre always on guard. Appetite is often reduced during acute stress, whereas chronic stress has been linked to increased food cravings and weight gain, says Goodpaster. Thats not a hard and fast rule, though, and some studies show that people with higher BMIs are more likely to gain weight when stressed, and those with lower BMIs are more likely to lose weight when stressed. No one knows for sure why that is, but one of the systems in the body that is affected by stress is your endocrine system, which regulates hormones. Hormones at play include cortisol and ghrelin , she says.

Plus, the way you deal when youre stressed is in part learned over time, says Rosmarin. For example, if youre someone who grew up in a house where giant bowls of pasta brought you comfort, you might be more likely to eat more when something stressful happens. But if you learned to cope by distracting yourself, running marathons, or ignoring your hunger, you may forget to eat, and so not take in enough calories. Human choices and behaviors are a big deal, says Rosmarin.

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