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How Stress is Linked to Weight Gain

How Stress is Linked to Weight Gain
Stress happens to be one of the biggest causes of weight gain, and several studies have found that it can be a major trigger for eating. Although a brief stint of stress can actually reduce your appetite, chronic stress can actually increase your appetite. Chronic stress is a major problem and can end up becoming one of the biggest causes of weight gain in your life. There are several other negative health consequences that chronic stress can lead to, and it's crucial that you control your stress levels as much as possible to avoid emotional eating and some of the other negative effects that can happen from it. Below are some of the reasons why stress is linked to weight gain  and what you can do about it.

Stress can lead to emotional eating

One of the biggest sources of weight gain related to stress is emotional eating, or eating when you feel overwhelmed or stressed out. Emotional eating can quickly become a bad habit that is difficult to break. Stress can cause your body to go into fight or flight mode. When your body is constantly in a fight or flight mode, it can cause you to be hungrier than you normally would be. Emotional eating is a coping mechanism to deal with the emotions involved with stress, but it ends up becoming a compulsive habit that drives people to eat the wrong foods and gain weight.

Emotional eating just ends up making you feel worse than you did before, and unfortunately it doesn't fix the problem of chronic stress that you may be facing. It's not a bad idea to use food as a way to celebrate something or to boost your mood temporarily, but afterwards you should go back to a healthy diet. The problem with emotional eating is that it persists for several weeks or months at a time, and during the period of time that you are partaking in emotional eating you can put on a substantial amount of weight. If you find that you are eating more when you feel stressed, when you're not hungry, or eating until you're stuffed, you might be an emotional eater and may need to consider some ways that you can control it.

Exercise to get rid of stress

Exercise is one of the best methods of getting rid of stress, and it can help control your levels of chronic stress while burning calories over time and helping you maintain a healthy weight. Exercise counters many of the negative effects of stress and it's one of the easiest and best methods for managing it. Like anything else, there's a right way and a wrong way to exercise if you're trying to reduce your stress levels. But, as long as you are doing some type of exercise on a regular basis, and not overdoing it, you'll find that it will do you much good for helping you manage your stress levels.

There are several ways that you get more exercise into your regular routine including taking the stairs and walking anytime that you have the opportunity, participating in a hobby that involves physical activity like aerobics, sports, yoga, hiking, or other outdoor hobbies. Exercise doesn't have to be boring and you should pick a hobby that you really enjoy and stick with it. It can end up both being a way for you to relax and also lose weight. Be sure to also keep your workouts on the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to duration; studies have found that workouts that take too long can end up raising your cortisol levels and having a similar effect as stress on the body.

Try meditation or yoga

Another important strategy for managing chronic stress is to try meditation or relaxation exercises like yoga. Find a practice that works well for you and use it regularly to reduce your stress levels. With meditation, you focus your thoughts on something positive and eliminate the negative thoughts that can stress you out and might be driving you to be an emotional eater. The result of a successful meditation is often increased relaxation and there are several different methods of meditation that you can experiment with to see what works for you. Many people who regularly meditate find that it is much easier to cope with stress and they find that they are often not as hungry. Yoga can work in the same way that meditation does and it has the benefit of being a form of exercise.

Keep junk foods out of sight

Another important strategy for managing your stress is also to keep junk food and comfort food out of sight. Keeping the junk food out of your kitchen is one of the easiest ways to manage emotional eating because the foods itself can very often be a trigger for many people. Also, if you do have to eat, it forces you to snack on something healthy rather than a comfort food that won't actually satisfy your appetite and leave you feeling hungry right afterward. Be sure to stock your fridge mostly with healthy options and try to avoid junk food as much as possible; you'll be much better off as you try to manage your stress.

Try a detox diet like the HCG diet

The HCG diet can help you detox from the effects of emotional eating, and the diet can also help you establish healthy eating habits. Be sure to try a detox diet like the HCG diet which can be very helpful in changing your appetites and helping you to manage your emotional eating in the long run. After one round of the diet you will lose weight and many patients often find that their metabolism "€œresets"€ in a way and that they no longer crave the same food that they did before. Along with your other methods of reducing your stress levels, the HCG diet can be a great way to transition back into a healthy eating lifestyle, and it is easy to get started with no matter where you live. For more information about the diet and how it can help you lose weight today, speak to a medical provider at Nu Image Medical today.

About the author

Dr. Constance Odom, MD

5 min read