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How Stress Can Affect Your Weight

Stress Weight Gain

Here’s a sobering question for you – Can stress really make you fat?

Absolutely! As feeble humans we have evolved in such a way that stress causes a near immediate reaction in our bodies. Do you remember the last time you got a fright? I mean REALLY got a fright, do you remember the immediate reaction you had as you jumped as a response to the fear?

This reaction is called your fight or flight response and it is responsible for the release of a whole host of hormones into your system.

So what happens when you’re chronically stressed? If your body is constantly releasing these stress hormones into your body it can have a drastic and catastrophic effect.

When hormones such as cortisol are released into your body they force your body to decide whether to fight what has caused the reaction, or run away.

If you are permanently stressed out due to work or family commitments the hormones unleashed on your system can play havoc with your metabolism, your blood sugar levels and your blood flow.

All of these changes can then cause you to gain weight, no matter how closely you’re sticking to your diet. There are even some types of weight loss products now that specifically target the market of ‘stressed out dieters’.

As I already said, chronic stress can have a serious impact on your weight. Now it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty and I’ll tell you how it can affect you.

Your Metabolism

Firstly stress will have an impact on your metabolism because cortisol slows it right down; even if you are still eating the same amount of food your body won’t burn it off as quickly, leading to weight gain.

Food Cravings

Food CravingsBecause you are stressed and feeling low your natural resistance to junk food will be at an all time low.

Who doesn’t love a bar of chocolate or some ice cream when they feel down or stressed out?

This is one to watch for because everyone has their own brand of comfort food when they feel off. You really need to try to stave off the temptation though, obviously the more junk you eat the more weight you’ll put on!

Blood Sugar Levels

Blood Sugar LevelsWhen you are stressed out are you prone to mood swings? Just want to crawl into a corner and cry?

This is likely caused by a change in your blood sugar brought on by stress.

Prolonged stress is even linked to hyperglycemia (too much sugar in the blood) and metabolic syndrome (a combination of medical disorders that increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes).

None of these side effects are particularly pleasant so this is why you really need to keep an eye on your stress levels, especially while trying to lose weight.

So the moral of the story is that you should look after yourself as a whole while trying to lose weight. If you are suffering from chronic stress, try to find a way to relax.

Possibly try out some yoga classes or just something that you find always calms you. We can’t lead a stress free life all the time but for a fitter, healthier and slimmer you, try to relax as much as you can, when you can.

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Fitness Over 50 January 20, 2010, 11:49 am

    I truly believe that stress does add to weight gain.

    First it saps the motivation out of you. You do not want to exercise.

    Second, you eat the wrong foods. Fat heavy comfort foods.

    It is important to have a support group to help you deal with the stress and motivate you to continue to exercise.


  • Lose 6 pounds April 10, 2010, 2:11 pm

    For some people, stress can give them more pounds but for me, it is the contrary, i noticed when i am stressed, i am losing weight! XD

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