What Is stress and what does it do to our body?
Does stress cause weight loss or weight gain? Or could it be both. What can we do about this. The world of weight is a minefield. We have become so obsessed with how we look on the outside and so many people are fighting to lose the pounds. But I have been reading a lot about the effects of stress on the body, and how it may affect you losing weight. There is no doubt that stress has a huge impact on your weight and does cause you to lose or gain weight.
Stress leads to “Fight or Flight”
When you are feeling stressed, your adrenal glands release adrenaline and cortisol which then causes glucose to be released into bloodstream. This scenario is also know as “flight or fight”. This is when the body’s sympathetic nervous system releases a rush of hormones. Your heart rate will increase, along with your blood pressure and breathing rate.
It can take up to sixty minutes for your body to return to it’s normal state. That’s when your blood sugar drops and that’s when you begin to crave sugar. Because sugar is a quick energy that is what your body wants. That’s when you get into the vicious cycle of get stressed, release cortisol, gain weight, crave more sugar, eat more sugar, gain more weight. Cortisol also slows down your metabolism, which makes it even more difficult to lose weight.
Stress and Weight
For a lot of people stress can have a direct impact on their weight. Whether it is weight loss or weight gain, it is completely different with everyone. You can have many symptoms when your stress is connected to weight loss. You can suffer from the following: fatigue & tiredness, headaches, changes in mood, aches & pains, insomnia and indigestion. You might not feel hungry and forget to eat regularly. Stress can also affect your vagus nerve which in turn affects your digestion and how your body absorbs food.
Exercise to help combat stress
Of course we all know that exercise is important. Exercise releases endorphins that have natural stress fighting properties and can actually lower cortisol levels. The effects of yoga and meditation can also help to lower the stress hormone level too.
You have to engage in some lifestyle changes if you want to lower your cortisol levels and manage your stress levels. Because when we are stressed we tend to make unhealthy food choices, we reach for the snacks to make ourselves feel better, our emotions are attached to what we eat. You may also skip meals, choosing not to eat because your either too busy, or just plain forget.
What you can do
You can help break this cycle by eating healthier food, try practising mindful eating, focus on what you are actually eating. Don’t have the television on, or have other distractions, just focus on your meal and what you are eating. Keep a food journal. Writing down what you eat on a daily basis is really helpful, especially if you are struggling with your weight. You will discover what your food triggers are, and how foods make you feel. I find this really helpful.
Drinking more water is also beneficial, people can mistake hunger for thirst. So make sure to drink plenty of water. Try and incorporate exercise into your daily life, practise meditation. Do things that make you feel good.
Stress and Weight loss
If you are struggling to gain weight due to stress or anxiety, this could be because nervous energy can cause the body to consume more fuel. Increased nervous energy can make it difficult to relax and rest. Being constantly on the go makes you body use more energy, and using more energy requires more fuel.
The way that stress makes you lose weight
Disruption to your sleep pattern is such a common symptom of chronic stress. When you don’t sleep well and you sleep pattern is disturbed this causes your body to produce more cortisol, and as previously mentioned, cortisol is the stress hormone.
These are just a few examples of how anxiety and stress can cause weight loss. The more anxious and stressed you are, the more likely it is you’ll lose weight. It’s also common to lose a lot more weight than you might expect. For example, a 140-pound person can lose 20 to 40 pounds over the course of a few months. The heavier you are, the more likely it is that you’ll lose more weight. On average, it’s not uncommon to lose 10 to 15 percent of your overall body weight due to anxiety and the chronic stress it causes.
Manage your stress and weight
It can be so difficult to maintain a healthy weight if you constantly in a stressful situation. If you have a stressful job, find some downtime to rest and relax, learn to recognise how your body is feeling, and learn to look after it better.
Make better choices about what you eat, don’t smoke, don’t drink too much. These are the stimulants that you are going to reach for when you feel stressed. Try to reach for a healthier option. Do something that makes you happy, take time out for yourself. We are all guilty of running around trying to everything, feeling guilty when we can’t do it all and tending to ourselves and our well being is at the bottom of the list. Well it’s time to change that, look after yourself, don’t wait until you feel completely run down and frazzled. It gets harder to bounce back. So take the time to do what is right for you.