Could your stress be
weighing you down?
It might come as a surprise, but stress levels and weight loss (or gain) are intricately linked. Sudden stress-filled life events can cause rapid loss while ongoing stress – or chronic stress – can make it hard to lose pounds and inches.
When stress is ongoing, it can lead to over-eating. Some doctors link this to our body “thinking” we have used calories to deal with our stress, when we really haven’t. This can quickly turn into a vicious cycle, as most women become anxious about about weight gain and that heightens an “alarm response” which leads to more stress eating.
A lot of it has to do with the hormone cortisol. Cortisol plays a big role in your body’s stress response. It causes you to feel fatigued and hungry – even when your body doesn’t need the fuel. The increase of cortisol can also affect cravings – which is why we are usually drawn to sugary, fatty food when we are stressed.
While these comfort foods aren’t necessarily a bad thing every now and again, when eating sugars and fats becomes a habit it can be hard to break. It can also lead to other health problems like high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, diabetes and more.
If you find that you are putting on weight, or are at a plateau, AND you are dealing with a lot of stress try taking a step back. Start recording everything you eat to see if you are reaching for comfort foods that your body doesn’t really need to thrive. Increase enjoyable exercise – but don’t overdo it. Meditate or pray regularly and try to find healthy ways to reduce the stress you feel.
Honestly, ongoing stress may be a “part of life” sometimes, but it should never be a “way of life”. Finding ways to eliminate or lessen stress will do wonders for your health and your body.